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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Some years ago, I had an interview with a homicide detective that got delayed. I used his office phone to postpone a tennis match.

“Tennis, huh?” he said after I’d hung up. “I wondered.”

“Wondered what?”

“Well, you’ve got an indoors, sit-down job,” he explained. “But you’re always tanned and your hand’s callused. Now I know why.”

Me, I’d have asked. Or simply never noticed. Sgt. Dawson sometimes talked as if ungrammatical sentences were a point of honor. But no critical detail escaped him. I’ve always thought that if more journalists thought like him, we’d be spared much of the nonsense that passes for wisdom, not to mention the embarrassment when treasured tales collapse.

From Ferguson to Charlottesville, it’s happening all the time.

Journalists needn’t be homicide cops, but we should be able to abide by Rule One. I think it’s the New Jersey state motto, or was when I grew up there: “Oh yeah, who says?”

Increasingly, however, skepticism is out. The manufacture and dissemination of didactic fables pleasing to the viewing audience is what many journalists do. And that’s becoming almost as true at MSNBC as at Fox News. Particularly in stories involving race and sex, that is to say, a lot of them.

The telltale clues often reside in the homeliest details. For example, how I came to doubt the Murdering Racist Cop version of Michael Brown’s tragic death was right at the start, in his companion Dorian Johnson’s version of how the conflict began.

According to the slight young man with the dreadlocks who was everywhere on TV after his friend’s killing, Officer Darren Wilson reached through his driver’s side window, grabbed Brown by the throat, and pulled him into the patrol car as Brown struggled to escape.

With one arm. From a seated position.

Never mind why would he do that? It’s a physical impossibility. Even if Michael Brown hadn’t been a 6-4, 293 pound man-mountain.

So right out of the box, I don’t trust Dorian Johnson, or Witness 101, as the recently released Department of Justice report called him.

But let Jonathan Capehart take it from there. Capehart is an African-American columnist at the Washington Post who bought into the Murdering Racist Cop narrative bigtime. Until he read the DOJ report. There he learned that “just about everything said to the media by Witness 101…was not supported by the [forensic] evidence and other witness statements.”

Capehart adds that “Witness 101 ’made multiple statements to the media immediately following the incident that spawned the popular narrative that Wilson shot Brown execution-style as he held up his hands in surrender.’ In one of those interviews, Johnson told MSNBC that Brown was shot in the back by Wilson…And, like that, ‘hands up, don’t shoot’ became the mantra of a movement. But it was wrong, built on a lie.”

Strong words, but necessary. Possibly Johnson came to believe the tale he told. But none of it was real. Thousands of angry protesters from sea to shining sea have spent months chanting an intoxicating slogan based upon sheer make-believe.

Do I need to tell you that Capehart has been denounced in Salon and elsewhere as a racial sellout and worse?

Me, I’m thinking maybe comedian Chris Rock could do a routine about a black parent having The Talk with his teenage son about white cops.

“The first thing,” Rock might say “is don’t punch them in the face.”

I suspect a black audience would roar with laughter, for all kinds of complicated reasons. Coming from me, maybe not so much.

But it gets worse. The DOJ report tells about Witness 128, who “told Brown’s mother that Wilson shot Brown at point blank range while his hands were up, and that even after Brown fell to his death, Wilson stood over Brown and fired several more times.”

Confronted by DOJ investigators who said none of that matched the forensic evidence, Witness 128 admitted he might have “hallucinated.” Actually, it’s not clear he saw anything.

Several witnesses who did see poor, doomed Michael Brown assault Darren Wilson, struggle to take his gun, and then make a final crazed charge, testified they feared “retaliation from the community” if it became known they’d contradicted the legend of Brown’s martyrdom.

It was ever thus, my fellow Irish-American friend Bob Somerby and I agreed recently. Bob, who has written a series of incisive posts on his Daily Howler website, compared the atmosphere in Ferguson to Belfast during “The Troubles.” I was thinking Dublin, 1916.

