Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Media and political malfunction on the police brutality problem

Joan Walsh gets at the point I was trying to make in a post yesterday about how the Republicans are aggressively blaming anti-police-brutality demonstrators and even President Obama himself for the murders of two New York police officers this past weekend. But not only do we see no incitement to murder cops on the part of the protesters or the President. We also don't see a spirited pushback by Democratic politicians on the sleazy and dishonest Republican accusations.

In The right politicizes murders: How it exploited tragedy, told de Blasio how to raise his son Salon 12/22/2014, she writes:

Like Obama, Holder has actually been judicious and cautious in his comments about police-community tension. I was actually surprised by some of his comments about it to MSNBC’s Joy Reid last week. Asked whether he believed black young people should fear the police, he answered:

I don’t think that they should fear the police. But I certainly think that we have to build up a better relationship between young people, people of color, and people in law enforcement. There’s distrust that exists on both sides. There’s misunderstanding that exists on both sides. And we have to come up with ways in which we bridge those gaps, so that people don’t demonize other people; so that people understand, on both sides, that there are people trying to just do the best that they can.

We’re not at a stage yet where I can honestly say that if you’re a person of color, you should not be concerned about any interaction that you have with the police — in the same way that I can’t say to a police officer, “You shouldn’t worry about what community you are being asked to operate in.”
Notice how Holder points to the fear and distrust on “both sides.” His most pointed suggestion for reform in the interview was better collection of statistics – right now there’s no national database on police killings, for instance, and police have resisted establishing one.

What strikes me is how cautious Obama, Holder and de Blasio have been in their remarks about this latest epidemic of police killings, given the grief and rage in the black community over these issues.
This is where Obama's notorious obsession with bipartisanship breaks down. He and Holder are trying to be calm and judicious, while the Republicans demogogue the issue with no meaningful pushback from the leader of the Democratic Party, who is also the sitting President.

And the Republicans know this. So creeps like Rudi Giuliani can set a radical rightwing tone that then tends in the absence of energetic pushback from the Democrats to become the respectable conservative side of the "both sides"of the debate in the eyes of our Pod Pundits and the mainstream media.

Eric Boehlert points out how the treatment of last weekend's murders contrasts with their reporting on the murders committed by far-right terrorists in Fox News' Double Standard For Right-Wing Cop Killers Media Matters 12/22/2014.

Terrance Heath takes up the same theme in Conservative Media And Cop Killers Of A Different Color Our Future 12/22/2014:

Never mind that a majority of cop killers have been white. Conservatives blame police killings of, and violence against blacks, on black lawlessness run amok.

Never mind that [the murdered NYPD officers] the #BlackLivesMatter movement has condemned the murders of officers Liu and Ramos. Conservatives blame the movement collectively for the murder of officers Liu and Ramos.

Never mind that [the murdered] Brinsley had his own run in with NYPD last year. Never mind that Brinsley had a long history of mental illness. Conservatives will blame the #BlackLivesMatter movement for his crimes.

This conservative penchant for collective blaming was absent on June 8, when Jerad and Amanda Miller — both white — shot and killed Las Vegas police officers Igor Soldo and Alyn Beck, as they had lunch at a strip mall. The couple dragged the officers’ bodies from their booth, draped Beck’s body with the yellow “Gasden flag” popular with the tea party movement, and pinned a note to Soldo’s body reading “This is the beginning of the revolution.” The couple stole the officers guns and ammunition, and fled to a local Walmart. Jerad Miller was shot and killed by police. Amanda Miller died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

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