Reality Is What Ruth Marcus Says It Is

by James A. Bacon

Derek Chauvin, the policeman who killed George Floyd by placing a knee on his neck, is not just a “bad apple,” opines Ruth Marcus, deputy editorial page editor of the Washington Post. “The problem of policing is not individual apples, but bushels of them. It is a diseased tree” infected by “systemic racism” and a “culture of brutality.”

Set aside the slander against well-run police departments across the country and here in Virginia where Floyd-like incidents rarely if ever occur. Ignore the astonishing lack of empathy regarding the challenges of interacting with unpredictable and dangerous members of the public, often putting their lives at risk, for salaries that are a fraction of what Marcus earns from sitting in her air-conditioned office protected from the public by security guards.

Let’s focus on how Marcus knows what she believes to be true.

Those who were inclined, who had the distance — and, yes, the privilege — to be inclined to give officers and departments the benefit of the doubt can no longer soothe themselves with the illusion that these are random, unrepresentative incidents. Technology in the form of omnipresent video cameras has conclusively ended that debate.

Got that? Video cameras have ended the debate. There is nothing left to discuss.

To be sure, video images are powerful. In Floyd’s case, they illuminated a horrifying incident that calls out for justice. Video cameras can be a force for good by revealing ugly realities of which we would have been otherwise ignorant. Here’s the question: Which video images do the public see? More importantly, who decides which video images people see?

The national media immediately picked up the Floyd story because it confirmed the systemic-racism narrative that is an article of faith among members of the elite media. The image of a cold-eyed Derek Chauvin with his knee on Floyd’s neck was checked every box and reinforced every stereotype . Consequently, it was replicated endlessly online, on television and in print publications; it has been viewed literally hundreds of millions of times. Nearly every American has seen it. The image has been indelibly branded on the national consciousness.

Consider another incident of an unarmed white man in North Carolina who was pulled by police and in a series of tragic events was shot and killed. It turns out he was deaf, and the police misinterpreted his actions. The death of Daniel Harris in 2016 made a brief splash in the national media. The Washington Post assigned a reporter to cover the story. a commendable job of just-the-facts reporting. Because the victim was white, however, there was no follow-up. The Post ran no editorials about the incident. White militants did not organize protest marches. No one insisted that White Lives Matter. There were no riots. The story just slide down the memory hole, leaving no lasting impression of any kind.

The media has created a narrative of police brutality by magnifying incidents  like George Floyd’s, downplaying cases like Harris’, ignoring statistics that don’t fit, and presenting incidents like Floyd’s as America’s reality.

Cherry picking evidence that confirms one’s own beliefs is human nature. To a greater or lesser degree, everyone does it — even conservatives! But no one else can match the arrogance, self-righteousness and total absence of self awareness of people like Marcus. She lives in an impermeable bubble of people who think just like her. She watches television news edited by people who think just like her, and she reads written media edited by people who think just like her.

She shows not the slightest cognizance that police kill more unarmed white people than blacks, that most incidents of such killings involve victims who resisted arrest or threatened an officer, that compared to the total number of police-civilian interactions the number of such cases are vanishingly small, or that police have every reason to be hyper-vigilant given the fact that 135 were killed and 18,000 assaulted in the line of duty in 2019 alone. It would be one thing if Marcus acknowledged these facts and concluded that, after weighing all the evidence, she still believed U.S. police departments needed to be rooted out branch and stem. But, in this column at least, she provides no indication that she is even aware of facts that contradict her view.

If Marcus were deputy editor of some obscure Lefty rag, it wouldn’t matter. But she’s deputy editor of one of arguably the most important news organization in the United States, from which all others take their cues. Reality for many Americans is what Ruth Marcus and the Washington Post tells them it is. And that is pretty darned scary.

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4 responses to “Reality Is What Ruth Marcus Says It Is”

  1. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Jim, how do you know how Ruth Marcus lives? Have ever met her or held a discussion with her? Ever read some of her non newspaper work such as her recent one on Brett Kavanaugh?

  2. djrippert Avatar

    There is a program on TV called Live PD. The show has camera crews follow about 20 police patrol cars in cities across the country for an evening. The policemen know they are going to be on TV so it’s no surprise that they are uniformly well behaved. Maybe that’s always the way they act, maybe not. However, what’s astonishing is the number of people who immediately take a belligerent attitude toward the police for routine traffic stops.

    1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

      Ah, yes. Another propaganda show.

  3. TooManyTaxes Avatar

    The Washington Post stands squarely behind Jacob Frey who won election by hammering his fellow Democrat, Betsy Hodges, the incumbent mayor, for failing to identify and remove bad cops. But despite all his mouth and holding a female to a standard that he would not hold himself to, Frey and his hand-picked police chief not only failed to remove Chauvin, with 17-18 community complaints in 19 years, along with two letters of reprimand, but they also permitted him to be a training officer. Silence = Death.

    What does Marcus have to say about Juanita Brodderick or Tara Read?

    If Ruth Marcus lived in an earlier time, she’d have been a death camp scheduler for Stalin. She’s a perfect example of John Calvin’s teaching of double predestination.

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