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Opening Arguments

Media madness

I know I've expressed my dismay/disgust with the media's unprofessional and malicious show of journalistic incompetence in the Ferguson case. Time and time again it has been shown that the primary agenda of the press is not to provide, thoroughly and fairly, the facts Americans need to be informed citizens.

But let me vent a little more, please.

I think this guy gets it exactly right:

I hate to say, “I told you so.” No, really, I hate it. The city of Ferguson, Missouri, is in flames yet again as angry mobs—largely composed of outside agitators—vent their rage against “the system” after a grand jury refused to indict a white police officer for shooting a young black man. All of that destruction could have been prevented if the media knew its own business and didn’t need constant reminders from people like me about how to report on the use of deadly force.

Specifically, I warned them about Zimmerman Amnesia, the dogged failure to learn from the media’s mistakes in reporting previous cases. . . . .

The early reports were very clear that Michael Brown was a good, kind-hearted young man bound for college, that the shooting was totally unprovoked, that he was shot multiple times in the back, that he was executed in cold blood. Then the evidence, as it emerged, knocked down each of these claims one by one.

Cases involving the use of force tend to be messy, and getting at the facts is difficult. It requires a lot of sorting of competing claims, cross-examination and confrontation of witnesses, and a thorough review of the physical evidence, which often refutes the eyewitness testimony.

Watch the TV news with the understanding that there is a narrative and the facts that don't fit the narrative just can't be tolerated. You'll begin to see the clear pattern of slanting the news, some of it reflexive, some quite deliberate.

And, as my brother always says, never assume it's as bad as it can get. This is from Time magazine, which in the days before alternative media with different viewpoints showed up, was seen as quite respectede publication:

Riots are a necessary part of the evolution of society. Unfortunately, we do not live in a universal utopia where people have the basic human rights they deserve simply for existing, and until we get there, the legitimate frustration, sorrow and pain of the marginalized voices will boil over, spilling out into our streets. As “normal” citizens watch the events of Ferguson unfurl on their television screens and Twitter feeds, there is a lot of head shaking, finger pointing, and privileged explanation going on. We wish to seclude the incident and the people involved. To separate it from our history as a nation, to dehumanize the change agents because of their bad and sometimes violent decisions—because if we can separate the underlying racial tensions that clearly exist in our country from the looting and rioting of select individuals, we can continue to ignore the problem…

Blacks in this country are more apt to riot because they are one of the populations here who still need to. In the case of the 1992 riots, 30 years of black people trying to talk about their struggles of racial profiling and muted, but still vastly unfair, treatment, came to a boil. Sometimes, enough is simply too much. And after that catalyst event, the landscape of southern California changed, and nationally, police forces took note.

I can almost hear your jaws dropping. Yes, that was Time, with a robust defense of riots "violent protests"!

As Allahpundit notes at Hot Air, it is a fair point that violence is justified when oppression gets bad enough and the system has gone beyond reform thorugh normal political channels. Surely no rational person would claim America in 2014 has reached that point. And, even if you think it has . . .


. . . why would you randomly target businesses that are driving your own city’s economy? The Boston tea partiers targeted a tea shipment specifically to send a message about taxation (under the Tea Act) without representation. What message is sent by looting the liquor store owned by a guy whose only role in all of this was apparently getting robbed by Michael Brown a few minutes before his confrontation with Darren Wilson?

. . . I don’t know why you’d draw the line at rioting and property crimes. The most dramatic way to show cops that they’d better start thinking twice before confronting a young black man is to have a mob murder Darren Wilson, or even several members of the Ferguson PD. But it’s hard to imagine Time printing a piece like that; even (most) Democrats draw the line at open war on law enforcement. So what you get is “in defense of rioting,” which doesn’t quite bust the final taboo of openly agitating for murder but is far enough down the slope to give lefties the quasi-revolutionary thrill they’re looking for in reading a piece like this.

Maybe this is why so many people get their news from "The Daily Show." At least the laughs are honestly sought, the cynicism straightforward. The mainstream press is getting harder to tolerate and so bad it's beyond parody.