Saturday, February 11, 2012

Blessed are They for Whom the Media Does Not Impute Wickedness

By way of Instapundit we have:

Let's see...proportional rates likely HIGHER than those of the much reviled Catholic Church....check
Coverup....which we're all told is far worse than the original crime...check

Massive media attempt to generate public outcry to raze the schools to the ground and salt the earth on which they stood?  No

This is a classic example of the media applying radically different standards to groups it likes versus those that it doesn't.  Think, for instance, of how much cultural attention the less than around 5000 lynchings over the course of about a century got.  Way more than the disproportionate black on white murders get, and a lot of the lynchings back in those days were frankly, quite justified.

Let me relate an old family story of mine.  I'd have been inclined to dispute it but for the fact that a postcard from the beginning of the 20th century was produced as photographic evidence.

A malefactor in a Southern state raped a girl.  He was convicted by the jury and sentenced to death.  Nobody seriously disputed the fact that he was guilty.  However, he was a crony of the state governor.  The governor pardoned him---incidentally breaking the 'honest graft' rules of his contemporary up North (George Washington Plunkitt, who called the penal system the Forbidden Fruit).  The good citizens of the capital city in question decided they'd have none of that, so they strung the convicted and pardoned man up from a lamp post, and made a postcard of it.  I suspect a lot of lynchings were similar, despite the popular narrative in the media that all lynching victims were innocent black people murdered by wicked white people (in this case, I'm pretty sure that the lynched was neither innocent nor black).  History is always messier than any clean narratives progressives like to spin.


Anonymous said...

Up until the civil rights movement the majority of people lynched in the south were white.

Jehu said...

It'd be interesting to see what fraction of people who got lynched fit into each of the following categories:
1. Got what was coming to them
2. Were guilty but got more than what was coming to them
3. Relatively innocent
My guess is nobody will do a doctoral dissertation on this despite the relatively tractable number of cases---less than 5k--because of how radioactive the issue is.

RS said...

I can tell you 'cause I once read a study or data-collation on it, whose scope was, I think, the 19th century. This is all from memory though.

Quite a lot of Whites were lynched in the South, not just Blacks. It was something like 2 Blacks : 1 White.

Some 17% of the Blacks were killed for behaviors of domination vis-a-vis Whites - telling off Whites, etc. Perhaps some of this involved some sort of threats, but I don't necessarily think so.

Most of the rest were for serious crimes.

What fraction were guilty, I don't know. The large majority I would guess. I'd guess it's worse in false -'s and +'s than you get through due process, but not by any truly large margin.