Crime

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  • Fox News Revives "Black-On-Black Crime" Canard To Dismiss Black Lives Matter Movement

    ››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN

    Fox News invoked "black-on-black crime" in its ongoing attempt to dismiss the concerns of the Black Lives Matter movement, which aims to shine a spotlight on police violence in black communities. Experts have thoroughly dismantled the "black-on-black crime" deflection, pointing out that intra-racial crime is not unique to black communities and that "black-on-black crime" reduces a complex history of institutionalized racism and segregation to one phenomenon. Meanwhile, African Americans are more than twice as likely to be killed by police -- and almost twice as likely to be unarmed -- than their white counterparts.

  • Vox Exposes Fox News' Groundless Attempt To Connect Black Lives Matter To Shooting Of Texas Police Officer

    Blog ››› ››› NICHOLAS ROGERS

    "There's nothing linking Black Lives Matter to a Texas cop's death" over the weekend, Vox explained, yet that didn't stop Fox News from using the tragic murder to repeatedly smear the racial justice movement.

    On August 29, Texas deputy sheriff Darren H. Goforth was shot at point-blank range at a gas station outside Houston. The investigation into possible motives is still ongoing, but the alleged shooter had a criminal record as well as a history of mental health problems. In a press conference following Deputy Goforth's death, the Harris county sheriff blamed anti-police rhetoric for a possible factor in the murder, saying "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?"

    Fox News pounced on the tragedy to link Black Lives Matter to the deputy's death and smear the movement, repeatedly citing the crime to brand Black Lives Matter a "hate group." The network painted the movement as "the real culprit" despite there being "absolutely no established connection between the Black Lives Matter movement and the Harris County deputy's death," as Vox pointed out on September 1:

    Despite any solid leads and facts about the motives in the shooting of 10-year deputy veteran Darren Goforth, some conservative media outlets and local law enforcement officials have already settled on the real culprit: Black Lives Matter.

    [...]

    Goforth's death is an enormous tragedy that merits the attention it's getting. But the rush to link his death to a movement focused on creating a more equal criminal justice system exposes some of the misconceptions and misleading criticisms surrounding the movement.

    The goals and message of Black Lives Matter have nothing to do with harming police officers in any way. The movement is explicitly concerned with reducing the racial disparities found in the criminal justice system. None of its leaders have advocated for killing cops.

    [...]

    Currently, there is also absolutely no established connection between the Black Lives Matter movement and the Harris County deputy's death. But that didn't stop local officials from drawing a link.

    [...]

    If there's no information about the motive, how can officials make any connection between the shooting and any movement, whether it's Black Lives Matter or something else? It's just blind speculation at this point.

    But Fox News went with the narrative.

    [...]

    By the sheriff's own admission, there's nothing establishing a motive or linking Black Lives Matter to the shooting. But by making the connection in his remarks, he planted the seeds that critics of Black Lives Matter and outlets like Fox News needed to cultivate and grow their big plant of bullshit.

    It's not just Fox News -- other reports painted narratives that put Black Lives Matter and police as inherently in conflict. A CNN report, for instance, described Black Lives Matter's advocacy as "anti-police rhetoric." What does it say about American society that advocating for black lives and ending racial disparities in the criminal justice system would qualify not as pro-equality but as anti-police?

  • Intelligence Experts Debunk Speculation That Hillary Clinton Could Face Criminal Action For Email Use

    Blog ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    There's no evidence Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton or her aides violated any laws with her use of a private email server while secretary of state, according to government secrecy experts cited by the Associated Press.

    Conservative media have tried their best to spin Clinton's email use into accusations that she committed a crime by mishandling classified information, even baselessly comparing her to those who did, such as former Gen. David Petraeus and John Deutch, despite the fact that this smear has been debunked.

