🎧 Face the Racist Nation | On The Media | WNYC Studios

Listened Face the Racist Nation from On The Media | WNYC Studios

An investigation into the media's coverage of white supremacist groups.

For more than a year, Lois Beckett [@loisbeckett], senior reporter at The Guardian US, has been showing up at white nationalist rallies, taking their pictures, writing down what they say. And she finds herself thinking: How did we get here? How did her beat as a political reporter come to include interviewing Nazis? And what are the consequences of giving these groups this much coverage?

In this week's program, we revisit this deep dive into what the news media often get wrong about white supremacists, and what those errors expose about the broader challenge of confronting racism in America.

1. Elle Reeve [@elspethreeve], correspondent for VICE News, Anna Merlan [@annamerlan], reporter for Gizmodo Media’s special projects desk, Vegas Tenold [@Vegastenold], journalist and author of Everything You Love Will Burn, and Al Letson [@Al_Letson], host of Reveal, from The Center for Investigative Reporting, on the pitfalls and perils of covering white supremacist groups. Listen.

2. Felix Harcourt [@FelixHistory], professor of history at Austin College and author of "Ku Klux Kulture," on the history of the Ku Klux Klan in the press in the 1920s. Listen.

3. Anna Merlan, Elle Reeve, Al Letson, Gary Younge [@garyyounge], editor-at-large for The Guardian, and Josh Harkinson [@joshharkinson], former senior writer at Mother Jones, on how individual identity impacts reporting on discriminatory movements. Listen.

4. Ibram X. Kendi [@DrIbram], professor of history and international relations at American University and author of "Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America," on the enduring myths surrounding the perpetuation of racist ideas and whose interests these misconceptions serve. Listen.

A stunning story and solidly great reporting. I heard the end of this on the radio a few weeks ago and circled back to listen to it a second time. I hope all journalists working in politics take a close look at it.

I particularly liked the Ibram X. Kendi portion of the interview and am ordering his book Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which was a National Book Award Winner.

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🎧 “The Hug Heard Round the World” Season 3 Episode 6 | Revisionist History

Listened “The Hug Heard Round the World” Season 3 Episode 6 by Malcolm Gladwell from Revisionist History

"Q: Was there a period where you felt you had something to prove? A: The first 45 years of my life."

Sammy Davis Junior was one of the world’s greatest entertainers for the better part of half a century. He was black. But he thought the best way to succeed in the world was to act as if he wasn’t. Did we judge him too harshly?

I’m always astounded by some of the finer points that Gladwell comes up with. Taking a look back at this bit of history has a wonderfully enlightening idea. I was near tears at the end of the Roast segment.

I can also certainly relate to the idea of changing myself so as not to be an “outsider”.

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🎧 “General Chapman's Last Stand” Season 3 Episode 5 | Revisionist History

Listened “General Chapman's Last Stand” Season 3 Episode 5 by Malcolm Gladwell from Revisionist History

"Good fences make good neighbors. Or maybe not."

General Leonard Chapman guided the Marines Corp through some of the most difficult years in its history. He was brilliant, organized, decisive and indefatigable. Then he turned his attention to the America’s immigration crisis. You think you want effective leadership? Be careful what you wish for.

A piece of history I was surprised to not have heard about with relation to current immigration policy. Also a great example of how policy makers need to be able to think 20 steps into the potential futures to realize the ramifications of what they’re doing an the effects it will have on future generations.

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👓 U.S. put its Silent Sams on pedestals. Germany honored not the defeated but the victims. | Washington Post

Read U.S. put its Silent Sams on pedestals. Germany honored not the defeated but the victims. by Waitman Wade BeornWaitman Wade Beorn (Washington Post)
Two starkly contrasting approaches to remembering troubled histories
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📺 Booker: ‘I’m knowingly violating the rules’ and releasing documents | Washington Post

Watched Booker: 'I'm knowingly violating the rules' and releasing documents from Washington Post
On the third day of Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing Sept. 6, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said he would break Senate rules and release confidential committee documents.
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👓 The End of History? | Francis Fukuyama