On MSNBC, the new party line is that the DOJ report on Michael Brown’s death shows the difficulty of prosecuting civil rights cases beyond a reasonable doubt. But the report actually concluded that Officer Wilson acted entirely in self-defense: “it was not unreasonable for Wilson to fire on Brown until he stopped moving forward and was clearly subdued.”

Nothing but a crying shame.

Photo: Rose Colored Photo via Flickr

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Copyright 2015 The National Memo
  • Godzilla

    The real shame is that an entire left wing political class has fallen for the lies being constantly spewed by the media. Sheople, nothing but dead from the neck up, sheople.

    • Grannysmovin

      You mean the sheople who follow Faux News, and when they GOP talking head are on every Sunday not one host challenges them, because if they do the cowardly GOP won’t go back on their show. Come out of your bubble and get breathhe. You are not the only one entitled to your point of view. If you insult people just because they hold a different point of view from you just makes you sound closed minded and ignorant.

      • mike

        When you live in a glass house you shouldn’t throw stones!!
        “Close minded and ignorant” is all yours and the left.
        People with a position from the right that post on NM are called everything in the book for their views. but the left demands the right not respond in kind. Fuhgeddaboudit!!!
        Almost to a person on the left believed every word the media spouted and attacked the police without one concrete fact. The left knew/knows for sure that every cop is a racist and kills young blacks by the thousands at their whim, which is pure BS and has been proven false.

        • Grannysmovin

          You did not want a discussion of views you wanted to argue. Your post was, without provication, calling people who may have a different opinion than you “sheople”. That is not looking to exchange ideas with an open mind but just being aggressive and close minded. What you don’t try and see is that is not the one inncident involving an unarmed individual, it is years of frustration as being treated as less than equal by some law enforcement. To say there are not bad cops or racists cops is ludicrious and to say that all cops are reacists is ludicrious as well. Just like assuming all people of color are criminals or “thugs” is wrong. The DOJ reports are showing that there are major problems in some police departments. Have a nice day.

          • mike

            And you wanted a discussion??? What you and your ilk continue to do is blame Fox, which is a load of BS.
            I never said there are not bad cops, people of color being thugs, etc.. What I did say is the media and left believe that the cops are the real bad guys, which they are not. From day one of the tragedy in Ferguson it was Williams fault.
            Are there problems in some departments? Absolutely!!
            What you ignore in Ferguson with a population of blacks being the majority, they can set their own destiny but choose not too. They have one member on the city council, one or two in the police department, and voting record is dismal when it comes to local elections.
            They are their own worse enemies. They have to think and act a certain way or there will be “retaliation.”

          • Grannysmovin

            They have to think and act a certain way or there will be “retaliation.” – Who sets the standards as to how they are to think and act? What is the “retaliation”? What you ignore is that people stop fighting because they feel disenfranchised. I agree they have to get out and vote to begin to change the situation. There were a number of young people who were articulate and peaceful communicators – hopefully they will stand up and run for local office and encourage more men and women of color to join the police force.

          • mike

            Go read the article again where one witness was worried about “retaliation from the community”.
            They set the standard as to how they think and act. If one varies from what they think is the norm, they are Uncle Toms or acting white. not being black enough. That is the black culture in a nut shell.
            I want blacks to be successful and grow, but their culture and their leaders wish to perpetuate that they are the “victims”.

          • ralphkr

            Gee, Mike, you just gave a perfect description of the right wing, in particular, the TEA Party. They are all victims of discrimination & gummint persecution and if someone, such as myself, presents the fact that their beloved VA & Medicare benefits are Federal Government programs that person is banned from further meetings as a N—-r loving commie liberal. The right wing does not allow facts to interfere with their fantasy alternate universe where Christian Caucasians are persecuted in the USA by non-Caucasians.

          • mike

            I see you are thinking and typing stupidly again!!! Not surprised at your ridiculous remarks considering the source.

