Ethical Quote Of The Month: Jonathan Capehart…Big Whoop.

Hands up 3

“Now that black lives matter to everyone, it is imperative that we continue marching for and giving voice to those killed in racially charged incidents at the hands of police and others. But we must never allow ourselves to march under the banner of a false narrative on behalf of someone who would otherwise offend our sense of right and wrong. And when we discover that we have, we must acknowledge it, admit our error and keep on marching. That’s what I’ve done here.”

—— African-American Washington Post blogger and MSNBC contributor Jonathan Capehart in a Post column acknowledging that the “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” chant, hashtag, protest motto and refrain was based on the lies of Dorian Johnson.

This is unusual: a statement embodying ethical principles that arises entirely out of an unethical, unprofessional and untrustworthy world view.

It is a credit to Capehart that he has the integrity to openly admit he was wrong when the facts finally penetrated his biased, bigoted, unethically-motivated brain. He is certainly more admirable than the politicians and journalists of the left and the civil rights movement who still refuse to admit it, like Capehart’s MSNBC colleague and perpetually Angry Progressive Lawrence O’Donnell. It’s good that he apologized, in the sense that it’s better than if he didn’t, but if he were aligned with ethical advocates and advocates, his apology would be unnoticed among thousands of others. Capehart’s ability to process and admit what was, or should have been obvious months ago is not rescued from disgrace because others are even worse.

For the record, Ethics Alarms concluded that “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!” was probably false on November 27, 2014. I don’t usually quote myself at length, but after I read Capehart’s much praised, “Well, gol-ly! Knock me over with a feather! Dorian Johnson was lying, and I used what he said to help the media, Al Sharpton and Eric Holder convince African-Americans that whites are out to kill unarmed black men! Ooopsie! My bad!” column, I gagged, and went back and read this:

How does the culture, the news media, the civil rights  industry, and politicians determined to benefit by making African-Americans suspicious, paranoid, racist and, of course, lifetime Democrats, make amends for this? How do they undo the damage to mutual trust and American society?

Obviously they don’t. They don’t even try. In fact, all indications are that they will refuse to acknowledge that the entire, national effort to portray the tragic confrontation between Michael Brown and Officer Wilson as a race-triggered execution was based on a lie that was presumed to be accurate despite much reason to doubt it.

The original claim that Brown was shot and killed after putting his hands in the air came from his friend and partner in crime, Dorian Johnson. Johnson, who already had a record of lying to police, was with Brown prior to the August 9 confrontation, and had joined him in the petty robbery that occurred just before Brown’s arrest. In his TV interviews  after the shooting, Johnson said that Wilson shot Brown in the back, causing him to turn around with his hands up, pleading, ‘I don’t have a gun, stop shooting!’ Before the grand jury, Johnson, who admitted that he hid during the incident and later ran home to change clothes so he wouldn’t be identified, even elaborated and provided minute details to his fabrication, stating under oath that the shot in his back caused Brown’s body to “do like a jerking movement, not to where it looked like he got hit in his back, but I knew, it maybe could have grazed him, but he definitely made a jerking movement.” The forensic evidence showed that Brown was not shot in the back.

Other witnesses concocted similar testimony demonizing Wilson after hearing the media’s credulous accounts based on Brown’ friend’s claims. One told the FBI that he saw Wilson shoot Brown in the back and then stand over his prone body to “finish him off.” In front of the grand jury, however, this witness acknowledged that he had not seen that part of the shooting. He explained that the false story he told the FBI was “based on me being where I’m from, and that can be the only assumption that I have.”

Sort of like Democrats have to believe such false narratives because the presence of deadly, virulent racism is core to the party’s appeal to African American voters…

Then, he admitted,  he changed his story to fit details of the autopsy once it was reported on TV.  “So it was after you learned that the things you said you saw couldn’t have happened that way, then you changed your story about what you seen?’ a prosecutor asked. “Yeah, to coincide with what really happened,” the witness replied.

Members of the community, activists, anti-police zealots and those who had observed how effective the Trayvon Martin hoodie symbolism had been in casting George Zimmerman as a racist killer (rather than as he was subsequently shown to be, an irresponsible, unbiased jerk) immediately seized on the gesture as a powerful protest symbol. Every time it was repeated in a protest or demonstration, it was Johnson’s lie multiplied, until the narrative that Officer Wilson shot an unarmed, unresisting teenaged black male who was pleading to live was imbedded in the American mind. Of course it was murder! Of course any system that does not immediately charge the rogue police officer with murder is corrupt and flawed.

I have had conversations with well-intentioned liberals in denial,who are obviously unable to think of what occurred in Ferguson any other way. Such frustrating conversations. As in the Martin case, they want the white shooter to be guilty of racism and brutality. The fact that no clear evidence will show that, as the grand jury found out, doesn’t dissuade them, even though they would nod vigorously if activists argued that prosecutors displayed racism by indicting any black suspect when eye-witness testimony was unreliable.

