Saturday, October 17, 2020

The Erickson Report for October 14 to 27, Page 5: Two Weeks of Stupid - the Outrages

And now we move on the the Outrages.

First, two former health officials have revealed that back in March, Vice President Mike NotWorthAFarthing ordered CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield to use the agency's emergency powers to effectively seal the US borders. Pence was overruling agency scientists who said there was no valid public health reason to issue the order and no evidence the action would slow the spread of the coronavirus. Which it hasn't.

Dr. Redfield, showing the spunk and spine for which he has been so notable, immediately capitulated and ordered his senior staff to get it done.

Until then, public health experts had urged the administration to focus on a national mask mandate, enforce social distancing, and increase the number of contact tracers to track down people exposed to the virus but the hammer came down and the message was "screw all that, seal the borders."

Why? Because while the CDC’s order covered the border with Canada, it has mostly affected the thousands of asylum seekers and immigrants arriving at the border with Mexico.

That is, this has nothing to do with public health and everything to do with blocking immigration. Indeed, the chief proponent of closing the borders was Stephen Miller, a top Tweetie-pie aide and notorious xenophobic bigot, who knew the order could be used to kick asylum seekers and immigrants out of the country with no due process.

And it has. Since the order went into effect on March 20, nearly 150,000 people - including at least 8,800 unaccompanied children who are normally afforded special legal protections under federal law - have been sent back to their countries of origin without normal due process. Many have been returned to dangerous and violent conditions in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, declared that “This is what the Trump administration has been trying to do for four years and they finally saw a window.”

A window they are keeping open: The order was supposed to be a month-long temporary measure, but has been renewed multiple times.

And the administration of course lied about it, claiming it was all about protecting Customs and Border Patrol agents, as NotWorthAFarthing claimed he had nothing to do with it and Tweetie-pie blathered that the order had originated at the CDC.

Dr. Josh Sharfstein, a former FDA deputy commissioner and a Johns Hopkins professor, said of Redfield "I don’t know how he could look another CDC scientist in the eye after doing this."

Hell, I don't know how anyone in that administration could look any honest person in the eye. But they do. Because they are a cabal of moral monsters and crawling cowards.

They are, collectively, an Outrage.


Our other Outrage is a repeat offender: it's our mainstream news media, by which we are malinformed, misinformed, and uninformed.

Understand, this is not the product of some conspiracy; the media does not have weekly phone calls to get their marching orders as to what will be covered and how. It is, rather, the product of a common mind-set, a common, almost universal way of thinking that leads to groupthink, to so-called pack journalism where everyone winds up pursuing the same story because, after all, everyone else is, a mind-set favors the powerful over the weak and "official" sources over unofficial ones, one that is jealous of protecting their "access," which becomes all important to them, and never forgets that they are in a business and drama makes for ratings. "If it bleeds, it leads" is not obsolete guidance.

The last point leads to examples like this:

After a grand jury declined to indict three white police officers in the death of Breonna Taylor, protest broke out in Louisville.

One night, 28 people were arrested, at least some of them as soon as a 9 p.m. curfew went into effect.

Now quoting a report from ABC News:

Just before the curfew started, orders were given for protesters to clear out of a park in downtown. Many protesters left, but a group sought sanctuary at a nearby First Unitarian Church.

Just before midnight, according to police, a small group of people left the church and began causing destruction in the area. Some windows at nearby schools were broken; one car was set on fire with an incendiary device.

Got it? A crowd was in a park. Most left when curfew came. Around midnight, a "small group" began causing trouble.

This is how the article was headlined:

28 arrests made during Breonna Taylor protests in Louisville; windows smashed, vehicle set ablaze
Police say the arrests followed a wave of destruction in the city
[note: the story is gone from the website]

Does the headline - which is what most people see and beyond which many do not read - reflect the story? No, it doesn't. It ignores the peaceful many in order to emphasize and sensationalize the violence, turning a "small group" of people who broke "some windows" and set one car on fire into "a wave of destruction."

Compare that sort of sensationalism with the pretty much ho-hum reaction to Tweetie-pie's September 23 refusal to commit to a peaceful transition of power and suggestion that any election he lost would be by definition corrupt. That was treated as if most of the media said "well, it's an interesting story I suppose, but we can't get worked up about it." It got nothing like the "wave of destruction" treatment that some vandalism got in the Breonna Taylor coverage.

The New York Times, for example, pretty much buried the story. Peter Baker, the paper's chief White House correspondent, attempted to explain it away by citing print publication deadlines. But such deadlines didn't seem to be a problem when Ruth Bader Ginsburg died late in the evening, leading to a page one, above-the-fold feature in the next day's Times print edition.

Meanwhile, the evening network newscasts on ABC, CBS, and NBC on the day Tweetie-pie in effect threatened to refuse to leave office if he lost the election didn't even cover it, didn't even mention it. It apparently just wasn't important enough to them.

There was some decades ago a sort of "golden age" in journalism, when print newspapers were plentiful and radio and TV news was not expected to make a profit for station owners. But those days are long dead, their death notices signed when media became more and more corporate and those corporations realized that news, particularly broadcast news, could be a profit center. We continue to suffer the effects of that shift.

Make no mistake, there still is quality journalism and original reporting out there - the New York Times' recent reporting on Tweetie-pie's taxes being an example. But we should not and cannot content ourselves with celebrating the outliers. An informed populace is more important now than ever. And on that account, our major media, too focused on profit and too addicted to power, continue to fail us.

And that is an Outrage.

No comments:

// I Support The Occupy Movement : banner and script by @jeffcouturer / (v1.2) document.write('
I support the OCCUPY movement
');function occupySwap(whichState){if(whichState==1){document.getElementById('occupyimg').src=""}else{document.getElementById('occupyimg').src=""}} document.write('');