By Doug Porter
The gang at Fox News is doing their damnest to make a connection between #BlackLivesMatter and police officers killed in the line of duty. Yesterday, Megyn Kelly and Katie Pavlich characterized Black Lives Matter as violent, with Pavlich calling it “a movement that promotes the execution of police officers.”
Elsewhere in the media the implied story is that cops are getting mowed down at a dramatically increasing rate. The Los Angeles Times ran with a story saying “the recent bloodshed feels different.”
CNN does it by slight of hand in its coverage of Illinois police officer Charles Joseph Gliniewicz and Texas Sheriff’s Deputy Darren Goforth, telling us that the number of deaths in the line of duty this year has increased from 73 to 85.
The proof of the assertions touted by the Fair and Balanced crew are statements made by Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman at a press conference following the shooting of Deputy Goforth. When pressed, he admitted there was no evidence linking the shooter with a history of mental illness to any group or cause.
Here’s German Lopez at Vox:
By the sheriff’s own admission, there’s nothing establishing a motive or linking Black Lives Matter to the shooting. But by making the connection in his remarks, he planted the seeds that critics of Black Lives Matter and outlets like Fox News needed to cultivate and grow their big plant of bullshit.
It’s not just Fox News — other reports painted narratives that put Black Lives Matter and police as inherently in conflict. A CNN report, for instance, described Black Lives Matter’s advocacy as “anti-police rhetoric.” What does it say about American society that advocating for black lives and ending racial disparities in the criminal justice system would qualify not as pro-equality but as anti-police?
Some of this seems to be rooted in a fundamental misunderstanding of the phrase “Black Lives Matter.” It’s not, as the sheriff suggested, that activists think black lives matter more and police (or white) lives matter less. It is already generally accepted in the US that cops’ lives matter — police are among the most respected institutions in America, according to Gallup surveys. The message of Black Lives Matter, instead, is that black lives are currently undervalued relative to everyone else’s, and the country needs to recognize that to bring an end to the disparity.
Reddit user GeekAesthete made this point in a thread explaining why the phrase “all lives matter” is offensive:
Imagine that you’re sitting down to dinner with your family, and while everyone else gets a serving of the meal, you don’t get any. So you say “I should get my fair share.” And as a direct response to this, your dad corrects you, saying, “everyone should get their fair share.” Now, that’s a wonderful sentiment — indeed, everyone should, and that was kinda your point in the first place: that you should be a part of everyone, and you should get your fair share also. However, dad’s smart-ass comment just dismissed you and didn’t solve the problem that you still haven’t gotten any!
The facts tell a different story than what we’re seeing in the news. In my mind, this conflating of criticism of and protests with law enforcement deaths is nothing more than an attempt to divert public attention away from evidence of injustice in the pursuit of ‘criminal justice.’
The number of police officers shot and killed in the line of duty is not increasing this year. At this point in the year fewer officers have gone down as compared to last year. And the numbers have been falling since the 1970s, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
Blake Fleetwood’s research for the Washington Monthly looked at the death rates for various occupations:
To put the risk of policing in perspective: fisherman and loggers are 10 times more likely to be killed on the job than a police officer, a farmer is 2 times more likely to die on the job, according to national figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A logging worker is eight times more likely than a police officer to die on the job, and a garbage man is three times more likely to die while working.
Here Are Some Facts
Shawn King, the Daily Kos writer who the conservative media has attempted to anoint as one of the leaders of Black Lives Matter, puts some actual numbers to this hyperbole:
Often, people who are sympathetic to police will quote that 83 police have died in the line of duty in 2015. And that is true, but what they aren’t telling you is that 13 of those officers had heart attacks or that 19 died in car accidents or that 3 died because of 9/11 related illnesses.
26 police officers have been shot and killed in the line of duty this year. Each of those is tragic and a reflection of the violence in our country. This, though, is not some race-based dramatic uptick in police shooting deaths. 47 officers were shot and killed in 2014 and we are pace to have fewer than that this year. Comparatively, 662 people have been shot and killed by police in America as of September 1st and a total of 792 people have been killed by police altogether this year.
Not only that, but as the media attempts to blame black activists for these deaths, the truth they aren’t telling you is that half of all police who’ve been shot and killed this year were actually African Americans. That, though, is inconvenient for their narrative.
We should be able to have the emotional maturity and intellectual honesty to discuss these issues without misstating or skewing the facts (or outright lying about them). It only makes matters worse. Not only that, but far more police are dying by suicide than they are at the hands of others.
