Archive for injustice

Webcams vs. TV news aka Real News vs. Speculative Blather

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There's a fascinating article about the recent crisis in Ferguson, Missouri in today's Los Angeles Times... in the Calendar section of all places. It compares and contrasts webcams points of view and TV news coverage of identical events. Per the author of the article, Robert Lloyd, "The news is by necessity, even by definition, exclusionary. But by triple-underlining the most notable or exciting aspects of a story — the "dramatic" elements..." it decides things for the viewer.

In other words, a stationary camera allows the onlooker to scrutinize details and activities beyond the flashy headlines.

TV news runs and reruns the most memorable or sensational clips ad nauseam, while webcams capture reality as it unfolds, impartially, albeit limited by its angle and vantage point. Details become focal points, if the audience is patient enough to notice them.

Sometimes the camera looked up the street and sometimes it looked down, but in either case it sat and looked. [...] Obviously, if you want to understand what's been happening in Ferguson, you need more than a Web stream. But it offers another way of looking at things and, in some ways, a more profound one.

The news is by necessity, even by definition, exclusionary. But by triple-underlining the most notable or exciting aspects of a story — the "dramatic" elements — the media also deform the reality they report upon...

Regular readers know that one of my pet peeves is media coverage, with all the endless speculation and misinformation out there, often just to boost ratings. And don't get me started on empty time-filling convos. Robert Lloyd pointed out a mutual gripe-- mind reading:

TV news cuts things up, cuts away and litters the screen with boxes and text and throws up a wall of speculating talking heads to clot the air with opinion, speculation and mind-reading.

Wolf Blitzer to Jake Tapper, on CNN, outside Brown's funeral: "I'm sure the Brown family is pleased that three officials from the White House have decided to attend this funeral today, right?"

Tapper: "I'm sure they are."

He went on to describe the contrast between Michael Brown's funeral service as depicted in select TV clips vs. observing the ceremony in real time from beginning to end, followed by a constant and objective video feed following mourners to the cemetery, including the surroundings. It can be more enlightening to watch the tedious but unblinking coverage by webcams than dramatic cable news sound bites that interpret developments for us.

As Lloyd put it, webcams continued to record what happened after the funeral: "Life went on." But we'll never see footage of that on TV.

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Cliff Notes: "NRA only worried about the civil rights of white people." #Ferguson

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My dear friend and mentor, Cliff Schecter, has a new post up; Cliff has given me permission to share his work with you, so I’ll give you the latest edition of what I call Cliff Notes.

He skewers better than a chef at Smokey Joe’s BBQ. He’s sharper than the point on Sarah Palin’s pin head.

Here are a few excerpts from his latest, with permission. Please read the whole thing, because he has way more than I’ve included here. Kudos are in order; MSNBC's Alex Wagner gave Cliff and this article a shout out and some well-deserved attention. It's about the hypocrisy of the NRA and their apparent disdain for the civil rights of Ferguson residents. Well, some of them, anyway.

Here are a few bits and pieces, bu please link over for the entire post:

The National Rifle Association has been warning us about the threat of a heavily-armed and dangerous government crushing dissent for decades.  [...]

Their dystopian nightmare sounds exactly like what’s happening in Ferguson, Missouri.

Yet somehow, the NRA seems to have missed the whole thing with the SWAT teams and the tank-like vehicles and the snipers and the LRAD sound cannon and the tear gas and the rubber bullets being trained on unarmed Americans. [...]

If I were suspicious of their motives--and I am--I might point out that when I visited their 9 acres of militarized gun-fun also known as their convention in Indianapolis, I saw fewer black faces than in your average episode of The Dukes of Hazzard. I'd also point out that LaPierre blows just about every tune he knows on his dog whistle, when warning his membership of the horrors confronting them during this period when violent crime has fallen to its lowest level in a generation [...]

The National Rifle Association often claims it is "America's longest standing civil rights organization" but apparently these minor issues were more important than the murder of an unarmed teen by a policeman, and the subsequent attacks by a militarized force on unarmed Americans in a U.S. city. It is the exact nightmare the NRA has been predicting. And yet, the NRA professes no kinship for those being crushed beneath the jackboots. It seems the NRA is only worried about the civil rights of white people.

Please read the entire post at The Daily Beast, here.

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"You can’t go shoot someone already down.” + ENTIRE VIDEO of autopsy presser #Ferguson

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Ferguson Michael Brown autopsy shoot downImage via L.A. Times

The headline above, "You can't go shoot someone already down," comes from Nicole Tinson, a 23-year-old Yale Divinity School graduate student. However, her statement wasn't about Michael Brown's horrific death at the hands of a Ferguson, Missouri police officer. It was about Ezell Ford, another young African American man who was gunned down by an LAPD officer. Via an L.A. Times article about hundreds who rallied for Ford over the weekend:

Ford’s killing has been compared with that of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager killed by police Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo., whose death has attracted national attention.

This morning on MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell interviewed Missouri State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D). She quoted a young male Ferguson resident, also African American, who in two sentences expressed feelings of betrayal, fear, anger, resentment, pain, and disenfranchisement felt by so many others:

"I don't mind giving up my life right now. It's amazing I made it to twenty-one."

People want charges brought. People want decency and justice. People are hurting.

