WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2021
For example, those several reports: We were planning to focus today on what Nellie Bowles saw.
Until recently, Bowles was a reporter for the New York Times. On November 16, 2020, the Times published this lengthy report by Bowles—a lengthy report from Kenosha.
In her lengthy and detailed news report, Bowles focused on some of the people whose livelihoods were destroyed in the looting—but especially, in the arson—which took place in Kenosha in late August 2020.
Her report was lengthy and detailed. After some spiky early observations, she offered this overview:
BOWLES (11/16/20): On the burned-out blocks hit by unrest since the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, in Minneapolis in late spring, the reality is complicated. Mr. Floyd’s death was the start of months of protests for racial justice led by the Black Lives Matter movement that have left long-term economic damage, especially in lower-income business districts.
While large chains like Walmart and Best Buy have excellent insurance, many small businesses that have been burned down in the riots lack similar coverage. And for them, there is no easy way to replace all that they lost.
In Kenosha, more than 35 small businesses were destroyed, and around 80 were damaged, according to the city’s business association. Almost all are locally owned and many are underinsured or struggling to manage.
“It’s a common problem, businesses being underinsured, and the consequences can be devastating,” said Peter Kochenburger, executive director of the Insurance Law LL.M. Program and a University of Connecticut law professor.
“We can’t call corporate,” said Ricardo Tagliapietra, who owns three restaurants in Kenosha. “There’s no backup.”
Bowles' text referred to "protests for racial justice"—but it also referred to "riots." Some cable channels played the one card, while disappearing the other.
Tagliapietra was the first in a substantial set of small business owners whose losses, financial and personal, were explored by Bowles. Along the way, she mentioned the way losses were often borne by those with the fewest resources:
BOWLES: One pattern that emerged in the aftermath of the riots in Kenosha: Many white-owned businesses like Mr. Carpenter’s had better, more comprehensive insurance and records than those owned by people of color, according to several leaders in the business community.
The city’s lower- and middle-class business owners were ultimately hit harder than the more affluent. When the riots started on a Sunday night, Kenosha’s wealthier and whiter Downtown organized quickly to board up the storefronts, thanks to a longstanding tight-knit business association. By the next morning at 7, hundreds of volunteers were gathering with hammers and nails. Those who couldn’t hammer came with water and sandwiches. Several shops had already been looted and damaged. But mostly, the area was protected.
Uptown Kenosha, a less affluent area, did not have a well-resourced tight-knit business association. Many shop owners could not afford to buy the plywood boards to protect their businesses in time, though Downtown quickly came to help both financially and physically with volunteers. Still, block after block burned over the course of the week.
In her report, Bowles went into substantial detail about the losses, financial and personal, suffered by small business owners in Kenosha (though not by Walmart or Best Buy). She also described the somewhat peculiar attitudes toward arson and arson-related losses voiced by some within the progressive world.
These matters are all worth reviewing. The chances are good that you never heard such topics discussed on the (corporate) "cable news" channels which mainly exist to reinforce the feelings, and promote the Storylines, which prevail within our own tribe.
"Liberal" news orgs tended to skip the topics explored in the Bowles report. When it came to matters like this, people who watched the Fox News Channel were offered much more information than we more advanced people were.
This is the type of information which our own tribe's corporate tribunes tended to disappear. This may help explain why liberals say that Kyle Rittenhouse decided to take a gun "to a protest," while The Others may be more likely to say that, for better or worse, the teenager decided to take his gun to a used car lot.
For now, a minor postponement! We'll plan to review the contents of Bowles' report in more detail tomorrow. This postponement allows us to mention something we ourselves had never heard about until yesterday afternoon.
We refer to the recent report from the Biden Administration about the shooting of Jacob Blake—the incident which touched off the subsequent events in Kenosha.
We'll start with what passes for the good news. Jacob Blake wasn't shot and killed in that incident, as at least two major journalists (and one major Democratic official) reported in the immediate aftermath of the verdicts in the Rittenhouse trial.
The cluelessness of such people may suggest how much they actually care about these instantly novelized matters. But yesterday, we came across a recent report for Politico magazine, in which Charlie Sykes mentioned this:
SYKES (11/22/21): Just last month, the Biden Department of Justice found that there was insufficient evidence that the police officer who shot Blake “willfully used excessive force.” That finding mirrored the decisions by the local district attorney, the state’s own Justice Department, and an independent review by the African American former police chief of the state’s most progressive city.
Today, we're prepared to admit it! We're not sure we ever heard that the Biden Justice Department had issued any such report.
Beyond that, we don't exactly recall hearing about those other reports. We certainly didn't hear much about the contents of those other reports. Our tribe has been disappearing the contents of reports like these for roughly the past dozen years:
SYKES: In January, when he announced his decision not to file charges against Officer Rusten Sheskey, District Attorney Michael Gravely—an elected Democrat—explained that officers were responding to a domestic disturbance call and were attempting to arrest Blake “because he had a felony arrest warrant for domestic violence offenses and a sexual assault.”
His 87 page report—which is largely based on an in-depth investigation by the state Justice Department’s Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI)—painstakingly dismantled the narrative that Blake was an innocent victim.
In reaching his conclusion not to charge the officer, the district attorney relied on an independent report from former Madison, Wisconsin police chief Noble Wray, one of the state’s most prominent African American law enforcement officers.
We've often been struck, in the past year, by the way our tribe's news orgs were picking and choosing what to report about the unfortunate events of the day on which Blake was shot. We don't recall ever hearing about the several reports Sykes described.
Meanwhile, Sykes' account of the contents of those reports goes beyond anything we've previously heard about that unfortunate failed arrest. If it's information you seek, we'll suggest that you click to Sykes' report and see what he presents.
Stating the obvious, none of that tells us what to think about what Rittenhouse did two days later. It does point to a startling fact about our current "news" culture, in which warring tribes present highly selective, competing accounts of widely discussed events.
Did Rittenhouse go to a protest on August 25, or to a used car lot? Also, why did he go wherever he went? Why was he there at all?
Depending on the tribe to which you belong at this time, you've heard vastly different accounts of all these surrounding events. Your judgments concerning what Rittenhouse did may turn on which facts you've been allowed to know, and on which facts got disappeared.
Tomorrow, we'll return to Bowles' report about the aftermath of the arson in Kenosha. Almost surely, the contents of her report will be more familiar to The Others—to those who watch Fox News—than to those in our liberal tribe.
Within our tribe, such material was largely disappeared as Storyline conquered Kenosha. As we tried to send a local teenager—or perhaps a "vigilante" who had "crossed state lines"—to jail for the rest of his life.
Tomorrow: Who cares about what Bowles saw?