Read The End of History? by Francis FukuyamaFrancis Fukuyama (The National Interest | No. 16 (Summer 1989), pp. 3-18)

IN WATCHING the flow of events over the past decade or so, it is hard to avoid the feeling that something very fundamental has happened in world history. The past year has seen a flood of articles commemorating the end of the Cold War, and the fact that "peace" seems to be breaking out in many regions of the world. Most of these analyses lack any larger conceptual framework for distinguishing between what is essential and what is contingent or accidental in world history, and are predictably superficial. If Mr. Gorbachev were ousted from the Kremlin or a new Ayatollah proclaimed the millennium from a desolate Middle Eastern capital, these same commentators would scramble to announce the rebirth of a new era of conflict.

And yet, all of these people sense dimly that there is some larger process at work, a process that gives coherence and order to the daily headlines. The twentieth century saw the developed world descend into a paroxysm of ideological violence, as liberalism contended first with the remnants of absolutism, then bolshevism and fascism, and finally an updated Marxism that threatened to lead to the ultimate apocalypse of nuclear war. But the century that began full of self-confidence in the ultimate triumph of Western liberal democracy seems at its close to be returning full circle to where it started: not to an "end of ideology" or a convergence between capitalism and socialism, as earlier predicted, but to an unabashed victory of economic and political liberalism.

In general, while I’ve been reading Stuart Kauffmann’s At Home in the Universe, I can’t help but thinking about the cascading extinctions he describes and wonder if political extinctions of ideas like Communism or other forms of government or even economies might follow the same types of outcomes described there?   
August 29, 2018 at 09:37AM

Building on this, could we create a list of governments and empires and rank them in order of the length of their spans? There may be subtleties in changes of regimes in some eras, but generally things are probably reasonably well laid out. I wonder if the length of life of particular governments follows a power law? One would suspect it might.   
August 29, 2018 at 09:43AM

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

The triumph of the West, of the Western idea, is evident first of all in the total exhaustion of viable systematic alternatives to Western liberalism.  

Total exhaustion?
August 29, 2018 at 08:53AM

What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of postwar history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.  

What if, in fact, we’ve only just found a local maximum? What if in the changing landscape there are other places we could potentially get to competitively that supply greater maxima? And possibly worse, what if we need to lose value to get from here to unlock even more value there?
August 29, 2018 at 08:56AM

Hegel believed that history culminated in an absolute moment – a moment in which a final, rational form of society and state became victorious.  

and probably not a bad outcome in an earlier era that thought of things in terms of clockwork and lacked the ideas of quantum theory and its attendant uncertainties.
August 29, 2018 at 08:59AM

Believing that there was no more work for philosophers as well, since Hegel (correctly understood) had already achieved absolute knowledge, Kojève left teaching after the war and spent the remainder of his life working as a bureaucrat in the European Economic Community, until his death in 1968.  

This is depressing on so many levels.
August 29, 2018 at 09:05AM

Paul Kennedy’s hugely successful “The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers”, which ascribes the decline of great powers to simple economic overextension.  

Curious how this may relate to the more recent “The End of Power” by Moisés Naím. It doesn’t escape one that the title of the book somewhat echoes the title of this particular essay.
August 29, 2018 at 09:18AM

But whether a highly productive modern industrial society chooses to spend 3 or 7 percent of its GNP on defense rather than consumption is entirely a matter of that society’s political priorities, which are in turn determined in the realm of consciousness.  

It’s not so much the percentage on produced defense goods, but how quickly could a society ramp up production of goods, services, and people to defend itself compared to the militaries of its potential aggressors.

