Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Who Framed Ferguson, Missouri?




Much has been made of the poverty in Ferguson as the mitigating factor in the violence, linking the suburban city's violence to its failed economy, and in turn Obama economic policies.  While Ferguson is below the state and national average in per capita income, it is not as bad as  Carbondale, Illinois, which is a predominantly white community also in the greater St. Louis metropolitan area.  Unemployment rate is not the only figure one should consider, Lou Dobbs, as 48 per cent of Carbondale residents live below the poverty line, whereas only 22 per cent of Ferguson residents do.

It just shows how you can pick and choose statistics to suit your argument.  For Fox pundits, it is convenient to look at the Ferguson protesters as a lazy, jobless lot, more interested in looting than in expressing their First Amendment rights.  During the most recent protests, this is what Fox News has predominantly focused on, essentially shaming Ferguson residents.  It allows Fox to avoid the questions that concern Darren Wilson's testimony, and continue to treat Michael Brown as a "thug," and product of a dysfunctional society.

As protests spread, and were reflected in NFL Sunday, Fox news pundits went into overdrive trying to diminish the impact of the public outcry.  Even Sir Charles Barkley, one of the most eminent sports broadcasters, came out in support of the grand jury decision and said that it was time for Ferguson residents to move on.   He also admonished the looters as scumbags.

Since then, other prominent Black figures have similarly chastised Ferguson for its protests.  Notably, Dr. Ben Carson, who blames the unrest on Feminists, saying the lack of "father figures" is partially to blame for this incident.  It doesn't seem to matter that Michael Brown has a father, actually two fathers, who have been at the forefront of the protests along with his mother.  Here are his parents on Charlie Rose.

Michael Brown doesn't exactly fit the image of a thug or his parents that of a dysfunctional family.  From most indications, he had a supportive family and was scheduled to attend technical college this fall before being gunned down.  There is that nasty bit of video tape, which shows him strong arming a shop clerk over a box of cigarillos, which has become the single defining moment of his "character" in the conservative press, and also Darren Wilson's testimony.

Not only has Michael Brown been racially stereotyped, or profiled if you will, but so too has Ferguson.  In the conservative mind, the suburban St. Louis community is emblematic of all that is wrong in the nation, especially in regard to "Obamanomics," and the perceived lack of respect for law and order among youth, particularly Black youth.  It has even led to photoshopped memes that have been widely distributed through the social network.

Once again we see a narrative being set that contradicts the reality on the street.  It is amazing in this age of high speed Internet that news networks like Fox, and to a somewhat lesser degree CNN, can get away with setting the narrative to suit their viewing audience.  You would think viewers would be circumspect, given the number of times these news channels have been "punked," but apparently not.


12 comments:

  1. The news media does much to frame a narrative by the way it chooses what to report and how much emphasis to give to what aspects. On the day after the night of violence in the streets following the grand jury decision, a group of Ferguson citizens went to work busily preparing Thanksgiving turkey baskets for distribution to the poor and less fortunate.

    I applaud NBC News for reporting that even if was a side anecdote that would gone unmentioned but for the ugly side that TV viewers tuned in get more of. This says a lot more about the larger society than one community many of us had never heard until last August.

    Craig

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  2. Yep. Too many persons were quick to cast judgement on this city in the wake of the protests without making any attempt to understand the situation, much less the people involved. What upsets me the most is the way Ferguson has been portrayed as a "failed city" because it has chosen to stand up to years of documented police discrimination.

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    1. Many have been quick to cast judgment on police as well. The composition of mindsets is unfortunately too often one of knee jerk reactions. Citizens need to better understand the complexities of police work no less than police need to understand the communities they serve. They both are Ferguson.

      Craig

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  3. True, but in the wake of the lack of an indictment in New York over what appeared to be a very flagrant case of police brutality caught on video, there is a lack of accountability in police depts. across the country. If you want to establish trust with the community you have to discipline rogue officers within the ranks, as Albuquerque did,

    http://krqe.com/2014/12/01/officer-jeremy-dear-terminated-from-apd/

    However, firing such officers isn't enough.

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  4. I don’t know if you heard about the incident in Denver on Wednesday when four police officers on bicycles were hit by a car. Three of the officers sustained minor injuries. The fourth had to undergo surgery and remains in critical condition.

    The officers were escorting a group of East High School students joining the nationwide outpouring of condemnation over Ferguson. Some police present have testified that when the officers were hit, some students began cheering and a few chanted, “hit him again.’ The surveillance video showing the accident can’t confirm student reaction as reported in a Denver Police Officer’s Union in its report.

