(George Curry Media) – Writing under the headline, Police lives matter too, Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass summed up the sentiment – and mass hysteria – surrounding the supposed Sept. 1 murder of a policeman in a bedroom community 50 miles north of Chicago:
The killing of Fox Lake police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz had nothing to do with our hashtag politics about which lives matter.
Gliniewicz, whose body was found in a marshy area near Fox Lake, was just a cop who’d been doing his job.
And he was killed for it, left stripped of his gear.
We have since learned that it was all a hoax or, as the chief investigator put it, “a carefully staged suicide” by the man known as G.I. Joe as he was about to be exposed as a thief who had been stealing funds intended to mentor young people interested in becoming police officers to pay his mortgage, a gym membership, travel and a pornographic website.
Kass’ assertion notwithstanding, it was about hashtag politics – it was about denouncing the Black Lives Matter Movement and anyone else interested in holding police accountable for killing unarmed citizens.
Even though the number of cops losing their lives in the line of duty by firearms is down this year, cops and conservatives have sought to project a different picture in the aftermath of the Aug. 28 murder of Harris County, Texas, Deputy Sheriff Darren H. Goforth, who was repeatedly shot in the back of the head at a service station in Cypress, Texas, a Houston suburb.
At an Aug. 30 news conference, Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman said, “We’ve heard Black lives matter, all lives matter. Well, cops’ lives matter, too. So, how about we drop the qualifier and just say lives matter?”
Just days later, more than 1,000 miles away, the death of Gliniewicz in Illinois brought about increased attacks on the Black Lives Matter Movement and President Obama.
Now we know that Gliniewicz was lying when he radioed in that he was in pursuit of three suspects – an African American and two Whites – after he was supposedly shot by them. The resulting manhunt cost more than $300,000.
Though Obama had strongly denounced attacks on police, his critics pretended he had never said a word. Media Matters, the watchdog group, noted in a headline: “Fox Figures Demand Obama Make Remarks Condemning Violence Against Police Days After He Did Just That.”
O’Reilly Factor producer Jesse Watters said, “There is a war on cops in this country. It’s funny, the liberals care more when a lion is killed as opposed to a cop … I think Democrats have created a monster in this Black Lives Matter situation.”
Sean Hannity of Fox said: “The president spoke out in the Trayvon Martin case. Spoke out in the Cambridge police case. Spoke out in the Michael Brown case. Mr. constitutional attorney spoke out without evidence presented in all three of those cases and was wrong in all three. My question is, why, after these incidents of assassinations of cops, why doesn’t he speak out publicly about that and take a strong stand?”
Frequent Fox guest Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke said, “I think the president of the United States – because he weighed into this days after Ferguson with some inflammatory rhetoric, and where he breathed life into this anti-cop sentiment that now exists in the United States.”
As Media Matters pointed out, the myth of the “Ferguson Effect” – “the idea crime has increased because cops are more restrained because of increased scrutiny in the aftermath of episodes of police brutality – has been thoroughly discredited.”
Even so, Fox co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle said, cops “don’t want to be arrested or persecuted for just putting on the blue every morning.”
But Radley Balko of The Washington Post destroyed such faulty reasoning.
“It is true that we’re seeing an awful surge in murders in St. Louis and Baltimore right now. [Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute] blames this on police reform activists by claiming their rhetoric both emboldens criminals and makes cops either afraid or unwilling to do their jobs,” he wrote on his blog. “On the first point, the implication seems to be that people should just keep quiet in the face of what they perceive to be brutality and injustice, lest it embolden violence against the police …
“The second point is more alarming. If police in Baltimore and St. Louis are letting protesters and critics make them too afraid or spiteful to do their jobs, essentially turning their backs to allow people to be robbed and killed, that isn’t a problem with protester or social justice culture, it’s a problem with police culture …”
The real problem is that the crew at Fox TV and other conservatives, some running for president, took the easy and popular way out by rallying around police, even when attacks on them are down, all the facts were not yet in and, in the case of Gliniewicz in Illinois, he was plotting to have a hit put on a city official because he feared she was onto his trail.
All of them owe Obama and the Black Lives Matter Movement an apology. But, like Donald Trump, they are incapable of admitting they are wrong.
George E. Curry is president and CEO of George Curry Media LLC. He is a keynote speaker, moderator and media coach. Curry can be reached through his website, http://www.georgecurry.com.