Oh, it is true that their confusion is compounded by not understanding what a grand jury does, or hearing references to the quote that a prosecutor can make a grand jury “indict a ham sandwich” (not recognizing that this was a criticism, or perhaps having no more regard for a young policeman’s life than they do a ham sandwich, because, you know, white cop), and that they have been conditioned to believe from their SDS veteran professors from the Sixties that police officers are not public servants but really diabolical agents of an overbearing state—not that they don’t want an overbearing state in most matters, just not where public safety…okay, it’s complicated!). Still, what most nourishes their fervor now—how I love being told that I am taking my cues from Fox News!—is the indelible image of young, frightened, unarmed Mike Brown, with his hands in the air.

How does Darren Wilson get his career, reputation and life back after a lie is promoted as fact by the media, and ruthlessly used by race-hucksters to destroy him while escalating racial distrust? How does the culture recover from this deep, self-inflicted wound?

It is not the criminal justice system that is so in need of repair, but our system of communicating important events to the public, so that bias doesn’t overwhelm truth, and we will be able to forge the right lessons from tragedies like Michael Browns death, not false lessons that leave us more ignorant, hateful, and afraid.

How was I able to write that four months ago, and Capehart is only capable of comprehending it now? It’s simple, really: I’m not an anti-white bigot, and he is.  I had no horse in this race: I was just trying to weigh the facts. I don’t have a stake, politically, racially or socially, in proving that Mike Brown was just an innocent kid hunted down and shot in the street like a dog, or proving that Office Wilson was a model police officer. Capehart didn’t pay attention to the evidence because it was a white Prosecuting Attorney who produced it, and a black—sorry, thug—who contradicted it, as a black Attorney General behaved and spoke as if he believed the thug.

Now Capehart is a believer, and why? He is a believer because the Justice Department run by that black Attorney General had to grudgingly admit that there were zero facts to support the lie that it desperately, urgently wanted to be true, so Darren Wilson could be crucified to expiate white America’s sins against the black man….and, not so incidentally, gin up black votes for the Democratic base.  Now Capehart trusts the facts, because a black AG, not a white one, endorses them.

Well, to hell with him, frankly. Why are anti-white racists with Capehart’s biases writing for the Washington Post? Must there be a black racist slot on the op-ed page now? I didn’t notice: did Obama’s EEOC pass that regulation? The New York Times has Charles Blow, and so the Post must have at least one too? Is there a black racist pundit arms race?

Who is going to apologize to Darren Wilson? Capehart didn’t do that; after all, Wilson is white. Capehart doesn’t care about whites, but wants to clear the record so future protests against police, Ferguson and white America aren’t weakened by reliance on a lie. Where are the apologies to Robert McCulloch, that presumptively racist Prosecuting Attorney who was able to avoid the lynch mob’s demands that Wilson be tried for murder by running a grand jury that got to see all the evidence for once, the scum. How dare he? Van Jones, who is treated as a respectable, rational pundit on CNN and ABC, told the latter that “If there had been a special prosecutor in Ferguson, we would have had a different result.” And we all know that a different result would be the right thing, meaneth Van. To my knowledge, Van hasn’t apologized either. I’ll lay odds that he won’t. Neither has the former governor of Massachusetts, prominently mentioned as a possible presidential candidate once Democrats finally admit that Hillary is hopeless: Deval Patrick told Meet the Press that he wanted to see Wilson indicted regardless of the facts. Nor Kasim Reed, Mayor of Atlanta, who told Meet the Press that justice meant trying Wilson for murder, based on seeing the case through the eyes of Brown’s parents, the individuals whose confirmation bias most powerfully compelled them to believe the self-serving lies of their baby boy’s pal.

Two police officers are dead, two more have been shot, uncounted whites have been targeted and beaten by angry blacks (the Justice Department hasn’t been interested in the racial implications of those attacks), Ferguson is in ruins, innocent businesses are destroyed, Darren Wilson is in hiding, and racial distrust across the U.S. is worse than it has been in decades, not entirely but substantially because people like Jonathan Capehart wanted to believe Dorian Johnson’s lie, because it fits their ideological, political, social and racial agenda. So they did.

Admitting a wrongdoing—not a mistake, but wrongdoing— is always commendable, but when it comes after such carnage, and so inexcusably late, my applause is going to not only be faint, but suffused with disgust.

______________________
Graphic: Washington Post

 

11 thoughts on “Ethical Quote Of The Month: Jonathan Capehart…Big Whoop.

  1. Jack,
    “.. uncounted whites have been targeted and beaten by angry blacks (the Justice Department hasn’t been interested in the racial implications of those attacks) ..”