          • ralphkr

            Thank you, thank you, mike, for reaffirming that the truth really bites conservatives. You make it sadly obvious that you agree with conservatives that truth and facts (science) are all part of a liberal plot.

          • mike

            I see your opinions are still on the stupid side. Oh well, nothing new coming from you, again.

          • ralphkr

            Thank you, mike. Since in your fantasy universe you see everything as the reverse of what they truly are then you just labeled me as a genius in the real world (at least in comparison to you).

          • mike

            Only in your delusional mind, if one can call it a mind, most people wouldn’t.

          • ralphkr

            That is rich, mike, coming from someone whose most coherent statement is LOL.

          • mike

            Enjoying the chuckle!!!
            Keep trying, old man!!

          • dtgraham

            For Christ sake have a little respect. Look, I get that you disagree with Dominick Vila and ralphkr. Fair enough, but old man and old boy? C’mon man.

          • mike

            Well aren’t they both????
            I am just as old, Vietnam Vet., have spent thousands of hours volunteering to help Disabled Vets. from Vietnam to the present. Lost our Son, Army Ranger 2nd Battalion, 6 tours to Iraq and Afghanistan.
            So save me your outrage.
            I have caught Dom in misstatements and outright lies and when confronted with either tries to change the subject or deflects, not once has he admitted he was wrong. As to Ralpkr, I haven’t had that much to do with but it is always same old generalization(garbage) about the Tea Party, GOP.

          • dtgraham

            Three points:
            i) Your military service doesn’t give you carte blanche to do whatever you want. ralphkr is a vet too and Dom has a son in the military (I think). At least respect them if nothing else.
            ii) Have you ever considered that your right wing nut websites may be massaging facts and reality on you in at least some cases? It’s one of their specialties.
            iii) You’ve also been factually wrong on a handful of things in our discussions. Not a big deal though. I’m not always right either. We do our best.

          • mike

            1) I never said my military service had anything to do with my responses to stupid and pathetic generalization made by ralphkr. But I did let you know I am of the same era and they are old boys as am I, they sure aren’t young ones.
            2). All you have do is show where you think they are massaging the facts and prove your point. I suspect my sites are closer to the point than those on this sites.
            3) If and when I am wrong, show me and we can go from there.
            Most of my websites have not been from the right, in fact I go out of my way to find a those that are not.
            Knowing your integrity, I look forward to you proving me wrong when you feel I am.

          • dtgraham

            You must watch a lot Fox News. How about this:


            For the websites, off the top of my head, the Daily Caller blamed gay service members for military rape 8/24/14.

            Breitbart attacked the wrong Loretta Lynch, falsely believing that the AG nominee was Hillary Clinton’s whitewater lawyer of the same name. They left the story running even after finding out and never issued a proper correction. 11/9/14.

            The Free Beacon claimed that Eric Holder’s interest in smart gun technology to stop stolen gun violence, was really an attempt to create a gun registry. 4/7/14.

            There’s a ton more. I could spend all day on this. I’ll go into it more if you want me to. We both know, for example, that the World Net Daily is simply ridiculous but Rick Santorum was recently a columnist there and may still be for all I know. That’s the home of Obama’s gay Martian love-child. I’ve seen GOP’ers on this website actually quote them.

          • mike

            Wait a minute, when did I use any of these sites??? More importantly, when did I talk about rape in the military or the other subjects.
            Number 2 was specific to MY responses to you or anyone else to make a point.
            And you believe the left wing sites never massage the facts, Right??
            I think you need to read #2 and #3 again, both are based on my responses and documentation.
            Your integrity just took a hit. When have I discussed with you or anyone else on the subjects above?? Never!!
            If I have, which I doubt, produce the articles and your rebuttal.

          • dtgraham

            How would I know which websites you like? You never gave any examples. In regards to the conservative sites you said, “all you have to do is show where you think they are massaging the facts and prove your point.” Those are a few examples. Trust me, there are lots more.

