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Home/Rod Dreher/News? No, It’s Narrative-Management

News? No, It’s Narrative-Management

Viola Plummer, lowlife race radical cited by NPR today as a 'human rights leader'. (Source)

Listen to what the president had to say today:

Why, it seems like only yesterday…

Biden is right that we don’t have a lot of information about the hostage-taker, other than his name, Malik Faisal Akram, and the fact that he was a British subject who was trying to win the release of an Islamic terrorist. But for Biden to pretend that we just don’t understand why a Muslim seeking the release of a convicted Muslim terrorist would attack a synagogue is insane.

If you accept that liberal and progressive elites — politicians, elected officials, the news media, and others — see their main task not as telling the truth about the world, but about managing the narrative, this kind of thing makes sense. Steve Sailer calls this kind of pre-emptive story control “frontlash,” citing this example:

In other news today, I heard an NPR report on the funerals for victims of the Bronx high rise fire. The report centered on — surprise! — systemic racism. The victims were black folks. According to the New York Times, city officials said earlier the fire was started by a space heater in one family’s apartment. The heat in the building was on, but the family was supplementing it with the heater. Smoke spread so quickly throughout the building, making it harder for people to escape, because the family with the space heater left the door to their apartment open as they fled.

Based on what we know now, it appears that the fire started by a mechanical malfunction in the heater, and became much worse by human error — the fleeing family leaving their door open, allowing smoke to fill the high-rise quickly. But you don’t get any of those facts in today’s NPR report by journalist Sally Herships. It focuses instead on wild charges that bigotry is to blame. Excerpt:

HERSHIPS: There were hundreds of people there, the kind of community members you would expect at a tragedy of this size. People were there to pay their respects. But there was another really common theme. Viola Plummer is with a local Black human rights organization. We were in the same tent. And she said structural racism was the problem here and that the problem is not new.

VIOLA PLUMMER: Today we are talking about environmental racism. Tomorrow we’ll be talking about the health care delivery system, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

HERSHIPS: Plummer said she’s seen the same problems in Haiti after earthquakes, Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. And just this past fall in New York, 15 people died from the flooding. Some were trapped in basement apartments. And many were people of color or low income.

The Bronx apartment building was run by a company that provides affordable housing to poor people — in this case, the building housed many immigrants from Gambia. If the building was badly managed, then the owners should be held to account for that. Why make the incendiary assertion that their deaths were a reflection of anti-black racism, though, when it is much more plausible to suppose that if — if —  the building was badly managed, it was because of the owners’ indifference to poor people? That doesn’t make it any better, if true, but it does at least keep this tragedy from being exploited by race-baiters.

Later in the report, Herships quotes a local Muslim leader at the service comparing the fire dead to Emmitt Till, murdered by white supremacists in Mississippi in 1955. Again, there was nothing in her report that challenged in any way these lurid assertions with facts. Herships just accepted them as true. I suppose that any time something bad happens to people of color, it’s obviously the fault of white supremacy.

By the way, who is this Viola Plummer of “a local Black human rights organization”? I googled her, and found this 2007 editorial from the New York Daily News, the city’s liberal tabloid:

Viola Plummer is a self-styled black revolutionary who has found common cause with cop killers and has been given through the years to irresponsible talk of violence. And today she is where she doesn’t belong: on the city payroll.

Plummer is chief of staff to Councilman Charles Barron, who is a former Black Panther and inveterate provocateur. That she collects a salary from the taxpayers came glaringly to light as the Council voted down a proposal to rename part of Gates Ave. in Brooklyn after Sonny Carson, kidnapper and racial arsonist.

It was Plummer who instigated the name change as head of a group called the December 12 Movement. It was Plummer who helped disrupt the vote on the measure by shouting and booing. It was Plummer who called for the assassination – she says she meant at the ballot box – of a black councilman who didn’t support her. All that was in keeping with a history that should disqualify her from public employment.

Who is Viola Plummer? Let’s go to the record. In 1985, she stood trial with seven co-defendants on charges of plotting to crash out of prison two members of the gang that pulled off the 1981 Brink’s armored car robbery in which a guard and two cops were killed in Rockland County.

Acquitted of the most serious charges, other members of the group, including Plummer’s son Robert Taylor, were convicted of possessing weapons such as dynamite and machine guns. In the transcript of an undercover recording introduced at the trial, a leader of the bunch, Coltrane Chimurenga, instructed Taylor in the ways of armed robbery.

“I want you to say, ‘Freeze, this is an armed stickup,’ ” Chimurenga tells Taylor in the transcript, adding, “Always when you, when you say freeze, you’re pointing directly, talking about a kill shot, not at his head, because you might miss it.”

When Taylor doesn’t quite get the message, Chimurenga says, “Now it’s on, he’s gonna shoot,” and Plummer interjects, “He pulls his gun.”

“I had him,” Taylor responds.

Plummer wound up convicted only of falsely identifying herself so that she could gain admittance to the Metropolitan Correctional Center for the purpose of visiting Nathaniel Burns, aka Sekou Odinga, a Brink’s job principal who was arrested after a shootout with cops in Queens. (He’s still doing time in Colorado’s Supermax, by the way, unsprung.)