    What’s your source on this? The numbers I’ve found seem suspect and am looking for something more definitive.

    • I would point you towards the Justice Department’s own numbers on violence. Routinely, year over year, the vast majority of violence is contained within people’s ethnic groups (90%+-2%), if you are black, that number actually increases to 94%+-2% and if you are white, that number drops to 87%+-2%.

      The take away from that is that per capita, in cases where the race of the perpetrator involved is known, a black person is more likely to be the victim of a black person and a white person is more likely to be the victim of a white person. But also that a white person is more likely to be victimized by a black person than a black person is to be victimized by a white person, even if those likelihoods are the fractional minority, That’s a 7%+-4% spread. it’s significant. It’s consistent.

      And we don’t hear about it from the DOJ.

  2. Jonathan Capehart’s intentions may be commendable, but his apology is anything but an apology. Nowhere does he take full responsibility for the damage he caused by promoting a false narrative, encouraging more racial unrest. On the Apology Scale, I would rank his apology somewhere between a 9 (“Deceitful apologies, in which the wording of the apology is crafted to appear apologetic when it is not.”) or a 10 (“An insincere and dishonest apology designed to allow the wrongdoer to escape accountability cheaply, and to deceive his or her victims into forgiveness and trust, so they are vulnerable to future wrongdoing.”).

    Why? Because at no point does he seek absolution for what he wrote that fueled racial tensions, and he does not, in fact, take any responsibility whatsoever for his biased, prejudicial actions when he promoted the insidious, racially damaging mantra. Furthermore, he does not apologize to Ferguson citizens who had to live in a war zone for three months. Moreover, he does not commend the Prosecution for presenting the case to the grand jury in accordance with state law, and that the grand jury’s decision not indict the officer was justified in light of the facts. Additionally, he does not call out the perpetrators of racial unrest for their insidious actions. He does not criticize Sharpton, Jackson, the members of the Congressional Black Caucus, or his friends at MSNCB, all of whom threw fuel on an inferno. He also does not call the protestors to account for destroying a town struggling for survival because of a false narrative of a racial white cop executing an unarmed black kid. THAT would have shown real contrition.

    Instead of calling for reconciliation, he doubled down and justified racial tensions by asserting that, while the “Hands Up – Don’t Shoot” mantra was erroneous and based on Dorian Johnson’s lie, it was necessary and important to shed light on racial injustice as it has affected and effected the black community. He maintains the unarmed teenager meme (when in fact, Brown was a 6foot, 4 inch 18 year old adult male fully capable of beating the snot out of the police officer with his bare hands, which incidentally Brown did). Capehart also writes,”The unarmed 18-year-old also became a potent symbol of the lack of trust between African Americans and law enforcement. Not just in Ferguson, but in the rest of the country. Lord knows there have been plenty of recent examples. And the militarized response to protesters by local police put an exclamation point on demonstrators’ concerns.” He links to other incidents caught on videotape involving injustice toward black males and police, without any kind of context that the Left loves to utilize. How can the black community have trust in law enforcement when members of that very same community encourage the black community to distrust law enforcement and the judicial system? How can a larger community come to share in a common set of societal values when the members within that community openly reject that society’s values on the basis that those values were/are imposed by history of racism?

    Capehart also focuses on the other DOJ report, released in conjunction with the Brown report, writing, “The report on the Ferguson police department detailed abuse and blatant trampling of the constitutional rights of people, mostly African Americans, in Ferguson. Years of mistreatment by the police, the courts and the municipal government, including evidence that all three balanced their books on the backs of the people of Ferguson, were laid bare in 102 damning pages. The overwhelming data from DOJ provided background and much-needed context for why a small St. Louis suburb most had never heard of exploded the moment Brown was killed. His death gave voice to many who suffered in silence.” He concludes with, “Now that black lives matter to everyone, it is imperative that we continue marching for and giving voice to those killed in racially charged incidents at the hands of police and others.” The insinuation is that, prior to Ferguson, black lives did not matter. That is offensive; that is an apology with a slap across the face. It is also a threat.

    jvb

    • Excellent analysis John, and Jack. It struck me as a completely disingenuous, completely loaded, apology. Like those “I’m sorry if I offended anyone (i.e,, if I didn’t, I’m not sorry, [wink ,wink] since no one should have been offended anyway).

      And how about that Charles Blow guy. Thanks for nailing him for the arrogant jerk he is, Jack.

  3. I think the whole episode is a bitter instruction as to how ideological groupthink has become so endemic in the press that this sort of thing can prosper… even after having been exposed as a lie at its basis. Truth is truth and fact is fact. You strive to discern them from falsehood and carry on from there. The trouble is that far too many “professionals” consider this subordinate to selling a story or pushing an agenda. The press establishment is destroying itself before our eyes. The only question is; will they take the entire country with them into Hell?

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