Monday, October 17, 2005

CONSERVATIVE BLOGGERS are really, really upset with ABC News for their headline implying that white supremacists rioted in Toledo, Ohio.

NewsBusters opens with a screen capture of the ABC article and the banner headline: "The Title ABC Only Wishes Were True: 'White Supremacists Riot.' "

Jason at Generation Why? scolds the black community of north Toledo: "When You're Protesting Racists' Stereotypes, Be Sure Not to CONFIRM THEM."

Funny, I don't recall white conservatives saying that if police officers don't like being stereotyped as brutal and racist, they should be sure not to confirm those stereotypes by:

  • Fatally shooting an unarmed Haitian security guard (Patrick Dorismond, 2000) for the crime of getting angry when the (undercover) officer attempted to buy marijuana from him.
  • Beating an unarmed radio journalist who was covering Patrick Dorismond's funeral and then shackling him to his bed in the coronary care unit of the hospital he had to be taken to as a result of the beating (Errol Maitland, reporter for WBAI-Pacifica Radio).
  • Beating and torturing an unarmed, handcuffed Haitian immigrant in a police car and in the bathroom of a police station (Abner Louima, 1997, four police officers involved).
  • Beating and strangling a young black graffiti artist for doing graffiti on a subway wall (Michael Stewart, 1983, 11 police officers involved; all were acquitted of murder).
  • Fatally shooting (41 bullets) a 22-year-old West African immigrant in his apartment doorway, after he reached inside his jacket for what turned out to be his wallet (Amadou Diallo, 1999).
  • Fatally shooting an elderly, mentally disturbed grandmother after forcing their way into her apartment to evict her for being five months behind on her rent (Eleanor Bumpers, 1984, six police officers involved).
  • Beating and choking to death a 29-year-old man who was playing football with his brothers, after the football hit the police officer's car (Anthony Baez, 1994, one officer involved, who was sentenced to seven years in prison only after a massive grassroots campaign by Iris Baez, Anthony's mother.)

In a few of these cases, some measure of justice was served; in many others, the officers involved were acquitted or never even indicted. And none of them were viewed by conservative whites as confirming the worst stereotypes about police brutality. Instead, these killer police were seen as bad individuals, not representative of all or even most police officers -- if they were even seen as having done anything wrong at all.

Generation Why? goes on to quote, uncritically, the reason the neo-Nazis gave for wanting to march: the neighborhood has been "beset with gang violence that threatens white residents." But not black residents, presumably.

Back at Newsbusters, "John" notes that the reason the Toldeo police cancelled the white supremacists' march was because there were only "two dozen" of them, and their "safety" could not be "guaranteed."

And to make absolutely sure his point is clear, "John" adds:

So, contrary to the lede, the event was not "allowed." And contrary to the head and subhead, the riot was entirely conducted by black protestors, not white supremecists.

Actually, anyone who even glanced at the AP article would have known the rioters were black protesters. It's right there, in the very first few words, so right at the top that it's caught in "John"'s screen capture:

Protesters at a white supremacists' march threw rocks at police, vandalized vehicles and stores and cursed the mayor for allowing the event.

I guess that people like "John," Jason, and Michelle are so overwhelmed by the horror they feel on behalf of the white supremacists, who were so unfairly depicted, that they haven't figured out the "White Supremacists Riot in Toledo, Ohio" headline WAS A TYPO. Or maybe they're just such a bunch of "morons," to use Michelle Malkin's term, that they cannot spot the obvious.

Why on earth would AP announce in a headline that white supremacists rioted, and then in the very first sentence of the article, say it was the protesters who were violent?

But hey, let's not bring common sense into this. Why do that, when you can have multiple orgasms writing sentences like this:

Who is going to get fired for this gross and public dishonesty which polluted the American press this morning? In the immortal words of Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, "Anyone, anyone?"

I can hear the cries of pleasure from here.


Mac Diva said...

I think you've nailed them. Most conservative bloggers I've read on the topic are using the Nazis as proxies for their racist sympathies. By accepting the Nazis' dubious rationale for coming to Toledo, and then characterizing the Nazis as victims, they send their usual trite message that 'it is the blacks who are the real racists.'

Anyone who knows much of anything about gangs knows that they are mainly a threat to each other. The claim the gangs were targeting whites strikes me as doubtful.

Though the people who trashed things and burned the bar are responsible for their own behavior, the mayor could have done a better job of planning. If he had issued a permit to march to the Nazis, he could have controlled when and where.

Joan, AKA Panam Woman said...

Hey kathy!

