“MSNBC, are you so s#*tt@! you can’t even do E!’s job?” Jon Stewart
THE AMAZING thing about Jon Stewart’s commentary about the White House Correspondents Dinner drumming on as the temperature in Baltimore continued to rise over the weekend is that he proves African American talking heads, the few that have a presence, are just as guilty as the rest of the white curtain on cable. That is, except for Jessica Williams, senior unrest correspondent for “The Daily Show.” But, really, what part of last night’s inferno don’t people understand?
When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse. – Ta-Nehisi Coates
The whole situation in Baltimore, coming after what we’ve seen from Ferguson to New York City, reminds me of when I lived in Los Angeles watching the unraveling after the Rodney King beating. Everyone with half a brain knew what was coming, especially once the venue change was honored and the trial went out to Simi Valley, a city that could just as easily be deemed in many areas Copland. The predictable verdict announced, we all waited for the explosion, which came all the way into West Hollywood. That’s a very long way from where it started in South Central.
It’s incomprehensible to me that Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, a “child of Baltimore,” as she describes herself, a beloved politician in the city whose election was hailed, “bet,” as Van Jones stunningly described her position, that the city would calm itself after Freddie Gray’s funeral.
As a lily white Scots-Irish broad who grew up in the racial tinder box of St. Louis, Mayor Rawlings-Blake‘s defensiveness about next day quarterbacking doesn’t cut it. Even understanding that you don’t want to squeeze protesters who are exercising First Amendment rights, what was developing on Tuesday wasn’t about that at all and anyone who’s lived in urban areas could sense it.
As for Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, his inaction and arm’s length reaction once challenged on Tuesday by Greta Van Susteren quickly turned into big-footing Rawlings-Blake, culminating in a joint interview that was indicative of the divide between these two politicians, as much as their obvious dislike represented the divide between the Baltimore Police Department and what several people on camera described as “aggressive policing” that began under Governor Martin O’Malley.
O’Malley high-tailed it home from a speaking tour overseas after Baltimore started burning.
Miguel Marquez of CNN commented at one point that he’d seen horse-drawn vegetable carts on the streets where the riots spun out of control on Tuesday.
Let that sink in for a minute.
Spinning the cable channel roulette wheel, what Jon Stewart spotlighted was, sadly, just one of the problems.
Rachel Maddow was working mightily to get her head around the fact that Baltimore pastors and civic leaders backed the up-armored Humvee presence that was about to hit their city. Maddow tried over and over again to emphasize the “militarization” aspect of the police presence, but she couldn’t make her Baltimore guests blink.
Fox News Channel, once Shep Smith left the scene, was an avalanche of Mark Furman stink. A man I remember all too well from the O.J. Simpson investigation fiasco, as do so many others who watched his racism be exposed.
CNN was the channel, at least on Tuesday, that excelled in telling the story of Baltimore as citizens burned buildings and businesses in their own neighborhoods down. The only disconnect were the African American leaders calling for calm in the midst of a community that has received absolutely no reward for non-violence so far.
People always ask what’s the point of burning your own environment to the ground. When there’s nothing in your neighborhood that gives you a life or a sense of pride and progress, there’s no connection to saving it as a path to your future dreams.
That’s the reason Baltimore turned to rubble on Tuesday.