This morning, a private, preliminary autopsy report was released.

L.A. Times:

A preliminary autopsy commissioned by the family of Michael Brown suggests that there was no sign of a struggle in his death, and that all but one of at least six gunshot wounds in his body were likely survivable, according to Dr. Michael Baden, a renowned New York forensic pathologist who performed a private autopsy after a Ferguson, Mo., police officer killed the unarmed, black 18-year-old.

Baden said in his preliminary autopsy that he believes Brown would not have been able to survive the bullet that hit at the top of his head and traveled through his brain.

Baden said that Brown would have survived had that last gun shot not been fired into the top of his head. There were four bullets to the arm, two to the head, according to the preliminary report.

There was no reason to shoot Michael Brown in the head after having disabled him with at least four other bullets, based on what we know.

Via Gawker, Cops in Ferguson Threaten to Shoot Reporter, Mace Chris Hayes:

Also threatened by police Sunday night was MSNBC's Chris Hayes, who was filming when police told him, "Media do not pass us, you're getting maced next time you pass us."

Video at the link. Per Hayes, today the curfew has been lifted.

Sunday's Los Angeles Times has a regular feature in their Calendar section called "Underrated, Overrated." There is no link to this, but here it is, verbatim:

Overrated

The year 2014: Amid a summer filled with a bad action movie's worth of global crises that include a drought, an ebola outbreak and too many reports of war and violence to count, this year has seen a disproportionate loss of creative spirits, including Charlie Haden, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Maya Angelou and now Robin Williams. If no one minds, how about we just fast forward to New Year's Eve and get this over with?

It's nearly too much to bear. But that doesn't matter, because despite how tough this is, we have to right the enormous wrongs. We have to look beneath the surface to understand that there's way more to this than these two appalling incidents. We have to educate ourselves and each other-- are you listening, news media?-- so that we can prevent further excruciating episodes, defuse the senseless discrimination and socioeconomic bombs that will continue to go off if we don't.

Chaos is not the answer. Listening, understanding, behavior modification, enforcing and respecting civil rights, finally doing something to effectively improve economic disparity, and practicing mutual respect is a start.

Just do something. The injustice, persistent anguish, and gaping wounds must not be tolerated. We're supposed to be better than this.

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No, Krystal Ball, Hillary is Not Nor Will She Be, the Dems "Mitt Romney"

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Clinton Cynicism is alive and well. For good and for ill.

Krystal Ball, co-host of the younger set's MSNBC afternoon program The Cycle, famously took a pundit shot at Hillary Clinton a week or so ago. Krystal is an interesting newer voice, having run for Congress in Virginia and being a bright and informed young mother herself.

Since she's subbing for Steve Kornacki on Up with Steve Kornacki (also a former Cyclist), she took the opportunity this Sunday morning to make her asserted -- and controversial -- case that Hillary could be the Dems 'Mitt Romney'. Provocative words, those.

"I haven't seen change I can believe in just yet," she said with a smile as she introduced the panel of guests there to prove her wrong. ['Hillaromney' was the MSNBC snark effort graphic.]

Basil Smilke, Jr. of Columbia University took the first turn at bat. He believes we should be focussed on, and in a markedly different way more than just the way that the New GOP does things. That we might want to keep an eye on the important and fundamental issues the people are dying to have taken up.

Literally. He mentioned healthcare, education, jobs ... other panelists chimed in with minimum wage and gay rights.

Neera Tanden, another young activist voice of note, took the NAFTA question and put it where it ought to be - in Bill Clinton's Column. She pointed out that women's issues, like Senator Gillibrand's pivotal bill to help the sexual assault and violence epidemic in the military … and pointed out issues that mean something to us in real ways. That demand policy reforms.

Krystal then mentioned both Goldman Sachs and Walmart histories, which is fair for progressives to do. But this isn't the 1990's, and politicians have to be allowed to evolve - we as voters do, it's damned hypocritical to judge others for making the very important cultural and societal changes we are constantly demanding of ourselves and others.

No progressive that I know doesn't have perfectly reasonable hesitations about Hillary Clinton, and I think we should absolutely be Loud and Proud Progressives and voice our need for the party to swing back Left. How we get there is going to get dramatic. Or Not.

Guest Blake Zeff, of Salon and both Clinton and Obama Campaign War Rooms, was justifiably tough on the HRC economic hawk stances. (He had seen into both camps, fascinating.) Yet they went on to discuss how the Right is drawing Dems to the right of their own interests.

Bill Maher went after Hillary (hilariously) for having discussed her Sunday School days on Campaign Launch slash Book Tour ... and for awkwardly gaming out the Christian Nation faux requirement of religiousity.

It would be ideal if candidates did not 'must need' to be both churchgoing and Bible or Talmud familiar. In fact, it's downright toxic in many progressive eyes to know passages of the Bible, because they are so often used against us to push culture back by the Regressive Asshattery, the 1%ers and their news channel, Fvx Noise.

Inequality needs to be the central Democratic Platform anchor again. Firmly. Income inequality, gender discrimination, immigration reform, LGBTQ rights, world power and food share imbalances - the things we care about, the things we fight for.

"Hard Choices" indeed. Chris Christie and Rand Paul and Rick Perry are such lovely alternatives to a Hillary or Elizabeth Warren run.

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