            You recently made a comment to someone here, on some thread, where you wanted that person to give one—just one—example of where Fox News gave inaccurate information. You were adamant about this as I recall. How did you like Jon Stewart’s laundry list, backed up by Politifact? You can word it in a search engine several different ways and spend days reading Fox News lies.

          • mike

            What the heck are you talking about.
            Your 3 point post was about my responses ralphkr, my reply was to those three points. I stated that in my last response to you but you seem to want to ignore
            That quote you gave “all you……………and prove your point” was to prove my articles I have given were wrong. It had nothing to do anything else. Go read it again, last sentence of No.2 ” I suspect my sites are closer to the point than those on this sites.”
            As to your last paragraph, baloney!!! I have never said anything of the sort about Fox. I know you are so brilliant that you can find them.
            I have given many articles to prove my point, maybe not to you but I have given many to others. The first time we exchanged posts to my knowledge was on Iran and their nuclear program. I just sent you a site yesterday from a very reputable group, Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Weapons.

          • dtgraham

            If you were just referring to the links that you sometimes give, and they come from a wide variety on the political spectrum, then some of the comments I made don’t apply to you. I thought we were talking about the far right websites only.

            I read through some of those Wisconsin Project articles. Lot of material there. Thanks.

            You actually did make those remarks about Fox News recently but I can’t remember the article or even who it was in reply to. Think it was Dominick though. It was a while back. I was so tempted to reply but couldn’t spare any more time on the Memo. Was going to reply later but forgot about it.

          • mike

            I thought I was clear, if not sorry, you were upset with me and I was responding to your remarks about me, me only.
            The right to far right and the far left and left can massage the numbers, facts, etc.. I seldom if ever try and use those blogs/sites unless I have additional verification.

            What is scary about the Wisconsin is just how close Iran is and how easily they can finish the process.
            I don’t ever remembering making remarks about Fox “News” giving inaccurate information. Sorry, you didn’t challenge me and show it. I just don’t remember ever using Fox to prove a point. I have used other sources who have used Fox and other outlets to make a point but never Fox alone. Maybe the senior moments are setting in.
            This should really frosted you!!! 🙂

          • dtgraham

            You know how that “most trusted” thing works with Fox. It’s like vote splitting in elections where you might have 3 center-left parties and only one conservative one. The conservative party can sometimes attain government with only 30% of the vote. In the same way—moderates, independents, liberals, swing voters tend to watch several different networks for news and split their “most trusted” vote among them. Surprisingly MSNBC doesn’t have the loyalty among liberals that Fox does with conservatives.

            On the other hand, it’s so very common for conservatives to watch Fox News only. When the time comes to register their vote for most trusted, who do you think they’ll all choose? I saw an analysis on that one time and it makes sense. Then again, as Bill O’Reilly often says, I’m a simple man.

          • mike

            Your remarks sound possible but when you look at the methodology of the poll it puts a different slant on the numbers.

            The Poll was 32% Republican, 29% Democrat, 28% independent, 11% other. More women than men, 53% 18-54,42% 55+.

            In this day and age, the networks are taking the biggest hit, they are no longer the go-to for the news. Too many outlets and lots of variety for the news. Network news is not trustworthy is 48-7.

            I think you would be surprised the number of Independents and progressives that tune into Fox.
            MSNBC is on the ropes and quite frankly really massaging the news. They continue to lose viewers and reflects the NBC left leaning management style.

            Now did you say you were “a simple man” or simpleton??? 🙂 Just kidding so don’t get you bowels in an uproar.

            Back to the game, can’t stand UK.

          • dtgraham

            I gotta go Wisconsin to win it all at this point just for the stenographer thing if nothing else. Duke and Kentucky don’t need any more national championships (Tarheels too if they were still there).

