SATURDAY, MAY 20, 2023
Also, deaths in the District: We'll start with a quick confession:
We hadn't heard of the viral incident until this very morning. We'd never heard of the viral event involving the rental bike!
This morning, the incident was mentioned at 7:30 by a caller to C-Span's Washington Journal. With apologies for some of this content, that first phone call went like this:
BUBBA FROM TENNESSEE (5/20/23): The biggest story is the white nurse who was pregnant. She tried to get on her rented bicycle and a couple of black thugs, young boys, were trying to strong-arm her and said it was their bike.
Then the racist lawyer that takes all these cases lied about it to her job. Later on, the news people, not y'all I don't guess because I don't even know if you know about it, they was quick to say that she was in the wrong, saying it was an Emmett Till deal.
I just want to know if they're going to apologize to this lady. Her and her husband had to move for their safety.
C-SPAN HOST: Where did this happen?
BUBBA FROM TENNESSEE: I believe it happened in, up in New York, I believe. It happened yesterday.
C-SPAN HOST: O.K. We'll look it up and if we can find something about it, we'll share it.
We hadn't heard of this incident, which actually happened on May 10. It sounded like the C-Span host hadn't heard of this incident either.
That said, the incident had gone viral, starting with an iPhone video which has apparently been viewed more than 40 million times. For better or worse, this is "the democratization of media" in its fullest flower.
We were curious about Bubba's call. At 7:49 A.M., a second C-Span caller disputed what Bubba had said:
DIONNE FROM VIRGINIA: My main reason why I called was the guy that was, I think he was from Tennessee, talking about the white lady trying to get on the bike, and the black quote-unquote "thugs" wouldn't let her get on the bike and all this stuff.
No. The boys had already purchased the bike, him and his friends, they had already purchased the bike by renting it, and then she's the one that came up and tried to take the bike.
Then, when she tried to come up there and take the bike, when they kept asking her, "What are you doing? We've already rented this bike," then she started yelling, "Help! Help!" trying to garner attention from all these bystanders.
And by her yelling, "Help! Help!" then there was some white man that came over asking like, "What's going on?" So that was another Emmett Till situation, when the guys were already recording the whole thing.
She tried to take the bike when they had already rented the bike. Then by her yelling. "Help! Help!" trying to get people's attention because these black people are trying to make it seem like they were doing something to her when they literally were not doing anything to her.
That's why the news is trying to say it was another Emmett Till situation. So for that man to call up there and try to say that they were "thugs" and doing all this other stuff, when literally she was taking their bike they had already rented, that's what I wanted to say because I hated that he called up here trying to say that.
The C-Span host then read a recent news report about this viral incident.
For starters, welcome to C-Span's Washington Journal! More generally, welcome to one current artefact of the "democratization of media."
We'd never heard of this incident until this very morning! As it turns out, the case of the pregnant physician's assistant and the rented bike had indeed gone viral.
Along the way, it had triggered some of the worst reporting we've ever seen, by at least two network news divisions. Inevitably, Ben Crump had instantly gotten involved. Instantly, he had offered a thoroughly uninformed instant tweet.
Of the two calls to C-Span's Washington Journal, we'd have to say that Bubba's account of what seems to have happened looks to be substantially more accurate than the later account from Dionne.
Alas! Joined to our nation's brutal racial history, but also joined to the way our highly fallible brains are wired, the democratization of media has our nation in a state which produces an array of viral arguments like this.
That said, good God! The work by CBS News, and then by NBC News, has been so god-awful, so stunningly incompetent, that it almost defies comprehension. It's hard to believe that these networks employ people of such vast incompetence.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but you won't hear about this viral incident from most of our blue tribe news orgs.
Red tribe voters in Tennessee have heard accounts of this incident. In this matter, what they've been hearing seems to be substantially more accurate than the account which still came, ten days later, from Dionne in Virginia, who was of course completely sincere in the various things she said.
On a more competent journalistic plane, we had already read Colbert King's column in today's Washington Post when we sat down to watch Washington Journal.
His column concerns shooting deaths—deaths of the innocent—right there in Washington, D.C. You won't hear about his column, or about the general topic, on blue tribe cable either.
On balance, we'd have to say this:
Our blue tribe's major cable tribunes pretty much don't seem to care about shooting deaths of that particular type. They prefer to speculate, for hours, about Donald J. Trump, about when he'll be going to jail.
Based on what has come to be known, Bubba's account of what happened with that rental bike seems to be much more accurate than Dionne's.
Almost surely, his account tracks to a recent report on the Fox News Channel. Meanwhile, trusted agents of our own tribe have been spreading ugly, unfounded claims about this viral event.
Locked behind the towering walls which surround and protect our own blue tribe, we blues will rarely hear a word about such garbage as this.
Can a large modern nation like ours expect to survive with its tribes locked away behind such towering walls? As Springsteen says in the famous song, "Son, take a good look around."