The anti-police propaganda spreading the lie that most police are racist and brutal and therefore a greater threat to society than a benefit has become like the nine-headed Hydra of Greek mythology: nearly impossible to kill. Prime among the villains in this development are the news media, which has enthusiastically spread misinformation while refusing to do its job of clarifying facts rather than distorting them, and researchers and academics, who have become so cowed by the abusive hyper-ideological environment in which they work that they won’t even stand behind their own studies. As discussed here, after a peer-reviewed study showing that the race of the officer or the civilian could not predict fatal police shootings was used by defenders of police and critics of Black Lives Matte, the researchers were pressured into retracting their paper because it was being, they said, misused.
I know I’m sounding uncharacteristically frustrated this weekend, but I really don’t know how society fights deliberate disinformation in support of a destructive narrative when both the journalism sector and the academic establishment are in on the fix.
Here is a representative example from The New Yorker. The current edition includes a 5,000 word essay by Jill Lepore, who should be trustworthy: she is a professor of American history at Harvard as well as frequent writer at The New Yorker and for other presumably legitimate publications. Her topic is the history of policing in the United States, linking the early role of police in suppressing slave rebellions to police killings of blacks today. At one point she writes,
One study suggests that two-thirds of Americans between the ages of fifteen and thirty-four who were treated in emergency rooms suffered from injuries inflicted by police and security guards, about as many people as the number of pedestrians injured by motor vehicles.
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