Monday, December 8, 2014

There's Something Happenin' Here...

I'm really not sure where this is going - if it's going anywhere at all.

First we had Trayvon Martin. This poor, innocent child, returning from a quick trip to the convenience store for some candy, was followed by some creepy white dude, who shot him dead for no apparent reason.

Then there was Mike Brown. For no reason other than he was walking down the street, Brown was shot dead, execution-style, in the back by a trigger-happy racist cop.

Next up we have a sordid tale of a young college student, viciously gang-raped by nameless and faceless fraternity brothers as part of some bizarre initiation ritual.

Problem is, in each of these stories, reality turned out to be nothing even remotely like the narrative. The media, desperately clinging to the "innocent boy vs. horrible racist man" narrative, kept showing pictures of  Trayvon Martin when he was 12. We saw the same tactic with Mike Brown, with his high school graduation picture being apparently the only photograph ever taken.

They did get smarter with the UVA case, though. Since it was a sexual assault, the alleged victim wasn't named - couldn't be named. With that anonymity, the story is easier to stick to - no need to find 5 year old pictures when you conveniently can't show the victim at all.

In all these cases, though, the narrative fell apart despite the best attempts of the media to maintain it. George Zimmerman may have made poor decisions the night he shot Martin, but he hardly attacked this darling young boy. Officer Wilson certainly didn't shoot Mike Brown in the back. And while something might have happened at UVA, it's hard to believe this horrific gang rape occurred as part of an initiation ritual in the fall - when pledging takes place in the spring.

It makes you wonder. Sure, part of the problem is the rush to be first. Why be right when you can be right now? How many mass shootings has the media reported on where they claim multiple shooters, yet the reality is the vast majority are single? The stories as we initially hear them are juicy - a young man shot dead for no reason, a racist police officer shooting a black teen in the back, a college coed brutalized by frat brothers.

I'd be surprised if the media didn't report these stories.

It's the later, when the evidence starts pouring in that suggests things didn't happen the way the media wanted it to happen, that's critical. Rather than report the facts as they come in, we're treated to a litany of excuses. How many times did we hear the grand jury testimony in the Wilson hearing contained "conflicting accounts," yet we never heard that the reason accounts were conflicting is that witnesses who agreed with the "shot in the back" narrative were confronted with hard-and-fast evidence proving it couldn't have happened the way they claimed.

In the UVA case, this woman made numerous accusations that could have been (and eventually were) followed up on and found lacking. The first and most glaring being the initiation angle - a quick call to the national charter would have yielded the critical information that pledging occurs in the spring, so something like this happening as an initiation ritual is quite unlikely in the fall. Simple follow-ups fell by the wayside in the rush to bring these salacious and outrageous stories to print.

Even more troubling, though, is the aftermath. "Hands up" has become a rallying cry, despite there being not a single shred of evidence that Brown ever put his hands up. All greek organizations were suspended as a result of the Rolling Stone interview and alleged sexual assault; when it was brought up that perhaps the UVA President owed the fraternity an apology, the thought was violently shouted down. Oh, sure, maybe *this* assault didn't happen, but those evil frats have been doing stuff like this for a long time.

"Everybody knows" isn't a reason. The list of things "everybody knows" that has turned out to be completely wrong is so long we could spend all day on it and not even scratch the surface. It's certainly no reason to indict an entire profession (police) or condemn a specific fraternity for crimes no one can prove ever happened. Other injustices committed by other groups, no matter how similar, should have zero bearing on the actual event.

Every time the media blows a story out of proportion, though, the *real* stories get lost. Worse, they end up making things worse for real stories - by the time we got around to Eric Garner being killed by NYPD, we were all "outraged-out" after Mike Brown. Eric Garner was killed "resisting" NYPD over the sale of loose cigarettes. He wasn't knocking over convenience stores or selling drugs; he was committing the unpardonable crime of taking tax dollars away from the state. And he died as a result of police attempts to apprehend him.

That's a WAY more sympathetic story than the reality of Mike Brown, isn't it?

In the same vein, our Rolling Stone interviewee whose story seems to have fallen apart upon review has almost certainly caused severe harm to real cases of rape. Some will fail to report what happened, fearing that increased scrutiny in the wake of the embarrassing UVA report might further victimize them. Others might get overlooked as coverage is denied, again with a gunshy media deciding that silence is golden - after all, you can't get a story wrong that you don't report.

I'd like to believe that each of these cases are nothing more than the media just doubling down on their own stupidity. It's tempting to think there's some grand conspiracy here, that the media has this master template for fomenting dissent and hate in some bizarre attempt to make headlines and sell newspapers. Reality, though, dictates that the far more logical reason is simply that they don't want to admit they're wrong, and they're willing to burn the village in order to save it. Rather than say, hey, we messed up and didn't fully investigate that story, they're digging deeper and deeper.

Because if it really is some sinister conspiracy, I'm terrified to think that people are dumb enough to fall for it...

That is all.


Sailorcurt said...

People are "dumb enough to buy into it" not because they are dumb, but because the stories feed their pre-existing biases and expectations.

In the "culture of rape" community, everyone already KNOWS that these horrific gang rapes happen every day and are condoned if not outright sponsored by those terrible misogynistic fraternities.

Everyone in the media KNOWS that those evil white-hispanic gun-toters in their gated neighborhoods in the Gun-shine state are scared to death of innocent black children and will shoot them on site, as happened to Choirboy Trayvon.

Everyone in the inner cities KNOW that cops are are nothing more than officially sanctioned KKK members and routinely shoot blacks in the back if they get uppity when stopped for no reason while innocently walking down the street.

