Suggested Journalism Ethics Rule For The Washington Post: If You Want To Publish Race Hate, Anti-American Op-Ed Pieces,At Least Insist That They Don’t Misrepresent The Facts.

Is that too much to ask?

Sunday last,  the Washington Posts’s Outlook section included an anti-American diatribe against police and whites by a California public defender named Raha Jorjani. I know there are black racists that see the world, law enforcement and government as he does, and there is nothing wrong or irresponsible in the Post allowing such screeds to see the light of day in its pages—all the better to expose them. I would feel better if the equivilent racist bile from the white side was not treated differently, but I tire of pointing out this double standard, at least right now.

But no editor should allow such a piece to include factual distortions on the scale of the opening paragraph, which begins,

Suppose a client walked into my office and told me that police officers in his country had choked a man to death over a petty crime. Suppose he said police fatally shot another man in the back as he ran away. That they arrested a woman during a traffic stop and placed her in jail, where she died three days later. That a 12-year-old boy in his country was shot and killed by the police as he played in the park.

Suppose he told me that all of those victims were from the same ethnic community — a community whose members fear being harmed, tortured or killed by police or prison guards. And that this is true in cities and towns across his nation. At that point, as an immigration lawyer, I’d tell him he had a strong claim for asylum protection under U.S. law.

What if, next, he told me he was from America? Black people in the United States face such racial violence that they could qualify as refugees.

The short and well-earned response to his last sentence is “Bullshit.” Before one can even get to his offensive and absurd (and paranoia-seeding: the lawyer must regard it as good for business) thesis, the utter dishonesty of his premises disqualify the op-ed for serious consideration, as well as raise question about the way this guy would practice law. If that is how he represents facts in court, he won’t be a lawyer long:

Eric Garner was not “choked…to death over a petty crime” by police. Garner died of respiratory trauma from a variety of causes, including his own obesity, when officers over-reacted and applied excessive force when he resisted arrest. There was no showing or reason to believe the officers intended to cause his death, The crime he was being arrested for is completely irrelevant to what was wrong with Garner’s death: his death would have been exactly as unreasonable if the unarmed man had died in the altercation with police after committing a more substantial crime. Nor is there a shred of evidence that the reaction of the officers was related to race.

The description of the incident in the op-ed is intentionally misleading and inflammatory.

Sandra Bland was not arrested because she was black. A bad cop performing a questionable traffic stop reacted legally but unreasonably to her refusal to follow his lawful if superfluous orders. She didn’t just die in her cell—she killed herself. As with Garner, there is no reason to conclude that race was a factor in her arrest, and certainly not in her death.

The description of the incident in the op-ed is intentionally misleading and inflammatory.

Tamir Rice, the  12-year-old boy who was shot and killed by the police as he played in the park, was not shot because he was black, or for playing in the park. Nor was he shot despite the police knowing he was 12. He was shot by a police officer who assumed he was an adult and that he had a gun. Yes, he was playing in the park—with a realistic toy gun that could not be recognized as such from a a distance. Yes he was 12, but within adult dimensions. The officer involved did not follow policy; he had also been misinformed by a dispatcher.

The description of the incident in the op-ed is intentionally misleading and inflammatory.

Later, the essay cites  Trayvon Martin among African Americans who, “had they lived,”could explain that “they had more than a well-founded fear of persecution at the hands of their government or individuals whom their government was unable or unwilling to control.”

FactsMatter, but not to this writer, nor, apparently, his Washington Post editors. Only the agenda matters.

These distortions were offered in service of the op-ed’s thesis, which is that the treatment of American blacks would justify refugee status in the U.S. if an equivalent group was able to site the same treatment in a foreign country. In essence, what the writer is claiming is systematic genocide by whites against African Americans in the U.S in 2015.  It is difficult to express in sufficiently emphatic terms how irresponsible and dishonest this is, how damaging and how completely unjustified by reality.

Jorjani describes the black community as one “whose members fear being harmed, tortured or killed by police or prison guards.” If that is true, it is true because of cynical fear-mongers like the author, usually engaged in the act of “firing up the democratic base” in advance of a closely contested election. Yes, there is fear, which is why so many of the individuals in the publicized shooting incidents thought they had to resist arrest by the kinds of racist monsters portrayed in the media, by BlackLivesMatter propagandists and by unconscionable anti-white, anti-American demagogues like Raha Jorjani. . Police also belong to a group “whose members fear being harmed, tortured or killed”… by black suspects and criminals. They also, quite reasonably, fear being pilloried and destroyed by the activists, the news media, politicians and racists like Jorhani if they defend themselves with force, or try to do their jobs.

For example, a veteran Alabama officer explained over the weekend why he didn’t use his gun when an African American male resisted and became aggressive during a traffic stop. “A lot of officers are being too cautious because of what’s going on in the media,” said the officer, choosing to remain anonymous for the safety of his family. “I hesitated because I didn’t want to be in the media…like I am right now.” He gave the statement from his hospital bed, since the object of his  restraint wrestled the officer’s gun from him and pistol whipped him to the brink of death, as members of Jogani’s terrified community took videos and jeered.

