In a report which comes off as something it felt obligated to address but with as little meaningful information as possible, a story at CNN.com tells readers that "Murder Is Out of Control" in Baltimore — to the point where the city is begging the FBI for additional help. The story is so utterly devoid of background that those who haven't followed the city's woes closely could read it and believe that the problem just came along this year.
Those in the press who have insisted that the "Ferguson effect" is an urban legend will have a hard time explaining why the two cities with the most potential to be affected by this supposedly mythical phenomenon now have murder rates among the top 20 in the entire world.
St. Louis, Missouri, next door to Ferguson, where a leftist-"inspired" campaign of "protests," civil disorder and rioting began in August 2014, came in at Number 15, with a rate of 59 murders per 100,000 residents. The city's 188 murders in 2015 were up from 159 in 2014 and 120 in 2013. Baltimore, Maryland, where Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake infamously admitted in April 2015, as public safety was deteriorating in her city, that "we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that," was Number 19, with 344 murders (a rate of 55 per 100,000).
Paraphrasing the title of a song Linda Ronstadt made famous, the tune the Associated Press's Juliet Linderman sang Saturday morning in the wake of Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's decision to not to seek reelection was: "Poor, Poor, Pitiful She."
That's right. Rawlings-Blake is a victim who is being "dogged by critics who questioned whether she was fit to lead." Linderman made that portrayal possible by ignoring, as the press has for months, two important things enough Baltimore residents to matter surely remember. The first is that the Mayor admitted to making a conscious decision to allow rioting to occur on the night of Saturday, April 25. The second, publicly exposed by a sheriff from another Maryland county who came to Baltimore hoping to help preserve order, is that she ordered police to stand down, giving rioters free rein to pillage and plunder on Monday, April 27.
On Megyn Kelly's Fox News show on Wednesday, Andrew Napolitano sharply criticized the city of Baltimore's agreement to pay $6.4 million to the family of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old black man who died in police custody there in April.
The Associated Press and most of the rest of the establishment press are describing the city's payout, which was approved on Thursday, as a "settlement" — an odd and inappropriate term, given that Gray's family had not yet filed a lawsuit, i.e., there was not yet a court case to "settle."
The folks at the New York Times must believe not only that their reporters are entitled to inject their opinions into hard-news stories, but that they can also inject their own "facts." Oh, and they can change those facts at will over time to fit the circumstances.
Sheryl Gay Stolberg's Wednesday story about the city's $6.4 million settlement with the family of Freddie Gray appearing in Thursday's print edition is a perfect case in point. Stolberg recast events following Gray's death to claim that there was only one night of rioting, when there were clearly two — even though contemporaneous coverage at the Times itself identified two separate nights of riots.
Aamer Madhani at USA Today took the easy way out on Friday in covering the sharp increases in murders in many U.S. cities during the first half of this year.
He quoted Milwaukee's police chief bemoaning "absurdly weak" gun laws. He noted that "the increased violence is disproportionately impacting poor and predominantly African-American and Latino neighborhoods." He found a university prof to allege that there's a lack of resources to "fund a proactive law enforcement." What rubbish. The fact is that the "broken windows" approach to law enforcement, the "proactive law enforcement" initiative pioneered in New York City under Mayor Rudy Giuliani in the 1990s which made New York one of the safest cities in America, is being systematically discredited by the left and abandoned by many police departments, with all too predictable results.
The left's "screw up, move up" principle for career advancement appears to be at play again. Of course, the press is playing up the move-up, and ignoring the screw-ups.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, whose statements and strategies inarguably led to more property destruction and civil disorder than would have occurred if someone more responsible had been in charge during that city's April riots, has been named the next national president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. This means that the person who on the first night of rioting in that city publicly admitted that she "gave those who wished to destroy space to do that," and who a couple of nights later, according to a Maryland county sheriff, "gave an order for police to stand down as riots broke out," will now presume to speak for the Democrat-dominated group.
In case you missed it, the City of Baltimore and the State of Maryland have requested disaster relief assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to recover costs incurred during that city's April riots. You read that right.
Yvonne Wenger at the Baltimore Sun predictably buried the lede in her May 26 story's third paragraph, giving uninitiated readers the impression that applying for FEMA assistance after a riot is something that is routinely done. (Perhaps, given the quality of today's journalists, she really believes that herself.) More critically, she forgot to remind readers that the city arguably deserves no help at all from any outside source, because the vast majority of the rioting's damage would have been prevented if Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake had done her job.
On Wednesday, Fox News reported that "a senior law enforcement official" who has since emerged from anonymity told them that Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake "gave an order for police to stand down as riots broke out Monday night."
That source, Michael Lewis, currently the Sheriff in Wicomico County and a former Sergeant with the Maryland State Police, appeared on the Norris and Davis show in Baltimore today and repeated his assertion, while adding that the orders included commands to retreat. Those who listen to the interview following the jump will have little doubt that Mr. Lewis is telling the truth, leaving all to wonder how it can be that, from what I can tell, no one in the nation's establishment press at this point has reported what he is saying:
An Associated Press report on small businesses hit with looting, fires and property destruction in Baltimore during the past several days wraps up with a final paragraph only a historically ignorant person could possibly believe.
Without getting too personal, David Dishneau and Joyce M. Rosenberg, the two AP writers responsible for that final sentence, appear to be old enough and learned enough to know better than to have written that final paragraph. But here it is:
Alex Wagner and her two left-wing panelists on the Wednesday edition of her MSNBC program – Salon's Brittney Cooper and The Nation's Ari Berman – likened the use of the word "thug" to describe the rioters and looters in Baltimore, Maryland on Monday to a notorious racial slur against blacks. Wagner played up how "there are folks, like CNN's Erin Burnett, who don't understand why it's offensive; and why some people are saying the 'T' word is the new 'N' word."