So when stories that support the FACTS that they already KNOW are true, it's all to easy to just say "see...see...I told you so" without questioning the veracity of the claims in the least.

I disagree with you strongly on the Eric Garner thing: Sure, it was a minor crime, but watch the video, Garner was belligerent when approached by the cops. The cops decided they needed to take him down. He was a big boy...probably close to twice the weight of the cop who took him down. The cop didn't "choke him out", he got him in a headlock and used leverage to bring him down to the ground. As soon as he got him on the ground, he released the headlock. Then, as I've seen a million times in other arrests, even when the arrestee wasn't resisting at all, a DIFFERENT cop, put his knee on Garner's head and ground his face into the side walk to maintain control while they got him cuffed.

All the while other cops were laying on Garner's back and trying to force his arms behind him.

Garner died because he was grossly obese and his body couldn't handle the stress of being forcibly restrained, not because the cop put his arm around his neck in bringing him to the ground.

You can argue all day long that the "untaxed cigarette" charge is BS and shouldn't be a crime in the first place, and you would be right...but it's not the cop's job to determine what the law SHOULD be, it's the cop's job to enforce what the law IS.

If a cop tries to give you a ticket for jaywalking and you get belligerent and resist, you're probably going to go to jail and if you resist physically, you're going to get roughed up in the processes.

It simply doesn't matter that the initial charge was trivial. We shouldn't be railing against the cops for doing their jobs...the job that we ask them to do by electing the people who make things like selling individual cigarettes on the street illegal...we should be fighting to get these ridiculous victimless crimes removed from the books.

lelnet said...

Ironically, he wasn't even evading's not like he grew the tobacco and rolled those cigarettes himself...he bought them from a store, in packs, and then re-sold them one at a time. The taxes GOT PAID, when he bought them. Just not by the final consumer.

Roger said...

If you think that the media bias and slanted reporting is bad now, just wait until a conservative senate and house of representatives is in power. Heaven help us then if a conservative president is elected. The entire media will be foaming at the mouth with trivia, innuendo and fabrications based upon their prejudices and liberal dreams.

Ted said...

We don't know that. "Loose'ies" are frequently from cartons bought in southern no tax states. Ie. Bootlegged into New York. Or they "fell off the back of a truck". In either case , No cigarette tax. No sales tax. No income tax. No employment tax. No city tax. No county tax. Almost pure profit after he paid his supplier. ( who also is not paying any taxes )

Sailorcurt said...

One more thing: Please don't take my above as a knee-jerk defense of cops in general...when they are abusive, negligent or otherwise culpable, they absolutely should be held to account and way to often are not (see the "accidental" shooting of Akai Gurley as an example of a cop that should be held accountable for his negligence but is most likely going to get away with it)...but I simply don't think the Garner situation is one of them.

There were multiple cops there, they made the determination that they needed to arrest Garner, he resisted and died as a result of his physical condition not being up to the stresses involved.

By the way, when someone clearly speaks the words "I can't breathe" multiple times...they actually can.

Sailorcurt said...

What Ted said...the cigarette taxes are so high in places like New York, they don't even have to "roll their own" or even steal the cigarettes to make a profit by reselling them.

New York has the highest state taxes on cigarettes in the country and the city adds city taxes over that. It's only about a 5 hour drive to northern Virginia...which has the lowest tobacco taxes in the country. Easy money.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

"The cop didn't "choke him out", he got him in a headlock and used leverage to bring him down to the ground." [...] "Garner died because he was grossly obese and his body couldn't handle the stress of being forcibly restrained, not because the cop put his arm around his neck in bringing him to the ground."

While I don't necessarily disagree, it does really make me suspicious that the NYPD actually fired the cop over this, and I haven't heard their union raising a fuss, either. Normally, they'd be closing ranks and holding him up as a paragon of police professionalism, while loudly pointing out Garner's history of criminal activity and violence.

The fact that they've basically thrown him to the mob and left him wide open for civil action is just really odd. NYPD has a long reputation for not doing that even when it's obviously deserved.

Unnamed Caller said...

You're leaving out the just-as-sensational but lacking in immediacy story of Dunham's supposed rape and how THAT story is falling apart. And again, The Usual Media are attacking anyone who actually investigates as being "supportive of the rape culture."

Where were these clowns when Clinton was in the Oval Office?

BTW and OT, can you convince Alan to stop growing sea urchins in his abdominal cavity? I'm missing my squirrel stew.

Old NFO said...

Fomenting this hate and discontent allows them to 'push' serious national issues (Like sequestration, immigration and others) off the front pages. Follows the lead of the administration to a T at the same time... Divide and conquer.

Wraith said...

Every time the media blows a story out of proportion, though, the *real* stories get lost.

Not that they'd be trying to distract us from anything important. That's tinfoil-hat crazy talk. "Today, President Obama sold Alaska back to Rus--HEY LOOK KIM KARDASHIAN'S BUTT!!!"

Nah. Never happen.

Sailorcurt said...

it does really make me suspicious that the NYPD actually fired the cop over this, and I haven't heard their union raising a fuss, either. Normally, they'd be closing ranks and holding him up as a paragon of police professionalism, while loudly pointing out Garner's history of criminal activity and violence.

It surprises me a little bit too, but I have to imagine it has something to do with preventing the kinds of riots and uproar they've been experiencing outside of St. Louis lately.

The Grand Jury may not have indicted him, but the city can claim the moral high ground because they took action.

How much you want to bet that in a a year or so, after this has all died down, the fired cop will sue the city for wrongful termination and the city will quickly and quietly settle for an "undisclosed sum".