WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2022
Can we trust the things we're told? Once again, our current, award-winning Case Study is being placed on hold. The reason:
Family members have arrived in town, including two delightful great nieces!
This Gang of 5 is safely ensconced in a Little Italy BNB. Over the next few days, we'll be hearing about Newton's laws of motion as described in a recent grade 5 report!
For these reasons, our own case study will be delayed once again. For the record, we still have a fairly long way to go with this award-winning study.
As we've noted, our case study helps us consider a basic question:
Should we trust the various things we're told by our blue tribe tribunes?
Over the years, we've come to see that the answer is a very clear no. Our ongoing report concerning the alleged beliefs of those (very white) medical students provides a strikingly complex case in point.
For today, we'll float another example—an example involving what our tribe has been told, and tends to believe, about the deeply unfortunate shooting death of the late Michael Brown. The example is drawn from comments to this recent post by Kevin Drum.
Drum barely mentions Michael Brown in his actual post. We were somewhat puzzled by Drum's position concerning the concept of "woke," but the now-iconic death of Brown was only mentioned in passing in Drum's post.
As you can see, that topic was raised by the first commenter to Drum's post. That commenter seems to be taking a bit of an adversarial stance from the red tribe's part of town:
COMMENTER: Question regarding Michael Brown. How many people on this blog still believe the "hands up, don't shoot" narrative?
Somewhat snarkily, the commenter seems to be making a fairly obvious suggestion. He seems to be suggesting that our blue tribe was offered, and has accepted, an inaccurate narrative concerning Brown's death.
Eight comments were offered in rebuttal. In our view, those eight comments help establish the original commenter's point.
None of the commenters seemed to know about the Justice Department's conclusions regarding this tragic death. We refer to the Justice Department of Eric Holder, the attorney general who served under Barack Obama.
None of the commenters seemed to know what Holder's Justice Department said in its lengthy, formal report about the shooting death of Brown. Indeed, none of the commenters seemed to know that any such formal report even exists.
That may be because the DOJ's findings were largely disappeared by our blue tribe's journalistic "elites." Increasingly, this is the way our own blue tribe's journalistic elites seem to function.
Alas! Again and again, then again and again, members of our own blue tribe don't seem to know how much we don't know—don't seem to realize how many things we aren't being told by such corporate careerists.
We don't seem to know how much we don't know! To us, those deeply clueless eight comments seem to provide the latest example of this general state of affairs.
Increasingly, the people we see on your cable news screens are tribal propagandists. They tell us the things we'll be happy to hear. They disappear the rest.
Over on the Fox News Channel, a gang of propagandists play a similar function for that channel's red tribe consumers. Within our own blue tents, we're happy to say that they're worse, much worse, on the Fox News Channel.
Without any question, that may be true. But the question we'd ask you is this:
When do we, within our blue tribe, plan to start healing ourselves?
Increasingly, the people we've been trained to trust are tribal propagandists. (They're "some of our favorite reporters and friends!")
We've been trained to trust these people by profit-seeking corporate elites. Those profit-seeking "journalistic" elites are selling a tribally pleasing product—and our blue tribe keeps gulping it down.
The case study we delay today lets us look at the way one crazily inaccurate claim came to be widely believed by an array of blue tribe tribunes. We still have a long way to go with our study of that inaccurate claim—but the claim is frequently stated by blue tribe pundits, and the claim is crazily wrong.
Increasingly, this is the way our blue tribe functions. The actors on cable (and elsewhere) feed us our porridge. With gratitude, we swallow it down.
Major experts keep telling us that this is the way our flawed human brains are wired. We humans are wired for tribal belief, or so these top experts all tell us.
One authority tries to explain: One leading authority offers the following account of the Justice Department's formal report concerning the death of Michael Brown:
On August 11, 2014, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) opened a civil rights investigation into the incident...Forty FBI agents went door-to-door looking for potential witnesses who may have had information about the shooting. Additionally, attorneys from the Civil Rights Division and from the United States Attorney's Office were participating in the investigation.
On March 4, 2015, the federal investigation cleared Wilson of civil rights violations in the shooting. The investigation concluded there was no evidence upon which prosecutors could rely to disprove Wilson's asserted belief that he feared for his safety, that witnesses who contradicted Wilson were not credible, that forensic evidence and credible witnesses corroborated Wilson's account...Numerous witnesses were found to have given accounts of actions they were unable to see from their vantage points, or to be recounting others' accounts.
In our view, that's a somewhat limited account of what the DOJ said in its lengthy formal report. But it gives you the general idea.
None of the eight rebuttal commenters mentioned that DOJ study. One possible reason could be this:
Within the tents of our own blue tribe, this DOJ study was largely disappeared. Instead, the children told us about this second, companion report:
On September 5, 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice began an investigation of the Ferguson, Missouri, police force to examine whether officers routinely engaged in racial profiling or showed a pattern of excessive force. The investigation was separate from the Department's other investigation of the shooting of Brown. The results of the investigation were released in a March 4, 2015, report, which concluded officers in Ferguson routinely violated the constitutional rights of the city's residents, by discriminating against African Americans and applying racial stereotypes, in a "pattern or practice of unlawful conduct within the Ferguson Police Department that violates the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, and federal statutory law."
Each of those DOJ reports was very important. Within blue tribe channels, we were told about that second report. The other report was largely disappeared.
By way of contrast, Fox viewers were told about that first report. The snarky first commenter to Drum's post had quite possibly heard all about it.
This is the way our blue tribe currently functions, at least on the profit-seeking end of corporate pseudo-journalism and often within the academy. One final point:
You've heard nothing on blue tribe channels about any follow-up to that second report—to the report about the general conduct of the Ferguson police department. Our multimillionaire cable stars don't care about what happens in Ferguson. Few things are ever more clear.
Your lizard brain will now start insisting that the various things we've just said are terribly wrong, oh so wrong. Disconsolate experts say this reaction is an inevitable part of the package.