Patterico's Pontifications


Constitutional Vanguard: Big Media’s Remarkable Lack of Curiosity on Race

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:16 pm

Big Media has its narratives, and Big Media does not like to question those narratives. Nowhere is this more true than when it comes to race.

Today I have a Substack post about two issues that demonstrate this. The bulk of it is free, and discusses the prevailing narrative about the famous incident in Central Park between Amy Cooper and Christian Cooper. It’s in the news again because Christian Cooper, the media hero of the encounter, has been given a hosting gig for a National Geographic TV show on birding. The news stories about the episode repeat, as fact, the narrative that Amy Cooper “falsely claimed that [Christian Cooper] was threatening her.”

Using Kmele Foster’s podcast about the episode as a jumping off point, I take issue with that conclusion.

There is nothing in this piece about Christian Cooper’s threat to do something Amy Cooper isn’t going to like. Nothing about the numerous other instances of Christian Cooper making similar threats to other people. Nothing about the isolation of the area, Amy Cooper’s background as a sexual assault victim, the inability of the 911 operator to hear her — all facts that contextualize her fear and agitation before and during the 911 call.

Nope, it is the simple narrative of a curiously incurious newspaper hellbent on repeating the established narrative. Next to this, a sheep being led to slaughter is a positive free thinker . . . and at least has the wisdom to keep its mouth shut.

There is also a second portion to the post, behind a paywall, discussing Big Media’s lack of curiosity on the narrative that black men are racially targeted for shootings by the police. A Reuters data scientist was fired not too long ago for making this case at length to co-workers on an internal social media site. His purpose was quite legitimate, as he questioned Reuters’s tendency to repeat the Black Lives Matter narrative as if it were true. But, he said, the statistics show otherwise — and guess who he cites? [Patterico blushes.] In the piece, I quote Kriegman as he cites a Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney named Patrick Frey, and then I note:

I assume most of you know that my real name is Patrick Frey. And as it turns out, the hyperlink to the word “calculations” in the above quote goes to one of my Substack posts — a post, I should add, that is one of my proudest achievements on this platform to date. The reason I value that Substack post so highly is that it makes a point that I basically never see made anywhere, ever. Namely, my thesis is: “If police shootings are a response to deadly threats, rather than motivated by bias, then the total percentage of people (armed or not) of any population shot and killed by police should roughly correspond to the total percentage of people (armed or not) in that same population who pose a deadly threat to police.” And when you dig through the publicly available data on who fatally attacks police, that is exactly what you see: the percentages of fatal attacks on police by race (and by sex, by the way) happen to line up pretty closely with the data on who police shoot.

This is another epic one, over 5300 words long. I have been working on it for quite a while now. But the topics are important and the media is getting it all wrong. The stakes are too high for us to get it wrong too.

Read the post here. Subscribe here.

Sussmann Acquitted

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am

John Durham’s first trial was a bust, ending in a quick acquittal.

A federal jury delivered a major setback to special counsel John Durham on Tuesday, acquitting cybersecurity lawyer Michael Sussmann on a charge that he lied to the FBI in 2016 while acting on behalf of the Hillary Clinton campaign.

After a two-week trial that revived old controversies about the FBI’s role in that presidential election, the verdict was not a close call or a hard decision, two jurors told The Washington Post.

“Politics were not a factor,” said the jury forewoman, who declined to give her name as she left the federal courthouse in downtown Washington. “We felt really comfortable being able to share what we thought. We had concise notes, and we were able to address the questions together.

“Personally, I don’t think it should have been prosecuted,” the forewoman added, saying the government “could have spent our time more wisely.” A second juror told The Post that in the jury room, “everyone pretty much saw it the same way.”

Trumpers online assure us that the proceeding was corrupt.

I wrote about this attitude recently: the default these days is to reflexively engage in cynicism and assume any institution or proceeding you don’t like is corrupt. It’s a dangerous way of thinking. I don’t know what we can do to break out of it, but we need to.

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