          • mike

            Now there you go again!!! That redistribution thing you on the left love. 🙂
            Betting odds have KY(can’t stand Calipari) 5-6, Duke and Wisconsin 7-2, and Michigan State 8-1.
            I am a Dukie and love Krzyzewski and his program.
            KU will probably win but it only takes one game and your gone. So I would love to see Coach K go all the way. Anyone but UK. Duke, MSU/Wisconsin, uk,
            My daughters live in Georgetown/Lexington, KY and i wear my Duke hat all the time when there, boy do I get some unbelievable reactions. They HATE Duke. I have even been denied service, LMAO!!!

          • dtgraham

            That’s terrible. Never been a big Duke fan but we on the left hate to see this kind of discrimination. I had no idea that Kentucky had a “Most hated NCAA team freedom Bill.” I hope Mike Pence doesn’t hear about this.

          • mike

            Now there you go again!!
            What the law really says, if you go and read it, only provides a mechanism to address claims, not a license to deny service.
            Even a claim involving private individuals under RFRA must show that one’s religious beliefs were ‘substantially burdened’ and not in service to a broader government interest — which preventing discrimination certainly is. The government has the explicit power under the law to step in and defend such interests.
            I have a feeling the law will be tweaked going forward.

          • dtgraham

            The Indiana law provides a legal pathway for possible private business discrimination. It does so in two ways that the federal RFRA does not, and that’s the lie that Fox and the con media insist on telling. That is, that it’s the same as federal and other state RFRA’s. It’s not.

            The Indiana law explicitly allows any for-profit business to assert a right to the free exercise of religion. The federal RFRA doesn’t. Second, it makes a business’s free exercise right a defense against a private lawsuit by another person, rather than simply against actions brought by the government. Democrats in Indiana offered the Republican legislative majority a chance to amend the new act to say that it did not permit private businesses to discriminate but they voted that amendment down.

            This Indiana, and now Arkansas, statute hints strongly that it’s there to be used to exclude gays and same sex couples from accessing employment, housing, and public accommodations on the same terms as other people. The statute shows every sign of having been carefully designed to put new obstacles in the path of equality for gay Americans certainly; and it’s been publicly sold with deceptive claims that it’s nothing new.

            I do think though that this is something we can expect to see a lot more of, as the Supreme Court opened the legal door to it through their Burwell v Hobby Lobby Stores and Photography v Willock decisions. Only corporate pressure can stop it now, and we’ve seen a lot of that in Indiana.

            Gay Americans may have to settle for second class status, but where it will get interesting is when certain businesses run by people of one faith might deny service to customers of another faith, or demand a specific dress code of female customers predominantly. You may think that no rational business person would ever do that, but businesses routinely denied service to African-Americans in pre civil rights days. The vagaries of race could even conceivably make it’s way back into the equation as that was once used as religious justification for discrimination.

          • mike

            This anti-Indiana backlash is a perfect storm of hysteria and legal ignorance, supercharged by the particularly censorious
            self-righteousness of the Left.

            All the Indiana law says is that the state can’t substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion, unless there is a compelling governmental interest at stake and it is
            pursued by the least restrictive means. The law doesn’t mandate any particular outcome; it simply provides a test for the courts in those rare instances when a person’s exercise of religion clashes with a law.

            For all its talk of diversity by the left, it demands unanimity on this question — individual conscience be damned. So it isn’t bothered when religious wedding vendors are sued or harassed under anti-discrimination laws for their non-participation in ceremonies they morally oppose.

            This is all about Democrats, unhappily laboring under the largest Republican congressional majority since before the New Deal, are looking to pick fights over issues such as gay rights, abortion, and environmental regulation, believing that this will help their fund-raising and invigorate their demoralized partisans.

            Another reason might be more substantive: Indiana’s law, like some other state RFRAs (but unlike the federal statute, which has been interpreted in different ways by
            different courts), expressly states that it allows religious practice to be raised as a defense not only when the government is a party to the controversy but also in litigation undertaken by private parties under state law — including laws that prohibit discrimination against homosexuals. Which is to say, this is another skirmish in the endless battle of the Big Gay Wedding Cake.