I think right now bloggers on both sides of the political spectrum are using this story for their own idealogical purposes and have no interest in giving a good faith analysis of the events in Toledo. There is NO way the headline originally printed was a misprint. I have tried to figure what they would have been TRYING to say when it accidently came out looking like the white supremicists were rioting. These big news organizations tend to be pretty careful about what they print and are gauged to get as big an audience as possible. News organizations like to sell their news and this is not the first time they have used a mis-leading headline to get viewers/readers to read the article. Whether you like nazis or not the headline was bullshit and should not have been used. To call anyone who sniped at ABC for their sensationalism is a nazi is pretty stupid.

Just as we know that the nazi party was not formed nor continued to protect poor white people from big, bad black people, so we know that anything a nazi says is bullshit. I can understand black protesters kicking the asses of the nazi demonstrators when the nazis decided to march through their neighbourhood. The nazis had no right to be there. It is intimidating to have a group of people who are advocating the gassing of the people in the neighbourhood walking around the same neighbourhood. The Black community had every right to throw them out and I wouldn't complain if they busted a few nazi heads while they threw them out. But I cannot figure out what the purpose was of burning down buildings and of the acts that were committed. To say these acts were bullshit and had nothing to with the given situation once again is not to support nazis.

There is no doubt the city dropped the ball by not having a proper police presence. There was a cartoon of a black gang member shaking the hand of nazi thug, and thanking him for the opportunity to get a little looting and burning done. The nazi thug in turn thanks the gang member for the great publicity that the nazis got. I think there is a lot of truth in that cartoon.

It is time for bloggers to clean up their own houses and stop spinning everything. What sort of dicussion is possible when both sides misrepresent what happened and content themselves with calling anyone who disagrees with them a "nazi" or a "black racist"?

Take Care

Kathy said...

There is NO way the headline originally printed was a misprint. I have tried to figure what they would have been TRYING to say when it accidently came out looking like the white supremicists were rioting.


You don't say what your support is for stating with such finality that the headline could not possibly have been a misprint. You also don't answer the question I posed in my post about why, if ABC (or, more accurately, AP) wanted to suggest that it was the white supremacists who rioted, they would have written in the very first sentence of the article that it was the black gang members who rioted.

And since you have been trying so hard, with no success, to figure out what the editors were TRYING to say, I will tell you what I think they were trying to say. It took me 30 seconds (or less) to figure it out.

Here it is: "ANTI-white supremacists riot in Toledo, Ohio."

They left out the Anti. And if you think a news organization could not POSSIBLY make such an error unintentionally, all I can say is that you don't read the print media very carefully. There are obvious typos and misprints all the time.

As to figuring out what the purpose was of burning down buildings, any sensible person knows there WAS no productive purpose. It was a self-destructive, self-harmful, and morally wrong thing to do. That said, it's not so very, very, very difficult to figure out how the aborted Nazi march might have been the trigger for a lot of other serious issues. It seems no one, or very few, in the white community pay any attention to legitimate concerns of discriminatory treatment until the people who are discriminated against erupt in anger as the result of some seemingly unrelated trigger event.

Perhaps you, as a Caucasian, Joan, might consider that people like us also have a responsibility to TAKE responsibility for the situations we permit to exist, and just ignore, because, since we are white, we have the privilege of not seeing them or acknowledging that they exist.

Kathy said...

mac diva,

I like your comment. That sentence, "Most conservative bloggers ... are using the Nazis as proxies for their racist sympathies" is exactly what I was thinking when I wrote my post.

Thanks for commenting.

Joan, AKA Panam Woman said...

Hey Kathy!

I certainly agree with you that the white community has to take responsability for the conditions we allow to exist in our society that we can sweep under the rug because they do not touch us. I think this is more the kernal of the matter and the matter that should be discussed rather than calling everyone nazis. I was disappointed that this was not discused after katrina. The real question was not whether Bush is a bigot, but why poor, black people were left facing such deplorable conditions while their neighbours with more resources were able to evacuate. There is no doubt that all three levels of gov't decided that all those who could evacuate would and those who could not would have to take care of themselves. The question becomes what is it about our society that we allow such a thing to happen?

The two incidents are linked in some way. We simply do not put any value on the lives of the poor and the lives of black people are valued less than those of whites. New Orleans taught us that these people are literally expendable in our world. Why? This is where the discussion must begin.

Take Care

Purple Avenger said...

Why on earth would AP announce in a headline that white supremacists rioted, and then in the very first sentence of the article, say it was the protesters who were violent?

A lot of people never read past the headline.

Kathy said...


Yes, I think you're right. I think there is a way of thinking in this society in general (and when I say "this society" I mean the U.S., because I can't speak for Canada) that values self-reliance to the extent of believing that if you can't survive, for whatever reason, too bad. Bye bye, Charlie. That attitude is worse with groups who are marginalized to begin with. It's like you said. If you had the resources to get out of New Orleans, fine. If you didn't, too bad.

My feeling is that none of us asked to be here or really have any clue why we're here, so it seems important that we help each other. Maybe someday enough people will feel that same way that the world will be a different sort of place.