That was Viola Plummer’s crowd in those days. Cop killers. Subsequently, after Michael Griffith was chased to his death by a Howard Beach mob in 1987, she was among the activists who called for a boycott of white-owned businesses. Her rhetoric was decidedly inflammatory. Invoking the name of Malcolm X, Plummer said, “We are at war. Malcolm said war is bloody. And it was Malcolm who said an eye for eye and a life for a life.”

She took a similar inflammatory and dangerous tack after the Council voted down the street-name change. Outside City Hall, the building in which Councilman James Davis was gunned down in 2003, she erupted against Queens Councilman Leroy Comrie, who is black and had abstained from casting a vote.

“If it takes assassination of his ass, he will not be a borough president in the borough where I live,” Plummer railed. Asked to explain, she continued, “So, to assassinate Leroy Comrie’s ass, because that’s what I said, means his whole stuff, his whole run for Queens borough president.”

Bouncing Viola Plummer from the public payroll may, alas, make her a martyred heroine in some circles, but bounced she must be. We hope Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s search for the legal grounds on which to so bounce her is fruitful.

“Local black human rights organization” my big fat butt. Look, it is probably not fair to expect a reporter to know who Viola Plummer is. But given the wild racialized accusation Plummer made on the record, for a national radio audience, blaming white people for every major tragedy that afflicted black people (including the Haitian earthquake), it’s not too much to expect the reporter to google her name to see if there is anything in her past that would make her a less than credible commentator. But again, I assume that the reporter — a youngish white woman who is a Columbia Journalism school professor — here didn’t think that it was at all questionable to blame this disaster on white supremacy.

The very next story on NPR was this one about how Americans are losing trust in elections and the news media. You don’t say!

Last week, The New York Times finally admitted that there is a medical controversy about whether or not teenagers with gender dysphoria ought to be put on hormones — this, months after Abigail Shrier reported it. One is grateful that the Times has finally caught up with the actual story, but you wonder what finally had to happen to make the Times report the news for once, as opposed to uphold the pro-trans narrative.

Jesse Singal, one of my favorite liberals to follow on Twitter, writes about how the liberal media and the Democratic leadership mislead Americans about real life:

Finally in media malpractice, you might not be a fan of Ann Coulter, but you owe it to yourself to read her great two-part series on both government malpractice and the lack of media curiosity about the life and death of Jeffrey Epstein. Here is part one. Excerpts:

As for media coverage, did you even know that the FBI found Epstein’s cache of sex tapes labeled “(name of underage girl) + (name of VIP)” — and then lost them?

Immediately after Epstein’s arrest at Teterboro Airport in July 2019, the FBI executed a search warrant on his New York mansion. Following a daylong search, agents discovered a hidden safe in the closet of a fifth-floor dressing room, used a saw to break into it, and found an enormous collection of photos of naked girls, and CDs of the girls apparently having sex with influential men.

Then, the agents left — abandoning the photos and CDs, with Epstein’s employees free to wander about the place. As Kelly Maguire, FBI special agent in charge of the search, explained during Maxwell’s trial, they only had a warrant to search the house, but not to remove evidence — evidence at the heart of the entire sex trafficking scheme.

It didn’t occur to Maguire to leave a single agent behind to guard the CDs? How about the intern who just gets coffee?

You’ll never guess what happened next.

The CDs and photographs disappeared. By the time the FBI returned with a new warrant — four days later — to remove the CDs and photos, they were gone. Later, after a few phone calls, Epstein’s lawyer, Richard Kahn, “returned” the cache in two suitcases. I had no idea they were important! I was just tidying up!

Were the videos tampered with? Were all of the photos returned? Who knows!

This was testified to by Special Agent Maguire. That’s the last time I trust the lawyer of a pedophile! Boy, is my face red! Darn it! … Oh well, what are you going to do?

(Before moving on, let’s take a moment to honor the historic appointment of Kelly Maguire as FBI special agent. Another glass ceiling shattered!)

The reason the tapes are kind of important is that it was perfectly clear — certainly by 2019 — that Epstein had no legitimate source of income to fund his Caligula lifestyle, and further, that he was farming out underage girls for sex to the rich and powerful — with hidden cameras running everywhere. It sure looked like his underage sex ring was a blackmail/kompromat operation.

Obviously, the most important question is: On behalf of whom? The tapes of “(underage girl) + (important person)” would have gone a long way toward answering that. What did the search warrant specify, if not videos and photographs?

If I didn’t know better, I might think that those in power don’t want us to know anything about Epstein’s sex-trafficking operation.

As further evidence that there is ABSOLUTELY NO COVER-UP: The New York Times has never breathed a single word about the CDs lost in the FBI’s botched search. Nor has the Washington Post. Nor the Chicago Tribune. Nor the Los Angeles Times.

Wait — I’ll make this easier. Here’s a list of all the major U.S. newspapers that did report on Maguire’s breathtaking revelation:

1) The Miami Herald
2) The New York Post

The end.

Read it all.

Here is part two, in which Coulter details how the government kept botching the investigation.Excerpt:

However this ends, once it’s over, we’ll never hear about Epstein again — unlike, say, January 6, which we will never stop hearing about. If America got to vote, which story do you think they would find more interesting?

Which story is more important? Doesn’t the public have a right to know how big Epstein’s sex/blackmail club was, who among America’s ruling elite were compromised, and to what end?

Read it all. 

Oh, one more thing: in case you thought the GOP leadership could be counted on to have its collective eye on the ball of what’s really going on in America:

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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