As I told Jackman in my reply,

The whole “€œafflict the comfortable”€ thing scares the living shit out of me. Generally, I don”€™t see it as a journalist’s role to “€œafflict”€ anyone, but of course we all have biases, and you are to be commended for being so open about yours. The thing is, though, that anyone who knows history knows that a hell of a lot of people died in the previous century in the name of “€œcomforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.”€ As Orwell so ably illustrated in “€˜Animal Farm,”€™ it doesn”€™t take much for the “€œafflicted”€ to begin to resemble the “€œcomfortable.”€ Therefore, it pays to keep a critical eye on both. At least in my humble opinion.

Undaunted, Jackman changed tactics, arguing that Jerant needs no defense from the Detroit press because the “€œmainstream media”€ defends him ably: “€œThe daily work of our mainstream mass media defend Jerant and his ilk more than I ever could…. Where are the mainstream media figures who are courageously confronting widespread police brutality?”€

At this point, I started to realize that I was dealing with a man who is somewhat detached from reality. I responded,

To whom in the “€œmainstream mass media”€ are you referring? I mean, take away Hannity (and any other Fox opinion guys), who in the mainstream media routinely reflects Jerant’s views and “€œdefends Jerant and his ilk”€? I”€™m asking because you base your response on an apparent belief that the “€œmainstream”€ is stacked with journalists who “€œdefend Jerant and his ilk.”€ Since I just don”€™t see that (beyond, as I said, Hannity, the other FNC opinion guys, and I suppose conservative radio hosts, although I think it’s an open question whether they should be called “€œmainstream”€), I”€™m extremely curious to know how you arrive at the conclusion that the “€œmainstream mass media”€ defends “€œJerant and his ilk.”€ Are you saying that CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, the NY Times, the L.A. Times, the WaPo, USA Today, the AP, Reuters, etc., are sympathetic to Jerant’s views and routinely defend people like him?


Isn”€™t it interesting that, right away, we can name the people who condemn Black Lives Matter”€”the Hannitys, the Limbaughs, the Coulters, etc.”€”but I”€™m sure it takes some doing, at least several Google searches, to find mainstream media figures who condemn the police brutality that’s endemic to this country, specifically shooting black people at a rate at least three times that of white people? Where are all these fierce media figures going head-to-head with the national police associations and grilling them on the air? Maybe they exist. If they do, I haven”€™t seen them… As for the editorial pages of the L.A. Times, the NY Times, the WaPo, the Chicago Tribune, the Boston Globe, I can”€™t say I pay much attention to them to begin with. If they”€™ve been writing tough editorials that are extremely critical of police violence against black people, I haven”€™t seen it. Doesn”€™t mean it isn”€™t there, but you”€™d think if it were bold stuff it would appear on my social networking radar.

And this is exactly how people become detached from reality, by sealing themselves in an echo chamber, depending on their “€œsocial networking radar”€ for news. I attempted to correct Jackman:

“€œWhere are the mainstream media figures who are courageously confronting widespread police brutality?”€ How about Colbert, Stewart, Bee, Noah, Wilmore, Meyers, Oliver, the editorial pages of the L.A. Times, the NY Times, the WaPo, the Chicago Tribune, the Boston Globe, etc. etc. etc.?

And perhaps we had a small breakthrough. Jackman conceded,

I”€™ll try to take your advice and read more of the op-eds. You make a good point about keeping your critical faculties open. I try to consider those things very carefully, especially in times of great flux. I think even Saul Alinsky makes the point that after revolutions, the people most in favor of change often become hostile to it.

I”€™ll admit, I”€™d never seen a journalist actually quote Alinsky nonironically before. The leftist party line is that Breitbart was being paranoid delusional in thinking that members of the press actually read and follow Alinsky. Even I used to think Andrew was laying it on a bit thick. But in his admirable candor, Jackman shows us otherwise, and for that I”€™m grateful. As I said, it’s hard to dislike him. Honesty is a rare trait these days, in journalists as well as in those they cover. I”€™d take a Michael Jackman, who admits that he wants to “€œafflict the comfortable,”€ over the “€œI”€™m not biased, I have no agenda”€ liars, well, everywhere else.

If we must have monsters, may they all be as honest as Michael Jackman.


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