These don’t sound like helpless and oppressed refugees to me. The incident is part of a developing and toxic dynamic that threatens to destroy social order, law enforcement integrity, and racial trust, along with whole communities, families and lives. Articles like Jorjani’s tell half the story while cherry-picking statistics and distorting facts, resulting in the perpetration of  false narratives in the public consciousness. They are designed to foster hate, fear, distrust, anger and racial division.

The Washington Post shouldn’t abet this. It is ethically obligated not to abet this.

If Jorjhani wants to argue that American blacks are being hunted down, imprisoned and killed in state-sponsored, white sanctioned genocide, he should be required to make his case with real facts and events, not misleading “hypotheticals” following black activist “narratives” that he can later deny are meant to describe real incidents.

I regard his op-ed as exactly the equivalent of a white supremacist screed citing some of the same statistics stated differently, spun to make the case that the African American community is violent and criminal, and a danger to law-abiding whites. I very much doubt that the reverse-negative of Jorjhani’s libel on the U.S. would ever be published by the Post, because it has journalistic standards. The ethical misconduct lies in the Post and other news organizations relaxing or ignoring those standards to promote race-baiting and reverse racism. Both have become tools of government in the hands of a Democratic party that believes, perhaps correctly, that it can only get their voters to the polls if it can convince them that they are targets in “wars”: for women, a war that aims to take their rights away and “control women’s bodies;” for blacks, one that wants to take their lives away.

______________________

Pointer: Other Bill

 

 

11 thoughts on “Suggested Journalism Ethics Rule For The Washington Post: If You Want To Publish Race Hate, Anti-American Op-Ed Pieces,At Least Insist That They Don’t Misrepresent The Facts.

  1. Small quibble though:

    “…and reverse racism.”

    I loathe the term “reverse racism”. It’s ALL racism. Reverse racism makes it sound slightly more justifiable as if tit-for-tat weren’t a rationalization.

    • Here is an excellent comment left by CHI-can on the Washington Post article’s comment section.

      Who are the real “victims”? Some facts might help see more clearly.

      In 2012, white males were 38 percent of the population and committed 4,582 murders. That same year, black males were just 6.6 percent of the population but committed a whopping 5,531 murders.

      Oakland, California is about 15 miles north of Raha Jorjani’s office in Alameda County. While blacks in Oakland make up 28 percent of the population, they were “83 percent of the 12,161 suspects in last year’s homicides, attempted homicides, robberies, assaults with firearms and assaults with weapons other than firearms, according to crime suspect data provided by the Oakland Police Department,” writes Chip Johnson of the San Francisco Chronicle.

      These crimes stats come from “descriptions provided by crime victims and witnesses,” as Johnson writes:

      – 8,228 of the 9,491 robbery suspects last year were described as African American.

      — 844 of the 1,091 firearms assault suspects were described as African American.

      — 1,034 of 1,439 people suspected in assaults with weapons other than firearms were said to be African American.

      — 27 of the 32 suspects arrested last year for homicides were African American.

      — 41 of 79 suspects in unsolved homicides last year were described as African American. Thirty were listed as “unknown” race or ethnicity.

      • Clearly, the solution to this problem is to loosen the laws making all these things illegal. Do you really want to deprive all these “suspects'” families of their husbands and fathers and sons? You must be a lobbyist for the prison industrial complex. The problem lies with the judicial system. Hands up. Don’t shoot.

  2. If Jorjhani wants to argue that American blacks are being hunted down, imprisoned and killed in state-sponsored, white sanctioned genocide, he should be required to make his case with real facts and events, not misleading “hypotheticals” following black activist “narratives” that he can later deny are meant to describe real incidents.

    Jorjhani’s statement is easily refuted by Attorney General Kamala Harris.

    She said “Local law enforcement must be able to use their discretion to determine who can carry a concealed weapon”.

    If Jorjhani was correct, then we would not be able to trust local law enforcement to “be able to use their discretion to determine who can carry a concealed weapon”. But Harris is the Attorney General of California, which makes her an expert on law enforcement matters. By virtue of her expertise, she is not wrong. Who is this Jorjhani person to contradict her?

  3. Thanks for taking this piece on, Jack. I couldn’t believe it when I read it. I can’t believe it got past the editors. Maybe they don’t have any editors anymore?

  4. Don’t any of these people know, directly or in their village, anyone working in law enforcement? We had a cop living in my small neighborhood when I was a kid and a coworker’s son is a cop. There are bad apples in many barrels by spring, but that doesn’t mean every barrel must be dumped. This ranting that ALL are bad is a demented tit for tat. I want to gear some real ideas or solutions instead of this shouting and handwaving and refusal to DO something useful. Their incessant shouting is going to make any valid proposals dismissable because they won’t move on to some concrete improving action. I think it’s because they have no good ideas other than a wish to stop all law enforcement. What is their endgame if they got what they wanted? Places without a civilian police force seem to get under martial law, which is far more harsh.

    Have they thought about this, or are they feeding off the mob hysteria? (I’m sure they haven’t, because they really don’t want their cars or identities stolen, houses broken into, and kids taken) I’ve heard no ideas of how to replace the problems with something better. Without some thought and changes, replacements could be as much or more corrupted. Think ahead, people.

  5. I can’t believe this only just now occurred to me: Jack, have you considered submitting your own articles to newspapers to help set multiple records straight? I’d be interested to see what happens.

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