In particular, most of the effort should go to the innovation side of war materiel. The innovation of the atomic bomb is a particularly nice example in that as a result of conceptualizing and then executing on it it allowed the US to win the war in the Pacific and hasten the end of war in Europe. Even if we otherwise had massive stockpiles of people or other weapons, our enemies could potentially have equaled them and dragged the war on interminably. It was the unknown unknown via innovation that unseated Japan and could potentially do the same to us based on innovation coming out of almost any country in the modern age.
August 29, 2018 at 09:24AM

Weber notes that according to any economic theory that posited man as a rational profit-maximizer, raising the piece-work rate should increase labor productivity. But in fact, in many traditional peasant communities, raising the piece-work rate actually had the opposite effect of lowering labor productivity: at the higher rate, a peasant accustomed to earning two and one-half marks per day found he could earn the same amount by working less, and did so because he valued leisure more than income. The choices of leisure over income, or of the militaristic life of the Spartan hoplite over the wealth of the Athenian trader, or even the ascetic life of the early capitalist entrepreneur over that of a traditional leisured aristocrat, cannot possibly be explained by the impersonal working of material forces,  

Science could learn something from this. Science is too far focused on the idealized positive outcomes that it isn’t paying attention to the negative outcomes and using that to better define its outline or overall shape. We need to define a scientific opportunity cost and apply it to the negative side of research to better understand and define what we’re searching for.

Of course, how can we define a new scientific method (or amend/extend it) to better take into account negative results–particularly in an age when so many results aren’t even reproducible?
August 29, 2018 at 09:32AM

FAILURE to understand that the roots of economic behavior lie in the realm of consciousness and culture leads to the common mistake of attributing material causes to phenomena that are essentially ideal in nature.  

August 29, 2018 at 09:44AM

“Protestant” life of wealth and risk over the “Catholic” path of poverty and security.[8]   

Is this simply a restatement of the idea that most of “the interesting things” happen at the border or edge of chaos? The Catholic ethic is firmly inside the stable arena while that of the Protestant ethic is pushing the boundaries.
August 29, 2018 at 09:47AM

Hence it did not matter to Kojève that the consciousness of the postwar generation of Europeans had not been universalized throughout the world; if ideological development had in fact ended, the homogenous state would eventually become victorious throughout the material world.  

This presupposes that homeostasis could ever be achieved.

One thinks of phrases like “The future is here, it just isn’t evenly distributed.” But everything we know about systems and evolving systems often indicates that homeostasis isn’t necessarily a good thing. In many cases, it means eventual “death” instead of evolving towards a longer term lifespan. Again, here Kauffmann’s ideas about co-evolving systems and evolving landscapes may provide some guidance. What if we’re just at a temporary local maximum, but changes in the landscape modify that fact? What then? Shouldn’t we be looking for other potential distant maxima as well?
August 29, 2018 at 09:52AM

But that state of consciousness that permits the growth of liberalism seems to stabilize in the way one would expect at the end of history if it is underwritten by the abundance of a modern free market economy.  

Writers spend an awful lot of time focused too carefully on the free market economy, but don’t acknowledge a lot of the major benefits of the non-free market parts which are undertaken and executed often by governments and regulatory environments. (Hacker & Pierson, 2016)
\August 29, 2018 at 10:02AM

Are there, in other words, any fundamental “contradictions” in human life that cannot be resolved in the context of modern liberalism, that would be resolvable by an alternative political-economic structure?  

Churchill famously said “…democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time…”

Even within this quote it is implicit that there are many others. In some sense he’s admitting that we might possibly be at a local maximum but we’ve just not explored the spaces beyond the adjacent possible.
August 29, 2018 at 10:08AM

For our purposes, it matters very little what strange thoughts occur to people in Albania or Burkina Faso, for we are interested in what one could in some sense call the common ideological heritage of mankind.  

While this seems solid on it’s face, we don’t know what the future landscape will look like. What if climate change brings about massive destruction of homo sapiens? We need to be careful about how and why we explore both the adjacent possible as well as the distant possible. One day we may need them and our current local maximum may not serve us well.
August 29, 2018 at 10:10AM

anomie  

I feel like this word captures very well the exact era of Trumpian Republicanism in which we find ourselves living.
August 29, 2018 at 10:37AM

After the war, it seemed to most people that German fascism as well as its other European and Asian variants were bound to self-destruct. There was no material reason why new fascist movements could not have sprung up again after the war in other locales, but for the fact that expansionist ultranationalism, with its promise of unending conflict leading to disastrous military defeat, had completely lost its appeal. The ruins of the Reich chancellery as well as the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed this ideology on the level of consciousness as well as materially, and all of the pro-fascist movements spawned by the German and Japanese examples like the Peronist movement in Argentina or Subhas Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army withered after the war.  