            Why would gay couple want a cake baked by a person or force a person to be their photographer knowing the person abhors their lifestyle on religious grounds?
            These fanatical homosexual activists reject the notion that religious liberty might even be raised as an issue in the case of a wedding planner who does not wish to be involved in the blessing of a homosexual union.

            Their goal is a coercive coast-to-coast regime with no room for social compromise at all.

            All they have to do is take their money and business elsewhere.
            Just another attack on Christians by the secular progressives.

            Christians had better wake up!!! Their leaders need to start speaking out, I haven’t seen or heard one Christian leader defending the Christian faith.

            Just my thoughts.

          • JPHALL

            Once again you insist on your prejudiced view of Black Americans. The vast majority, 70%+, are already doing what you claim is needed for Black people to do. You insist that a minority of Black people are all. So your arguments are invalid.

            If I did that with White people I could claim that you are all child molesters, sexual perverts and gun nuts who kill for no real reason. Since that does not represent the vast majority of Whites, it is also false. Stop with your biased and racists opinions.

          • mike

            I am not even close to being prejudice, Ferguson with its 60% black can control their own destiny. So far they haven’t.

            What some blacks call those black that try to succeed is undeniable. If a black person doesn’t speak a certain narrative other blacks call them the names I used above.

            Sharpton would be out of business it the black culture didn’t want to play the “victim” game. Someday you will know that the Whites aren’t the ones holding back the Blacks.
            Blacks are their own worst enemy. Period!!!

          • JPHALL

            Sharpton and others like him are in business because of White’s like yourself. Stuck in the past and refusing to grasp the changes occurring around them. Get over yourself and your prejudices.
            Subject: Re: Comment on Journalists Must Rediscover Skepticism

          • mike

            Such Baloney!!!
            Another worthless post by you.

          • JPHALL

            I know. To right wingers and bigots, the truth is baloney.
            Subject: Re: Comment on Journalists Must Rediscover Skepticism

          • mike

            Keep drinking the Kool-Aid.

          • JPHALL

            It is obvious that you are the one drinking the kool – aid. To use your idiotic phrase, you sheeple.
            Subject: Re: Comment on Journalists Must Rediscover Skepticism

          • mike

            Hands up, don’t shoot!!! Was a lie! Cost millions of dollars, lost business, jobs, with little chance of recovery.
            All perpetrated by media and left wing activists. Holder shows up, Sharpton shows up and both were proven wrong!
            Blacks are there own worse enemy!
            And you’re one of the idiots that believed every word, and you think I’m the idiot.

          • dpaano

            I agree….by the way, where was Sharpton when the Sheriff’s Dept. in San Bernardino beat on a poor suspect in plain view of a Channel 4 news helicopter? Oh, I forgot, they weren’t beating on a black man…..hmmmm, interesting!

        • dpaano

          Where do you get your information? “Almost to a person????” Did you ask EVERYONE in the United States how they felt? I sincerely doubt it. But, we all listened to our news programs and believed everything they said without ever getting the actual story (at least until the Grand Jury investigation showed that the witnesses that came forth didn’t quite tell the truth). As a relative left-minded person, I didn’t believe the news 100%. I’m perfectly aware that they are merely spouting what they think people want to hear and not necessarily what is actually the truth.

          • mike

            Didn’t need to ask, all I had to do is listen and read all the left and left of center media outlets and their slanted view.

  • Buford2k11

    skepticism is all fine and dandy…We need more courage from the Journalists who are not part of the propaganda machine…

  • Carolyn1520

    We need more with the courage to pick up the republican rocks and shine the light on what’s hiding underneath.

  • Whatmeworry


  • dpaano

    That’s the problem with our media and journalists today….they have no scruples!! “If it bleeds, it leads” seems to be their mantra. I’d like to see just plain ol’ real news again….not this BS that seems to be coming from every news station. Noting is sacred anymore, and some things SHOULD be!