The New York Times has reacted with predictable umbrage to any suggestion that the media deluge on the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases had anything to do with the murder of the two policemen in Brooklyn.
Mr. [Bill] de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton, who stood together on Monday afternoon, tried their best to respond to rage with reason.
Mr. Bratton had chosen his words poorly earlier in the day, in a morning TV interview, saying that “the targeting of these two police officers was a direct spinoff of this issue of these demonstrations.” He should have made clear that the only one responsible for the killings is the killer, Ismaaiyl Brinsley. Mr. Bratton’s 35,000 officers, in whom Mr. Lynch has been trying mightily to stoke a sense of grievance and victimhood, need to hear from him that this administration fully supports the police, and that gestures of contempt — like turning their backs on the mayor — are out of place. [my emphasis]
It’s a strange argument, especially coming from the certifiably left — that Mr. Brinsley acted in a complete vacuum, that his cultural surroundings played no role. It didn’t matter that there were protest marches chanting “What do we want? Dead cops!” (ignored by Al Sharpton). It didn’t matter that all the statements and actions by Obama, Holder, and de Blasio supported the protesters and blamed the police for the “climate of distrust” in Black communities.
In general, the left loves arguments that culture is important. They have no problem attributing the behavior of police officers killing Blacks, the performance of Black schoolchildren, Black criminality and every other pathology to a poisonous racism that pervades White society. Discussion of genetic influences are off limits, and unfortunately there are no cultural/environmental cures for low IQ. Black children are therefore not responsible for academic failure and we have to be understanding about the levels of criminality among Blacks.
And when Jared Loughner shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffors in 2011, the media immediately lined Loughner to a “climate of hate,” including an attempt to link Jared Taylor to Loughner. Culture matters, and, whereas the links between Loughner and AmRen or even Sarah Palin and the Tea Party proved illusory, Brinsley’s actions occurred in a context where the narrative that White racism is the cause of all the problems of underclass Blacks was being spewed from the the most elite media and political figures.
The left has always seen control of the culture as a critical goal because they are well aware that attitudes and behavior are indeed influenced by culture. Purging media figures who stray away from political correctness is high on their list of priorities, from Pat Buchanan getting fired at MSNBC to eliminating voices critical of Israel or Jewish power — people like Rick Sanchez, Helen Thomas, and M. J. Rosenberg. They have left no stone unturned in ferreting out dissent on racial issues and on whether a non-White America is a good thing for Whites. Dissenting views on race are banned from the mainstream media because the left correctly fears that exposure would grant legitimacy, and Whites would gravitate to attitudes that are in line with their interests rather than the interests of the hostile elites who run the media. They avoid any hint that intelligent, well-spoken people oppose immigration and White dispossession in favor of the putting out the image that such Whites are uneducated and morally defective.
Their belief in the power of culture explains why the school curriculum from kindergarten through the university is all about inculcating White guilt — the culture of the holocaust and tendentious readings of the American past. The culture of the left looks with great approval on the zombie, self-hating social activists that emerge from this indoctrination, eager to carry out the wisdom of their college professors and cleanse themselves of White guilt.
Culture is important. Obviously, it’s not the only influence on behavior, as hundreds of behavior genetic studies show. But media—all media—has the potential to affect the attitudes and behavior of its audience. That’s why we at TOO keep plugging away despite the intensive policing process whereby our ideas are kept from possibly coming into contact with the vast audiences of the mainstream media. Liberal media figure Jonathan Chait notes that
the world of popular culture increasingly reflects a shared reality in which the Republican Party is either absent or anathema. … When Joe Biden endorsed gay marriage in May, he cited [the television show] Will & Grace as the single-most important driving force in transforming public opinion on the subject. In so doing he actually confirmed the long-standing fear of conservatives—that a coterie of Hollywood elites had undertaken an invidious and utterly successful propaganda campaign, and had transmuted the cultural majority into a minority. Set aside the substance of the matter and consider the process of it—that is, think of it from the conservative point of view, if you don’t happen to be one. Imagine that large chunks of your entertainment mocked your values and even transformed once-uncontroversial beliefs of yours into a kind of bigotry that might be greeted with revulsion.
You’d probably be angry, too. (“The vast left-wing conspiracy is on your screen”)
Chait summarizes a number of studies showing the influence of the media (my comment here). But now, when a Black thug acts out on all the hatred he was doubtless drinking in on TV, suddenly the wider context of his actions are irrelevant. The media may be important for shaping attitudes on gay marriage, but the New York Times absolves itself, de Blasio, Sharpton, Obama, Holder and the rest as having no influence. Brinsley acted alone.
And besides he was probably crazy.
The argument from mental instability seems to be getting quite a bit of traction these days. It’s really just a way of excusing behavior as the result of individual pathology, unrelated to wider culture. When the BBC reported on a recent spate of attacks by Muslims in France, it avoided any mention that the attackers were Muslim despite two of them shouting “God is great” in Arabic, including the driver of a van in Nantes in which ten people were wounded and one was clinically dead. Nevertheless,
French officials say the motive behind the attack is not clear.
“I wouldn’t say it was a terrorist attack. I would call it a deliberate act,” French interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said, adding that an investigation was underway.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the attacker in Nantes seemed to be “unbalanced”.
The driver was arrested after targeting pedestrians in five different parts of the city in the space of half an hour.
The city’s prosecutor said the attacker had a long history of mental illness, and the incident was not linked to terrorism.
It’s not at all surprising that people who are “unbalanced” may commit crimes, but neither is it surprising that unbalanced people are prone to messages of hatred toward the native French put out by some in the Muslim community. (And if one makes the argument that such people are a small minority of the Muslims invading Europe, such attacks [along with rape gangs in the U.K. and much else] are an unnecessary and unacceptable cost of immigration.)
The same goes for Brinsley. Obviously, he’s not typical of young Black men because otherwise such shootings would be rife. But the media and the liberal political figures who put all the blame on the police are indeed responsible for his actions. They painted Blacks as nothing more than victims of White racism, despite there being no evidence that racial prejudice had anything to do with it, thereby ignoring Michael Brown’s violent, life-endangering actions toward Darren Wilson, and despite Eric Garner’s medical condition that resulted in death under conditions that would not have killed a normally healthy man of his age.
The media and the liberal political class do indeed have blood on their hands.