And yet somehow we see these movements anew in America and around the world. What is the difference between then and now?
August 29, 2018 at 11:46AM

This is not to say that there are not rich people and poor people in the United States, or that the gap between them has not grown in recent years. But the root causes of economic inequality do not have to do with the underlying legal and social structure of our society, which remains fundamentally egalitarian and moderately redistributionist, so much as with the cultural and social characteristics of the groups that make it up, which are in turn the historical legacy of premodern conditions.  

August 29, 2018 at 11:47AM

But those who believe that the future must inevitably be socialist tend to be very old, or very marginal to the real political discourse of their societies.  

and then there are the millennials…
August 29, 2018 at 11:51AM

Beginning with the famous third plenum of the Tenth Central Committee in 1978, the Chinese Communist party set about decollectivizing agriculture for the 800 million Chinese who still lived in the countryside. The role of the state in agriculture was reduced to that of a tax collector, while production of consumer goods was sharply increased in order to give peasants a taste of the universal homogenous state and thereby an incentive to work. The reform doubled Chinese grain output in only five years, and in the process created for Deng Xiaoping a solid political base from which he was able to extend the reform to other parts of the economy. Economic Statistics do not begin to describe the dynamism, initiative, and openness evident in China since the reform began.  

August 29, 2018 at 11:58AM

At present, no more than 20 percent of its economy has been marketized, and most importantly it continues to be ruled by a self-appointed Communist party which has given no hint of wanting to devolve power.  

If Facebook were to continue to evolve at it’s current rate and with it’s potential power as well as political influence, I could see it attempting to work the way China does in a new political regime.
August 29, 2018 at 12:04PM

IF WE ADMIT for the moment that the fascist and communist challenges to liberalism are dead, are there any other ideological competitors left? Or put another way, are there contradictions in liberal society beyond that of class that are not resolvable? Two possibilities suggest themselves, those of religion and nationalism.  

August 29, 2018 at 12:19PM

This school in effect applies a Hobbesian view of politics to international relations, and assumes that aggression and insecurity are universal characteristics of human societies rather than the product of specific historical circumstances.  

August 29, 2018 at 12:30PM

But whatever the particular ideological basis, every “developed” country believed in the acceptability of higher civilizations ruling lower ones  

August 29, 2018 at 12:37PM

Perhaps this very prospect of centuries of boredom at the end of history will serve to get history started once again.  

Has it started again with nationalism, racism, and Trump?
August 29, 2018 at 12:48PM

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🎧 ‘The Daily’: How Separating Migrant Families Became U.S. Policy | New York Times

Listened ‘The Daily’: How Separating Migrant Families Became U.S. Policy by Michael Barbaro, Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Michael D. Shear from nytimes.com

President Trump has blamed Democrats for his administration’s practice of taking children from their parents at the border. Why is one of his top aides, Stephen Miller, claiming credit?

On June 7, Julie Hirschfeld Davis and I interviewed Stephen Miller, President Trump’s senior policy adviser, in his West Wing office about the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy at the border, which has led to heartbreaking images of children being forcibly separated from their families. Here are some key points from that interview.

1. The zero-tolerance policy grew out of a desire to end what Mr. Miller calls “crippling loopholes” that attract illegal immigrants into the United States.

From where Mr. Miller sits, illegal immigration is driven by a belief among people outside the United States that those who make it across the border will be allowed to stay indefinitely. “The success rate is the predominant factor that drives illegal migration,” he told us. By instituting a zero-tolerance policy, Mr. Miller said, the administration is sending a message that should reduce the flow of illegal immigration into the country. He conceded that the policy has not reduced the immigration numbers, but said, “It’ll take a few months of sustained effort.”

2. Anything less than zero tolerance at the border creates what Mr. Miller calls “perverse” incentives for lawbreakers.

Mr. Miller used the example of speeding laws in the United States. Imagine, he said, if the police decided that speeding laws didn’t apply to people who have a child in the back seat. “Could you imagine what the consequences of that would be? Well, one thing, a lot more child endangerment,” he said, comparing the situation to the lack of enforcement of illegal border crossings under prior administrations.

