"I wasn't at the press conference last night, and I also don't have all the facts, but I think it's fair to say that Obama handled that question -- oh, what's the word I'm looking for -- stupidly?"
So quite surpisingly said Comedy Central's Jon Stewart on Thursday's "Daily Show" in reference to the President's statement at Wednesday's press conference that the police officers involved in Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates's arrest "acted stupidly."
I kid you not.
In a fabulous display of bipartisan comedy -- Stewart deliciously lambasted Republicans, Democrats, Fox News, CNN, Brian Williams, healthcare reform, and, yes, the President -- Stewart ended the segment criticizing Obama's answer to Lynn Sweet's question about what the Gates incident says about race relations in America (video embedded below the fold, relevant section at 6:12, vulgarity warning, h/t NBer balboa):
Now that President Obama has weighed in on the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, it seems a metaphysical certitude news media will milk this story for all it's worth.
On Thursday, the CBS "Evening News" did exactly that by first opening its program with the President's statement made during Wednesday's press conference, and then following it with a segment on how this incident "spotlights a history of mistrust between police and minority communities."
As you watch the following video, ask yourself whether the content of this segment will improve race relations in America, or worsen them (video embedded below the fold with full transcript):
Here's something you don't see every day: a prominent anchor from CNN offering the same opinion as a prominent anchor from Fox News.
Such seems even less likely when the subject involves President Obama, but that's exactly what happened on Thursday's Steve Malzberg Show on WOR radio.
The conservative host spoke separately to FNC's Bret Baier and CNN's John King about the following remarks Obama made during Wednesday's press conference:
I should say at the outset that Skip Gates is a friend, so I may be a little biased here. I don`t know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that, but I think it`s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry. Number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home. And number three, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident, is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. That`s just a fact.
While interviewing the daughter of arrested Harvard Professor Henry Gates on Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith wondered: "Is there something in this that says, ‘I'm not going to take this’?...In speaking with your father, was he hurt by this?...Was his heart broken by it?" [audio available here]
Elizabeth Gates, a writer for the DailyBeast.com, declared that: "I think for anybody, you know, who is violated in their own home in that way, I think they would, you know, also call on their own defenses...My father was so sad about this, and again because he's always – you know, my father might be one of the last black men on earth who actually believed in the justice system." It would seem that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas still believes in the American justice system.
Gates, whose father was arrested for disorderly conduct after breaking into his own home, went on to explain: "You know, my father is a proponent of, you know, intellectualism can help you outrun the – the war on race. And I think the incident last week is a clear indication that that's not yet true...You know, he believes in following the rules, and when they're broken, it kind of disturbs his sense of security. And yeah, he was deeply heartbroken. I was not surprised, but he was very surprised."
ABC’s George Stephanopoulos giddily appraised President Obama during Thursday’s Good Morning America: “It’s clear, listening to the President last night, that he knows his stuff. He knows health care policy.” He also predicted that the passage of the Democrat’s health care “reform” plan was “closer” after the presser, despite his later admission that it had been delayed until after August.
The This Week anchor appeared early in the 7 am hour to analyze the press conference. GMA anchor Diane Sawyer first asked: “Closer to a health care bill this morning or further away?” Stephanopoulos replied: “Closer -- and it’s clear -- listening to the President last night, that he knows his stuff. He knows health care policy. I also think he made a strong case against the status quo. We just couldn’t keep doing what we’re doing right now.”
The only negative remark that the former Clinton administration official made was in analyzing the President’s success in forwarding his plan. Stephanopoulos hinted that the blame belonged more with Congress: “I think he was less successful...in selling what he wants to do in part because...he doesn’t have a single plan to sell right now.”
(UPDATE: The Boston Globe has now posted what it calls a redacted revised docket although it is described as a "police report" at the left side link on its site. And redacted it certainly is since it has redacted out almost the entire narrative section of the original report. To read the full highly revealing narrative, check out the original police report.)
A little tip for anyone who gets stopped by a police officer for a possible traffic violation. Be polite. Very polite. Even if you think you were wrongly stopped, do not under any circumstances start yelling at the police officer. Follow this advice and your chances of being given a traffic ticket, instead of just a warning, go way down. The same applies for any encounter with a police officer because the surest way to get yourself arrested is to act arrogantly and aggressively when questioned. Whatever you do, do not act like the arrestee in the Henry Louis Gates police report.
That Cambridge, MA police report presents such a damning picture of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates when he was arrested that an embarrassed Boston Globe felt it had to scrub it from its website after initially posting the report. The Globe published an article about the Gates arrest written by Tracy Jan which does refer to the police report but, unfortunately, you can no longer read the full report on the Boston Globe site since it has been removed by that newspaper. Here are a couple of Boston Globe excerpts that do refer to the deleted police report: