Patterico's Pontifications


Martin Luther King: “Why Jesus Called a Wise Man a Fool” (Bumped)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 2:19 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Update: Bumped, because after all, it is his holiday. See below for new posts.

Yes, this is my Martin Luther King day tribute and we could all cite from his most famous speech, “I Have a Dream,” but I figured I would pick something a little more obscure.  This is a sermon (audio only) delivered where he confessed to a moment of weakness.

We have admitted Martin Luther King, Jr. into the pantheon of great Americans.  And while he deserves that treatment, the risk we run is that we forget that he was not some plaster saint, but a man of flesh and blood, with a wife and children he loved and real human fears for himself and that family.  So in this speech he tells us how important faith was to him in finding his courage.  Indeed he asserts that Jesus spoke to him in a moment of crisis (he is even clearer on this point at other times in discussing this incident).  I am always skeptical of any person who claims Jesus had spoken to them. But listening to that for the first time well over ten years ago, my thought was this: if Jesus had spoken to anyone in the last one hundred years or so…  Dr. King would be on the short list, right?

But that risks again forgetting the flesh and blood human being that was there.  Reverend King was in a very dangerous business—civil rights, particularly those of African Americans.  It wasn’t really a surprise when he was shot. He knew that he stood a very real chance of being murdered and that he was exposing his family to the same danger.  Let’s not forget that these animals were low enough to murder four little girls as they attended Sunday school.  In this sense it is particularly appropriate for Bono to compare Dr. King to Jesus.  Dr. King was not just a victim of that hate, but a martyr in the truest sense of the word. And it was his humanity, captured in this recording, that made it so profound.

Finally, let me once again provide a recommendation to you.  If you have not enjoyed The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy.  I most fervently recommend the audio version (linked).  Now, I don’t want you to think it is more than it is.  It is read very well by LeVar Burton, with occasional audio clips from Dr. King himself.  So most of your time you are not going to hear Dr. King’s voice. And it is not a true autobiography, so much as a group of autobiographical writings stitched together by editor Clayborne Carson.  Still, I listened to that one summer when driving home from law school and it felt like Dr. King was sitting in the car with me, having a conversation.  It was powerful.

But also it is a road hazard, given that you are almost guaranteed to be moved to tears at least once.

Update: This is an oldie but goodie from Basil, the “Robin” to Frank J. Fleming’s “Batman” over at IMAO from 2008.  A young man tells us that “[t]oday is a national holiday here in the U.S. It’s a day where we celebrate the birthday of a great American, born and raised in the south, who lived and died for what he believed…”  Things go awry from there, but besides being funny, Basil is making a really good point about how we memorialize Dr. King.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

NY Times’ Public Editor: Yeah, Prejudice Drove Our Coverage of the Safeway Massacre

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 2:01 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Mind you, he doesn’t quite say that, but what else are you supposed to make of this when discussing the rush to judgment following the Giffords shooting?

So why does a story get framed this way? Journalism educators characterize this kind of framing as a storytelling habit — one of relating new facts to an existing storyline — and also as a reflex of news organizations that are built to handle some topics well, and others less well.

Jerry Ceppos, dean of the journalism school at the University of Nevada, Reno, said journalists’ impulse to quickly impose a frame on a story is “genetic.”

“Journalists developed automatic framing protocols generations ago because of the need to report quickly,” he said. “Today’s hyper-deadlines, requiring journalists to report all day long and all night long, made that genetic disposition even more dominant.”

In other words, they assumed a right winger did it based on Sarah Palin’s map or something because they were already inclined to think so.  In other words, they were filled with prejudice—i.e. they pre-judged the issue.

He goes on to offer this meek defense:

To be fair, there were some good reasons to steer the coverage initially in this direction. AsRick Berke, the national editor, said: “Our coverage early on was broad and touched everything from the possible shooter to the victims to the reaction to, yes, the political climate in Arizona. By our count, there were 49 stories in the paper the first six days after the tragedy, of which only 14 were political in nature. But it would be ridiculous for us to neglect that. After all, a politician was shot in the head while meeting with constituents. That same lawmaker had her office vandalized during an especially rancorous campaign. And after the shooting the sheriff called his state the capital of hatred and bigotry.”

So let me translate that: “the entire state of Arizona is a bunch of racist right wing hicks, and so naturally we assumed that this racist right wing hickiness was responsible for the killing.”

Look, it is absolutely natural to suppose that if someone attempts to assassinate a political official, that politics might have motivated it in some way.  But it is shallow in the extreme to assume that it is as simple as saying that a political assassination of a Democrat has to necessarily be by a Republican or a Conservative.  People on the left were angry at her, too.  And besides, there are lots of bills Congresspersons vote on and there are winners and losers divided up in ways that have nothing to do with ideology, but still relate to her job and are thus political in some sense of the word.  For instance, she might have favored building a hospital in a certain place, and a rival hospital hired assassins to kill her to prevent that competitor from being built.  I am not saying that this scenario looked particularly likely on that Saturday, but that is the kind of thing you want to find out by investigating.

And quoting the Sheriff provides no excuse.  What the Times should have done is what Megyn Kelly did do: ask him what factual basis he had for saying this (answer: none).  But they didn’t want to do that kind of investigation because it didn’t fit their prejudices.

And in the meantime, the correct response would have been, ironically, what they said after the Ft. Hood shooting.  You have one paragraph acknowledging that the assassination attempt might be political in some sense of the word, but that it would be irresponsible to speculate.

And Krugman should be fired.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Loughner So Far Right, He Hated Bush!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:47 am

Told you Bush wasn’t really that conservative!

After all, I guess he was too much of a squish for Loughner, who was (we were told again and again) far right — despite being a 9/11 Truther, or as we now learn, someone who got angry at the mere sight of G.W. Bush.

Interesting how the New York Times buries this information in the story, after running a full story last week claiming Loughner’s ideology was far right. Interesting … but not surprising.

Tucson Shooting Victim (A Leftist, Naturally) Arrested for Death Threat

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:06 am

Would it be uncivil to say that this doesn’t seem very civil?

Thanks to Dana.

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