3. Continuing policies in place during the Obama administration would cause what Mr. Miller called a “vicious cycle” that would increase illegal immigration.

Mr. Miller said a “giant hemispheric shift in migration patterns” was driving people toward the United States, which he said must respond with tighter borders. He said Obama-era policies would allow the number of immigrants to “spiral upward endlessly.” Using a favorite phrase, Mr. Miller said: “So you have to turn the ship. And so again, it’s a whole-of-government approach.”

4. Zero tolerance at the border will keep out dangerous illegal immigrants who would otherwise “grievously harm innocent Americans,” Mr. Miller said.

Reading from a list of arrests in Philadelphia in May 2017, Mr. Miller recounted the crimes committed by illegal immigrants: murder, child neglect, negligent manslaughter, car theft, prostitution, racketeering, rape. “It is impossible to take moral lectures from people like the mayor of Philadelphia, who dance in jubilant celebration over ‘sanctuary cities,’ when you had innocent Americans, U.S.-born and foreign, who are victimized on a daily basis because of illegal immigration,” Mr. Miller said.

5. Trump administration officials believe Americans will support their zero-tolerance policies over what Mr. Miller calls the “nihilism” of the Democratic agenda.

Mr. Miller said he believed the issue of border security, even with the controversy over family separations, was a “90-10” issue for Mr. Trump and his Republican allies. He predicted that voters in November would reject “the Democrats’ open-borders extremism,” adding that Democrats had adopted “a point of view so radical that it can really only be described as absolute nihilism.”

On today’s episode:

Background coverage:

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🎧 ‘The Daily’: Part 5 of ‘Charm City’: What’s Behind the Black Box? | New York Times

Listened ‘The Daily’: Part 5 of ‘Charm City’: What’s Behind the Black Box? by Sabrina Tavernise from nytimes.com

The relatives of a Baltimore teenager think they know the name of the police officer who killed him. But when his mother finally sees the surveillance video of his death, a new story emerges.

Every day this week, we’ve brought you the story of Lavar Montray Douglas, known as Nook, who was fatally shot by a police officer in Baltimore in 2016. His family has been searching for answers ever since.

Part 5 is the conclusion of our series. We talk to Nook’s mother, Toby Douglas, about how grief has changed her. She tried joining a support group for mothers, many of whom now fight to stop gun violence. But her son had a gun, and he was shooting it.

Toby and her mother, Davetta Parker, think they know the name of the police officer who killed Nook. They’ve heard it around the streets. We visit him at his home in the suburbs, and he’s not at all who we expected.

Nook would have turned 20 in late May. We drive with Toby to tie balloons at his grave and to a stop sign at the corner of Windsor Avenue and North Warwick Avenue, where he was killed. She often goes there to feel close to Nook, sometimes sleeping in her car at the intersection.

One day, Toby gets a phone call. It’s the police. They want to show her the complete surveillance video of Nook’s final moments.

If you’d like to start from the beginning, here are Part 1Part 2Part 3 and Part 4.

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🎧 ‘The Daily’: Part 4 of ‘Charm City’: The Police Scandal That Shook Baltimore | New York City

Listened ‘The Daily’: Part 4 of ‘Charm City’: The Police Scandal That Shook Baltimore by Sabrina Tavernise from New York Times

As the Baltimore Police Department tried to repair its public image, a corruption trial exposed the depths of misconduct: An elite group of officers had been stealing from residents.

Every day this week, we’re bringing you the story of the life and death of Lavar Montray Douglas, known as Nook. He was 18 years old when he was killed by a police officer in Baltimore in 2016, a year after Freddie Gray died in police custody.

In Part 4, we go to the heart of the problem with the Baltimore Police Department, beginning with the trial of officers from the Gun Trace Task Force — a plainclothes unit created during the peak of zero-tolerance policing — accused of stealing from residents for years. We talk to Leo Wise and Derek Hines, federal prosecutors nicknamed “the Twin Towers of Justice,” because they are both very tall and thin.

