December 3, 2014

Is Joe Scarborough being intentionally stupid or does it come naturally? After his Monday rant about "the lie" of hands up, don't shoot, he took to Politico to answer his critics.

He begins with a history of the civil rights movement and notes that 50 years later Barack Obama is President of the United States and Eric Holder is Attorney General. Therefore, he concludes, we must surely be living in post-racial times.

Except for that pesky problem of unequal treatment by police, which even denialist JScar is forced to admit.

Despite the remarkable progress made over the past generation, America's criminal justice system still treats black Americans worse than it treats white Americans. That is the reality in the streets, in courtrooms, and in prison. This tragic reality has been the excuse given by some for violent protests in Ferguson, Missouri and for other marches across America. And while this is a conversation worthy of heated debate, the spectacle that has unfolded on TV screens since August has poorly served those who want to remove the stench of discrimination from our criminal justice system.

Wait, so it's a reality that injustice -- grave injustice, even -- exists but please don't dirty up our wide screen televisions by putting it in our face? Am I reading that right? On the one hand it's reality and on the other, it's an "excuse."

Maybe it's just that Joe doesn't get it. Here are some clues for him.

Mike Brown is dead and Darren Wilson is alive.

Tamir Rice is dead and the rookie cop who shot him is alive.

Kajieme Powell is dead and the cop who shot him is alive.

John Crawford is dead and the cop who shot him is alive.

Vonderrit Myers is dead and the cop who shot him is alive.

Not only are these young men dead and the cops alive, but there are no consequences to the cops for shooting them. When Joe Scarborough writes this...

The latest chapter in this made-for-cable-news cultural drama unfolded in a football stadium this weekend when five St. Louis Rams players held up their arms in an attempt to show solidarity with the growing "Hands up, don't shoot" movement that grew out of the Michael Brown case. The same gesture was made by members of the U.S. House this week. That is a shame. Actually, it is offensive because the gesture suggests that a police officer pointed a gun and shot a black man whose arms were in the air while he said "hands up, don't shoot."

...he willfully ignores the fact that Mike Brown wasn't the only young black man to be shot by a cop in this country. He willfully ignores that cops routinely lie and change their stories about what it is that brought them to the point where they drew their weapon and ended those young men's lives. He willfully ignores Darren Wilson's fanciful testimony, including the part where he cannot even bring himself to admit that in his eyes, Mike Brown was not a person, but an "it" who "looked like a demon."

He willfully fails to understand that the "hands up, don't shoot" gesture is intended to send a message to observers that says people of color are sick and tired of their young men being shot and killed because white cops are afraid of them.

Scarborough isn't much different than those cops. He points to the fact of Barack Obama's presidency as some kind of racial progress while ignoring the fact that racial barriers have driven Republicans to block every single thing he's tried to do. He pretends that merely electing someone to high office somehow means we've overcome the daily horror and mayhem in the streets.

If Joe Scarborough wants to trade in facts rather than lies, where is his outrage about a prosecutor intentionally misleading the Grand Jury about the laws concerning when an officer can, and cannot shoot?

The title of JScar's article is "Truth trumps hype in Ferguson." Scarborough accepts Darren Wilson's unchallenged testimony as fact, he picks and chooses the witnesses he will believe, and he pretends Grand Jury proceedings are something like a trial when they're not even close to such a thing. And yet we're supposed to accept that he is a reliable arbiter of fact over hype? I don't think so.

The only hype here is Joe Scarborough's inflated notion of his own importance to this debate. Until he can grasp the meaning of the "hands up, don't shoot" symbolism, which is about the unending parade of dead young men at the hands of white police officers, he's irrelevant.

Can you help us out?

For 18 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.