The death of a police officer in the line of duty is always a tragedy. It is a dangerous job (loggers and farmers don’t typically face armed opposition), made more dangerous by the expectation that incarceration has largely replaced mental health and drug rehab facilities. And then there are the demands by the somewhat privileged to make those at the bottom of the economic scale go “elsewhere.”
Hating on Black Lives Matter
There have been demonstrations and even riots in recent months triggered by community reactions to injustices, including killings, at the hands of the police. Police officers have been targets for violence during these confrontations. But it’s not like that’s been the only indiscriminate violence.
Just as it’s true that police officers don’t wake up in the morning intending to pull the trigger on some kid, it’s also true that the people who’ve been on the streets protesting don’t want to get tear-gassed, beaten or arrested.
The goals and message of Black Lives Matter arose out of a desire to do something constructive with the anger simmering in black communities. Because it was born out of this chaos and because Black Lives Matter (wisely, in my opinion) is a movement–not an organization, much to the dismay of the media– they’ve been cast as the demons in this false narrative about police getting killed.
The fact is they are explicitly concerned with reducing the racial disparities found in the criminal justice system, not killing cops.
Back to Vox:
It’s entirely possible to simultaneously want to reduce police shootings and want to keep police officers safe. Black Lives Matter activists have proposed at least 10 policies that aim to hold law enforcement accountable without putting them in harm’s way, ranging from ending aggressive low-level policing and instituting better police training to limiting standards for use of force and equipping cops with body cameras.
On to other news…
The Clinton T-Shirt Scandal
Have you heard the news? Yesterday, another ‘gotcha’ video emerged from the swamp where James O’Keefe lives.
O’Keefe, whose past videos have sparked both congressional action and his own arrest, invited journalists to the National Press Club with little but the promise of something explosive.
He claimed his hidden video cameras had caught two senior Clinton campaign officials accepting illegal contributions from a foreign citizen at the candidate’s June kickoff rally in New York City.
The size of the donation – $40 for a t-shirt – did not impress the assembled press corps. “Is this a joke?” a reporter with the Daily Beast asked.
The video shows an undercover operative working for O’Keefe’s Project Veritas helping a Canadian woman buy Clinton apparel. Two relatively senior campaign staffers, who happened to be manning a merchandise booth at the event, told the Canadian woman she could not purchase the items, since foreigners cannot give to American campaigns.
But the Project Veritas reporter offered to help. The reporter purchased the t-shirt for the woman, who would apparently reimburse her, though that transaction was not captured on tape. And the reporter purchased $35 in apparel for herself.
Now, O’Keefe wants that $35 back
Smoking is Good for You?
A British study claiming e-cigarettes are 20 times less harmful than traditional cigarettes made the rounds last week. And now it’s been debunked.
Surprised? Don’t be.
From The Daily Telegraph:
…now it has emerged that their report relied on a 2014 study that was conducted by scientists in the pay of e-cigarette companies.
Writing in the respected medical journal The Lancet, health experts warn that PHE had based a ‘major conclusion’ on an ‘extraordinarily flimsy foundation’. It accused the agency of falling short of its mission to protect public health.
Here in the United States, you can take comfort in the fact that most of the tobacco industry’s apologists have found employment elsewhere.
The Center for Media and Democracy reports spinmeister Rick Berman’s outfit has been hired to fight minimum wage increases. And others have found gainful employment refashioning the image of the Koch brothers.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words in IB
While The Donald and his Republican imitators are all but declaring war on Mexico, Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina has been reaching out to his counterpart in Rosarito Beach.
Yesterday the IB Mayor and Rosarito Beach Mayor Silvano Abarca invited the media in for the signing of a Friendship Agreement.
“We don’t believe in walls, but in bridges, in partnerships. We create more opportunities working together”, said Abarca
On This Day: 1885 – White and Chinese immigrants battled in Rock Springs, Wyo., fueled by racial tensions and the practice of Union Pacific Railroad of hiring lower-paid Chinese over whites. At least 25 Chinese died and 15 more were injured. Rioters burned 75 Chinese homes. 1963 – The integration of Tuskegee High School was prevented by state troopers assigned by Alabama Gov. George Wallace. Wallace had the building surrounded by state troopers. 1965 – The Rolling Stones appeared on the British TV show “Ready Steady Go!” Mick Jagger and Andrew Loog Oldham performed a parody of Sonny & Cher’s “I Got You Babe.”
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