Their case started with a pair of heroin overdose deaths. As the case grew, it revealed a sprawling network of criminal activity, in which police officers used brass knuckles and baseball bats and went after drug dealers, because they kept cash. When those drug dealers complained, no one believed them.

The officers are now being sentenced. Over time, they stole hundreds of thousands of dollars. They planted guns and fabricated evidence. The city announced this week that it would have to re-examine around 1,700 cases that involved the task force.

If you’d like to start from the beginning, here are Part 1Part 2 and Part 3.

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🎧 The Daily: “Charm City,” Part 3: The Lure of the Streets | New York Times

Listened ‘The Daily’: Part 3 of ‘Charm City’: The Lure of the Streets by Sabrina Tavernise from nytimes.com

What happened to the generation caught between a crack epidemic that consumed their neighborhoods and the aggressive police tactics meant to fix the problem?

Nook spent the first few years of his life in an affluent suburb. But when he returned to Baltimore, he became part of a young generation caught between the crack epidemic and the aggressive police tactics meant to fix the problem.

For the past two days, we’ve been bringing you the story of the life and death of Lavar Montray Douglas, known as Nook. He was 18 years old when he was shot dead by a police officer in Baltimore in 2016.

In Part 3, we look at Nook’s childhood. He spent the first few years of his life with an aunt in an upper-middle-class home outside Baltimore, taking piano lessons and going to church every week. Yesterday, we learned that Nook’s mother, Toby Douglas, kept returning to Baltimore. The same thing happened to Nook.

We go to Nook’s Baltimore, to his corner on Calhoun Street and Pratt Street. Some of his friends are still there, and we talk to them about Nook’s life. He was ambitious, they say. A leader. His mother was proud of that.

Everybody was talking about the Baltimore police officers who had just been on trial, accused of stealing from drug dealers. You see, they said, we were right. The cops are robbers. We said this all along, but nobody believed us.

Suddenly, two police officers pull up, and we encounter something that seems to be emblematic of the changes in the Baltimore Police Department.

If you’d like to start from the beginning, here are Part 1 and Part 2.

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🎧 The Daily: “Charm City,” Part 2: The Legacy of Zero-Tolerance Policing | New York Times

Listened ‘The Daily’: Part 2 of ‘Charm City’: The Legacy of Zero-Tolerance Policing by Sabrina Tavernise from nytimes.com

How did trust between the police and the people in Baltimore collapse within the span of three generations?

Yesterday, we started telling you the story of Lavar Montray Douglas, known as Nook, an 18-year-old in Baltimore who was killed by the police in the spasm of violence that began after Freddie Gray died from injuries sustained while in police custody.

In Part 2, we visit Nook’s mother, Lashanda Douglas, known as Toby, in the house she moved into after her son was killed. She sits on the floor of her bedroom, partially covered by a large pile of clean clothes. She is grieving, and folding them and putting them away is soothing. We learn about her past. She graduated from high school with honors. She fled Baltimore to escape a bad boyfriend. But the city eventually lured her back.

We’ll also go back in time, to the Baltimore of Nook’s grandmother and great-grandmother, of flower pots and tidy blocks, when men were still part of families and middle-class jobs were plentiful. We’ll see that relations with the police weren’t always bad. But job loss and drugs tore through the city like plagues. And the policing idea of zero tolerance, transplanted from New York City, created an entire generation of young men with criminal records.

Every day this week, we’ll bring you a new chapter in Nook’s life and his family’s search for answers about his death. If you’d like to start from the beginning, here’s Part 1.

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🎧 Introducing ‘Charm City,’ a 5-Part Audio Series from ‘The Daily’ | New York Times

Listened Introducing ‘Charm City,’ a 5-Part Audio Series from ‘The Daily’ by Sabrina Tavernise from nytimes.com

A year after the killing of Freddie Gray, a teenager in Baltimore was fatally shot by the police. This is the story of his life and death, and of a grieving family looking for answers.

[Read a transcript of Part 1 of the series.]