    Yet intelligence and government secrecy law experts refute claims that Clinton could face criminal action for the handling of her emails, according to the Associated Press on August 31. As AP explained, "[T]o prove a crime, the government would have to demonstrate that Clinton or aides knew they were mishandling the information -- not that she should have known," and as one expert noted, "A case would be possible if material emerges that is so sensitive Clinton must have known it was highly classified, whether marked or not," but "no such email has surfaced":

    Experts in government secrecy law see almost no possibility of criminal action against Hillary Clinton or her top aides in connection with now-classified information sent over unsecure email while she was secretary of state, based on the public evidence thus far.

    Some Republicans, including leading GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, have called Clinton's actions criminal and compared her situation to that of David Petraeus, the former CIA director who was prosecuted after giving top secret information to his paramour. Others have cited the case of another past CIA chief, John Deutch, who took highly classified material home.

    But in both of those cases, no one disputed that the information was highly classified and in many cases top secret. Petraeus pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor; Deutch was pardoned by President Bill Clinton.

    By contrast, there is no evidence of emails stored in Hillary Clinton's private server bearing classified markings. State Department officials say they don't believe that emails she sent or received included material classified at the time. And even if other government officials dispute that assertion, it is extremely difficult to prove anyone knowingly mishandled secrets.

    [...]

    Although political controversy has centered on Clinton's use of private email instead of an unsecured government account, the distinction matters little in the context of classified information. Clinton says State Department rules allowed her to use private email and officials knew about it.

  • Prosecutor Who Led Conviction Of Petraeus: Comparison With Hillary Clinton's Email Use "Has No Merit"

    Blog ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    In an August 30 USA Today opinion piece, the former U.S. attorney who oversaw the prosecution of retired Gen. David Petraeus for mishandling classified state secrets debunked the false comparison by conservative media of Hillary Clinton's email use to Petraeus' actions, explaining that the "comparison has no merit" because "Petraeus knowingly engaged in unlawful conduct" and "Clinton is not being investigation for knowingly sending or receiving classified materials improperly."

    Right-wing media frequently hype what they claim are similarities between the two cases, despite the fact that columnists and thought leaders in mainstream media have dismissed it as "inapt," and experts insist "there's no comparison between the Clinton email issue and the Petraeus case."

    Writing in USA Today, Anne M. Tomkins, the former U.S. attorney who oversaw the prosecution of Petraeus (and current Hillary Clinton campaign donor), effectively dismantled conservative media's comparison, explaining, "Unlike Petraeus, Clinton did not 'knowingly' store or share classified information in violation of the law":

    Both the law and his oath required Petraeus to mark these books as "top secret" and to store them in a Secured Compartmented Information Facility. He did neither.

    Rather, Petraeus allowed his biographer to take possession of the journals in order to use them as source material for his biography.

    Importantly, Petraeus was well aware of the classified contents in his journals, saying to his biographer, Paula Broadwell on tape, "I mean, they are highly classified, some of them. They don't have it on it, but I mean there's code word stuff in there."

    When questioned by the FBI, Petraeus lied to agents in responding that he had neither improperly stored nor improperly provided classified information to his biographer. As Mukasey also highlighted, the key element is that Petraeus' conduct was done "knowingly." That is, when he stored his journals containing "highly classified" information at his home, he did so knowingly. Petraeus knew at that time that there was classified information in the journals, and he knew they were stored improperly.

    In sharp contrast, Clinton is not being investigated for knowingly sending or receiving classified materials improperly.

    Indeed, the State Department has confirmed that none of the information that has surfaced on Clinton's server thus far was classified at the time it was sent or received. Additionally, the Justice Department indicated that its inquiry is not a criminal one and that Clinton is not the subject of the inquiry.

  • Fox News Criticizes Obama For Advocating Gun Reform After Virginia Shooting Victim's Father Makes The Same Point -- On Fox News

    ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN

    Fox News figures attacked President Obama's new call for gun safety measures after a gunman killed two journalists as they delivered a live TV report in Virginia, saying Obama's remarks were "too soon" and was "politicizing tragedy." This comes a day after the father of one of the shooting victims also called for gun safety measures during an appearance on Fox News.