By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
The reaction among responsible black and white law-abiding citizens to the black thugs rioting in Baltimore was captured by Toya Graham, the black mother who smacked her son around when she found him on the streets joining the attacks on police. Even liberals in the major media applauded her efforts.
“I don’t want him to be a Freddie Gray,” she told CBS News, referring to her son and the black youth who died under mysterious circumstances while in police custody.
CBS reported, “Graham, a single mom with six children, denounced the vandalism and violence against police officers. She said rioting in Baltimore is no way to go about getting justice for Freddie Gray and that she doesn’t want that life for her son.”
Graham then appeared on the CBS This Morning Show to discuss the incident and the struggle to raise her children.
The important teaching moment represented by this dramatic incident, a brief moment of sanity in the media, undercut the left-wing effort to somehow blame the police for the riots. As a result, the “progressives” had to go on the attack against the black mother.
Over at Think Progress, the blog of the pro-Obama Center for American Progress, Graham was attacked as a “misguided” mother who exercised bad judgment in holding her son accountable. Writer Kira Lerner said the issue was alleged police violence, not rioting in the streets by black youth.
She quoted a woman with a group opposed to “police brutality” as saying that “While she doesn’t condone the looting that was highlighted by the media in Baltimore Monday night, she said she understands where the violent protesters are coming from.”
Meanwhile, over at Hot Air, a piece by Noah Rothman ran under the headline, “Don’t let urban unrest derail conservative criminal justice reform.” While the riots were underway, he insisted that “a consensus opinion” had emerged on both the left and the right in favor of getting soft on criminals and letting more of them out of prison.
In the wake of what has happened in Baltimore and Ferguson, the Republican primary electorate might be tempted to embrace a “tough on crime” candidate, but “That would be a mistake,” Rothman informed Hot Air readers.
What’s more, he lectured them, the war on drugs has “failed” and there is no alternative to letting “non-violent offenders” out of prison.
In fact, the war on drugs did not fail. David Evans, a special advisor to the Drug Free America Foundation, notes that marijuana use went down among young people by 25 percent from the advent of the Reagan administration’s “Just Say No” campaign to the inauguration of President Obama. “If we had had a reduction in any other health problem in the U.S. of 25 percent, we would consider it an outstanding success,” he said.
Being “tough on crime” is precisely what many observers, including that courageous Baltimore mom, have concluded needs to be done in the inner cities.
Going soft was precisely what the Baltimore mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, had done, accounting for the weak police response to the riots. Former police officer Michael Tremoglie points out that the Baltimore police knew that the mayor had said she wanted “protesters” protected and room furnished for them to “destroy,” and that “They knew that the DOJ [Department of Justice] was ‘monitoring’ what was occurring during the riots.”
Before he came to Hot Air, a site owned by Salem Communications, a Christian firm, Rothman had sung the praises of the pro-marijuana voices in the media such as MSNBC’s Touré. On another occasion, he had highlighted how comedian Kevin Hart and rapper Ice Cube had attacked commentator Nancy Grace’s anti-marijuana comments.
Hot Air, which claims to be the most heavily-trafficked conservative blog on the Internet, has emerged as a forum for pro-marijuana and soft-on-crime viewpoints, most of them articulated by Rothman, a former libertarian writer for Mediaite.
It is certainly true that the Rothman perspective on “criminal justice reform” has been embraced on the left.
As Accuracy in Media noted recently, in an article about a “criminal justice reform” conference held in Washington, D.C., there is a White House-directed effort to enlist conservatives to join with various progressive organizations to weaken laws against a series of violent and non-violent crimes.
Hillary Clinton joined the campaign on Wednesday, saying that “It’s time to end the era of mass incarceration.”
Some readers at Hot Air were astounded by the advice given by Rothman, who cited the Obama Justice Department as a reliable source of information on criminal justice issues, including alleged police violence.
One said, “Isn’t it great when we can come to Hot Air to read some halfwit ‘conservative’ columnist agree with Eric Holder about root causes?”
Another said, “I don’t think this is a very timely post. At least not whilst the animals are burning, looting, robbing, raping, killing each other and forming alliances with opposing gang bangers to destabilize the structure of society.”
Still another called attention to Heather MacDonald’s piece in the New York Post, “The Perilous New Push to Excuse Lawlessness,” as being “a hundred times better than Noah’s.” The writer said, “She’s an actual conservative who lived through the times when ‘law and order’ were questionable values, and conservatives had to fight hard to implement them.”
MacDonald had referred to “a wide-ranging movement [which] is already under way to transform the criminal justice system in order to avoid a disparate impact on blacks.” But since blacks commit a disproportionate amount of the crime, she said that fulfilling this promise “would require gutting murder statutes, and most other criminal laws,” and that the country’s two-decade-long crime drop would be in jeopardy.
Despite cities like Ferguson and Baltimore going up in flames and the rare story of a mother like Toya Graham making a plea for law-and-order, the liberal media are going to make sure that the movement for criminals’ rights that now operates under the goal of achieving “criminal justice reform” will get the lion’s share of the publicity.
Indeed, Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” just ran a favorable story about the “Coalition for Public Safety,” which is trying to make the ACLU sound like a reasonable organization conservatives can work with. Based on what was reported, it looks like some conservative groups are taking the bait.