As soon as I heard Davetta Parker’s voice, I knew I had to meet her. Her grandson Lavar Montray Douglas, known as Nook, was among seven young people from one high school in Baltimore who were killed in the spasm of violence that shook the city after the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died of a severe spinal cord injury while in police custody.

I cold-called her. She was sitting at her desk in a Baltimore public library. She said, “I think God sent you to me.” She said that she had so many questions about the death of her grandson, who had been shot by a police officer, and that she needed someone to help investigate, because the police never did. She said that she had written letters to news channels and newspapers, but that no one had written back. And there I was on the phone.

My colleague Lynsea Garrison and I spent four months examining Nook’s case. It took us on a journey from a quiet back room in the central library, where we first met Ms. Parker and her daughter Lashanda Douglas, known as Toby, into the streets of Baltimore, to drug corners, living rooms and grand homes in the county.

We wanted to tell his story for the simple reason that events like these are rarely told, even though they have become ordinary. Nook and his friends — many of whom have also been killed — were typical for homicide victims in Baltimore. They all had records with serious crimes. But they were boys. Most hadn’t even turned 18. And the deeper question in our minds was: How did things get like this for them?

You’ll meet Ms. Parker and Ms. Douglas in Part 1. Every day this week, we’ll bring you a new chapter in the life of Nook and his family’s search for answers about his death.

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🎧 Introducing ‘Charm City,’ a 5-Part Audio Series from ‘The Daily’ | New York Times

Listened Introducing ‘Charm City,’ a 5-Part Audio Series from ‘The Daily’ from nytimes.com

A year after the killing of Freddie Gray, a teenager in Baltimore was fatally shot by the police. This is the story of his life and death, and of a grieving family looking for answers.

[Read a transcript of Part 1 of the series.]

As soon as I heard Davetta Parker’s voice, I knew I had to meet her. Her grandson Lavar Montray Douglas, known as Nook, was among seven young people from one high school in Baltimore who were killed in the spasm of violence that shook the city after the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died of a severe spinal cord injury while in police custody.

I cold-called her. She was sitting at her desk in a Baltimore public library. She said, “I think God sent you to me.” She said that she had so many questions about the death of her grandson, who had been shot by a police officer, and that she needed someone to help investigate, because the police never did. She said that she had written letters to news channels and newspapers, but that no one had written back. And there I was on the phone.

My colleague Lynsea Garrison and I spent four months examining Nook’s case. It took us on a journey from a quiet back room in the central library, where we first met Ms. Parker and her daughter Lashanda Douglas, known as Toby, into the streets of Baltimore, to drug corners, living rooms and grand homes in the county.

We wanted to tell his story for the simple reason that events like these are rarely told, even though they have become ordinary. Nook and his friends — many of whom have also been killed — were typical for homicide victims in Baltimore. They all had records with serious crimes. But they were boys. Most hadn’t even turned 18. And the deeper question in our minds was: How did things get like this for them?

You’ll meet Ms. Parker and Ms. Douglas in Part 1. Every day this week, we’ll bring you a new chapter in the life of Nook and his family’s search for answers about his death.

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🎧 ‘The Daily’: Was Kevin Cooper Framed for Murder? | New York Times

Listened ‘The Daily’: Was Kevin Cooper Framed for Murder? by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

The sole survivor of an attack in which four people were murdered identified the perpetrators as three white men. The police ignored suspects who fit the description and arrested a young black man instead. He is now awaiting execution.

On today’s episode:

• Kevin Cooper, who has been on death row at San Quentin State Prison in California for three decades.

• Nicholas Kristof, a New York Times columnist who has written about Mr. Cooper’s case.

Background reading:

• The evidence against Mr. Cooper has largely been discredited, but Gov. Jerry Brown of California has refused to allow advanced DNA testing that may shed light on the case.

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👓 ‘Roseanne’ Canceled by ABC Hours After Racist Tweet by Roseanne Barr | New York Times

Read Roseanne Barr Incites Fury With Racist Tweet, and Her Show Is Canceled by ABC (nytimes.com)
Ms. Barr cited “The Planet of the Apes” in discussing Valerie Jarrett, a black woman and former adviser to President Barack Obama. ABC Entertainment’s president called it “abhorrent.”

 

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