    Keep in mind that these were high school students who seemed to be playing to the news cameras from the Denver TV stations. Newsreel footage suggested to me somewhat of a party atmosphere as they marched to the state capitol. Maybe after two days, some of the more enthusiastic protestors are in a more reflective and subdued state of mind.

    Craig

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    1. No, Craig, I didn't hear about this. It is unfortunate when protests play out like this, but in the wake of the Brown and Garner decisions it is not surprising to see anger being vented on police forces around the country.

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  5. This is how the Minutemen dealt with law enforcers back in the day:


    https://www.awesomestories.com/images/user/1222111508.95.gif


    Beatings, tar-and-feather, then the hanging tree. This after burning how his house and that of the judges who signed any warrants.

    People today fail to understand that the Founders created the 2d Amendment to protect the citizenry from tyrannical government. It is said by some that Jefferson believed "when the people fear government there is tyranny - when government fears the people, there is liberty". This statement has never been historically confirmed but it does tell us something to consider today. The only reason why rallies in Ferguson and in other cities fail is because the people who march in them are unarmed unlike the marching done by Tea Baggers and in Nevada in defense of white supremacist Cliven Bundy. The solution to all these police crimes is an armed citizenry with police who murdered innocents given precisely the same treatment shown in that painting. It is, after all, justice according to our Founding Fathers.

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  6. The second amendment was only referring to outside "tyrannical forces" like Great Britain, France and Spain, not the nascent US government. I don't see how armed protesters will help. The Civil Rights Movement is an excellent example of how peaceful demonstrations work, especially in the face of overzealous cops and National Guard. Seeing an armed insurrection, like we almost saw in Nevada, played out on television would only confirm most Americans' worst fears, not allay them.

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  7. Danny Glover said the 2d Amendment was designed to preserve slavery and to guard against Native American uprisings.

    But the historical record shows it was designed to protect a free state's liberty which is a reference to government intrusion rather than foreign invasion. Madison wrote in the Federalist Papers that "governments are afraid to trust people with arms" (#26). Jefferson regarded standing armies as threats to liberty so that gun rights were intended to guarantee against its loss. When threatened with foreign invasion, Congress may raise an army and a navy (Art 1, Sec 8, Clauses 12-14). In my recent reading of Patrick Henry's bio, there were numerous references to contemporary criticism of militias as inefficient against foreign invaders. This is why our Founders referred unified forces to repel them and local militias as the principle defense against domestic enemies (I know it sounds kinda funny to view government as tyrannical enemy but there are enough historical references which prove that this view was very real back then).


    Armed protesters helped quite effectively in Nevada. And they helped the New Black Panthers in Houston against police harassment. Interestingly, the Oath Keepers said they were going to take up arms to protect people against abusive government in Ferguson but they chickened out. What a shame.

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  8. You won’t find a more ardent defender of the right to dissent than myself. That right covers both those demonstrating against the grand jury decision in Ferguson and those who hold other views. Overall, it makes for a more balanced discussion and that’s the strength of free speech in our society.

    On Saturday evening in Boulder, University of Colorado students opposed to the decision were holding an organized rally on the mall. I was in the area and saw the marchers on the sidewalk as I waited behind the wheel for the traffic light to change at an intersection. As I drove on, I saw a sign held up that read “GOOD COPS KILL BAD COPS.”

    I wondered what message the sign was meant to convey. I don’t make too much of it, knowing how over the top rhetoric seems to be how we prefer to talk politics. The power of effective understatement sadly seems to be a dying art in America, at least when a highly charged emotional issue has the populace consumed. But overall the demonstration was peaceful and without ugly incident.

    Craig

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  9. There are always going to be placards like that and God knows the media loves them. No "Death to America" rally in the Middle East goes uncovered. I often think the media stages tthem. We feed off this like football teams feed off bad press.

    Sadly, news today has developed into a "reality show" mentality and doesn't promote honest discussion. It prefers to stir emotions. This is what drives ratings numbers, not "effective understatement."

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  10. Police agent provocateur caught red handed:

    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Undercover-cops-outed-attacked-at-Oakland-5951011.php


    Note how the other cop wears a face mask to disguise his identity. This is precisely what happened in Ferguson when I watched online as a masked man dropped a flammable object into a car and ran away into the crowd as it ignited.

    Whether anyone wants to believe it or not, all the violence we see in Ferguson, NYC, and California has all been orchestrated by police agent provocateurs as in the days of COINTELPRO.

    It is time for the people to disarm the police and to arm fully themselves in accordance with the 2d Amendment and to take control of the government.

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