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Speak Right On

A book is usually a one-sided affair: only the author reveals her thoughts and feelings. The airing of readers’ reactions typically is left to book groups. But not now, not here.

With this blog I want to hear what you have to say. Though I will use Speak Right On as a springboard and reference point for my blog entries, you don’t need to read my book to join the conversation.

Just speak right on, from the heart.

“He who does his best for his own time, lives for all times.”

African proverb

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Getting the facts straight

It's not always easy to get the facts, no less get them straight. Few of us are engaged in original research, so most of us rely upon other sources for our information, particularly for current news. If you're like me, you don't have to look far before you encounter conflicting reports on a single event, and it's easier sometimes to just throw up my hands and be cynical.

Case in point: the much-mentioned "war on cops" and the frequent conclusion that the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement is advocating such a war. This time, I didn't throw up my hands; I dug around for some different views, delivered up by various news sources. I've read/watched/listened to numerous articles on this topic, as I'm sure you have.

I wanted to know:

  • Are there groups and citizens advocating attacks on cops?
  • Does Black Lives Matter support this?
  • What incidents/facts are cited to substantiate something as widespread and coordinated as a "war"?

As I surfed the Internet asking these questions and reading from the results, two things now seem (more) clear to me:

  1. Black Lives Matter, as a movement, is not cohesive enough to launch a war on cops, according to several news sources, like U.S. News & World Report, which reported: "Black Lives Matter is a movement, but it is also a mantra," Jonathan Newton, the founder and president of the National Association Against Police Brutality, told The Daily Beast recently. "It does not have a centralized structure, and that is what I think causes some confusion and also allows this movement to live on."
  2. The so-called proof of a war on cops has been fraudulently reported. There are several incidents typically mentioned—and subsequently debunked—the most recent of which is the death of Lt. Joseph Gliniewicz in Illinois, supposedly caused by the BLM and now acknowledged to have been by Gliniewicz's own hand. In an article for the Washington Post, Radley Balko investigates and lays out the facts in a straightforward way that, for me, constitutes "getting the facts straight." Its title is: A partial list of pundits, politicians and media outlets who used Joseph Gliniewicz's death to push the 'war on cops' narrative.
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Comments 4

Guest - Ann Marquez on Monday, 09 November 2015 15:55

Getting at the real truth for those of us lay people at the mercy of endless soundbites and streaming headlines is so exhausting. And reporting has become so convoluted -- so called "journalists" in a rush to put together the story to fit their agenda or theme of the day. 24/7 mass media isn't interested in (not profitable) investigative reporting. There's no time or money for the hunting and gathering of facts, and opinion passed off as fact is cheap. Social media fan the flames. Until we find our way back to ethical and responsible journalism, and to compassionate social comments, I don't know what can be done. But rational sites like this is a good place to start.

Getting at the real truth for those of us lay people at the mercy of endless soundbites and streaming headlines is so exhausting. And reporting has become so convoluted -- so called "journalists" in a rush to put together the story to fit their agenda or theme of the day. 24/7 mass media isn't interested in (not profitable) investigative reporting. There's no time or money for the hunting and gathering of facts, and opinion passed off as fact is cheap. Social media fan the flames. Until we find our way back to ethical and responsible journalism, and to compassionate social comments, I don't know what can be done. But rational sites like this is a good place to start.
Guest - Jeannette Gagan on Monday, 09 November 2015 22:13

When I view Black Lives Matter on Twitter.com, there are several in which members are chanting "Pigs in a blanket--fry 'em like bacon." One video shows members chanting "Burn everything down." I also viewed a video taken at the Minnesota State Fair in which members were chanting the "Pig..." chant.
How does this fit in with ethical and responsible journalism, if at all?

When I view Black Lives Matter on Twitter.com, there are several in which members are chanting "Pigs in a blanket--fry 'em like bacon." One video shows members chanting "Burn everything down." I also viewed a video taken at the Minnesota State Fair in which members were chanting the "Pig..." chant. How does this fit in with ethical and responsible journalism, if at all?
Mary Neighbour on Wednesday, 11 November 2015 15:43

Very thought-provoking, Jeannette—always a good and welcome thing. Thank you.

I’ve seen the video you’re referring to, and the chant and the sentiment are despicable. I question whether (1) this is widespread enough to constitute “a war on police” and (2) these protestors were representing the Black Lives Matter movement—despite the fact they carried that banner.

I looked into the “fry ‘em” chant on twitter.com and, through Google searches, on the BLM website, the Daily Beast, Newsbusters, and MSNBC. They all show the same video, credited to FOX News. I find only this one video. Are there others? Enough to reveal BLM as hate-filled vigilantes? I’m still skeptical about the assertion that BLM advocates police attacks.

At this point in my exploration, I’m inclined to believe that this chant was not authorized or endorsed by the BLM. As quoted in my post, "Black Lives Matter is a movement, but it is also a mantra. . . ."

I encourage readers to visit the BLM website. Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Cullors—founders of the movement—are eloquent in their statements of purpose as well as their historical perspective.

I’m very open to learning more about this.

Very thought-provoking, Jeannette—always a good and welcome thing. Thank you. I’ve seen the video you’re referring to, and the chant and the sentiment are despicable. I question whether (1) this is widespread enough to constitute “a war on police” and (2) these protestors were representing the Black Lives Matter movement—despite the fact they carried that banner. I looked into the “fry ‘em” chant on twitter.com and, through Google searches, on the BLM website, the Daily Beast, Newsbusters, and MSNBC. They all show the same video, credited to FOX News. I find only this one video. Are there others? Enough to reveal BLM as hate-filled vigilantes? I’m still skeptical about the assertion that BLM advocates police attacks. At this point in my exploration, I’m inclined to believe that this chant was not authorized or endorsed by the BLM. As quoted in my post, "Black Lives Matter is a movement, but it is also a mantra. . . ." I encourage readers to visit the BLM website. Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Cullors—founders of the movement—are eloquent in their statements of purpose as well as their historical perspective. I’m very open to learning more about this.
Mary Neighbour on Monday, 09 November 2015 19:37

Hi Ann, and thanks for your comment. Who do you turn to for "ethical and responsible" journalism. I could always use another good source.

Hi Ann, and thanks for your comment. Who do you turn to for "ethical and responsible" journalism. I could always use another good source.
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