The New York Times and Other Members of the Ferguson Hall of Shame
That the photograph of Walter Duranty -- the New York Times Moscow correspondent who deliberately whitewashed Stalin's 1930s forced starvation of millions of Ukrainians and won the Pulitzer for it -- still is on the newspaper's wall of fame with their other prize winners is apparently no aberration. The New York Times has no moral center. In fact, it's despicable. On November 24, they published the home address of Officer Darren Wilson.
By now most of America knows who Wilson is -- the Ferguson, Missouri, police officer exonerated for the murder of Michael Brown, the supposed 6' 6", three-hundred-pound "gentle giant" who was reportedly on his way to college, but it turns out was holding up convenience stores and trying to grab Wilson's gun and bashing him in the face all while the officer was sitting in his police car. We also all know the reaction of some of the angrier members of the Ferguson community and those omnipresent "outside agitator" dime-store anarchists to the grand jury announcement -- cars torched, minority businesses burned down, looting, gunfire, freeways blocked, etc., etc. A lot of out-of-control mayhem from L.A. to NY with racial hatred fanned at every turn. The NYT apparently doesn't give a shit (excuse the French, but it's merited). In the midst of all this, they print Wilson's address. It was to them "all the news that's fit to print." Who cares what might happen to the cop and his family? He's just a cop, after all, and a white one at that. Definitely not a member of the elite -- not bon type, bon genre. (Maybe someone should do a country song -- "Two thousand miles from Zabar's.")
So much for that newspaper. They're cancer.
Not quite cancer but pretty bad is Jay Nixon, the governor of Missouri. Not only did he attempt to prejudge the case, calling for Wilson's head like some minor league Robespierre months before there was any evidence, but then, on the night of the grand jury announcement, after having brought in the National Guard, he goes completely AWOL and doesn't use the Guards at all, leaving the poor store owners of Ferguson to fend for themselves, not to mention the police. Everyone got to watch the results on TV.
Peter Kinder, the vice governor of Missouri, wants to know what happened. Why no Guards, when they were all set to go? Did the word come down from the White House or the Department of Justice to keep the Guards out? Nixon didn't answer, just accused Kinder of playing politics. (At least he didn't play the race card, but that would be hard, white man to white man.... although it's possible.) So we don't know... yet.
And then there's Brown's stepfather who looks about five years older than Brown himself and exhorted the crowds to "Burn the bitch down." Geraldo wants him indicted, which says a lot. To me he's a minor player.
And finally there's the Revered Al, a character straight out of the pages of Ralph Ellison's The Invisible Man. A demagogue with the ear of the president and attorney general, he's no minor player. No wonder he hasn't been collared for the 4.5 million in back taxes his various organizations are said to owe. O'Reilly thinks he's the most hated man in America right now and he may be right. He's certainly in competition with the KKK of old for outright race incitement, although he hasn't gone as far as lynching, unless you count the Tawana Brawley case, which was pretty close to that.
But the real top of the Ferguson Hall of Shame goes to the people who brought us Ferguson from the beginning. I mean the real beginning. I mean... what happened to black America in the post-civil rights era? Why has such a wonderful group of people who fought so hard against a racist society and won, who brought so much to American (and world) culture had the guts torn out of their community? Why is what was once one of our most family-oriented groups now virtually without family, seventy percent of their babies born out of wedlock? That was unheard of when I was a young civil rights worker in the sixties. And the endless black on black crime? Where did that come from? What caused that? Forget Brown. Forget Wilson. They're trivial by comparison. Those are the real questions.
I submit that some of the answer is above -- it's part Al Sharpton (and his ilk) and part the New York Times. When I say the Times, I mean the liberal ideology for which they remain the standard bearer, even in their weakened state. They lead the way for the dependent welfare state that has pushed generation after generation of black people deeper and deeper into self hatred and shame, the inevitable psychological result of the welfare state, culminating on the streets of Ferguson and across the country today. I'm sure they would scoff, if they or their fans read what I just wrote. Simon's just an apostate, to be ignored. But when it comes to civil rights, more than most of them, I have been there and done that. I was there in the sixties and I was, to my shame, a financial supporter of the Black Panthers. I'm not a young guy and I have seen a lot. And nothing I have seen, after all this time, is sadder than Ferguson.