John Stewart and the Epic Fox News Takedown on Ferguson

By YeOldeScribe ~ August 30th, 2014 @ 2:47 pm

At Political Progressives, we have a mixed opinion on The Daily Show. We’re disappointed that people are increasingly using his comedy show (and The Colbert Report) as their source of daily news. This is frustrating because Stewart and Colbert would be the first to tell you that their shows are not news shows at all. That being said, we can’t say enough good things about John Stewart. In an era where many think the media has too much power and can say anything it wants unchecked, Stewart proves that not only can you critique the media, you can do it in a humorous manner that attracts millions of viewers every day.

We’ve linked to some of Stewart’s better rants before, but this time we’ll just embed the video. His tirade from earlier this week was one of his best, in our opinion. Yes, it’s 10 minutes long. Yes, you really need to watch it:

The Daily Show
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Wow. That last sentence especially. Just perfect.

In case you didn’t know (or haven’t scrolled down to the bottom of the page ever), our writer is a middle aged white guy. For that reason, he’s refrained from commenting on what’s going on in Ferguson for the most part. He feels that he doesn’t have the cultural background to truly understand the complexities surrounding what’s happening in the city. Honestly, more people from all cultural backgrounds should probably be using discretion here.

So instead of opining about what should or should not be done, or who’s to blame, or anything of that nature, we’re going to talk about questions we have surrounding Ferguson. We’re not going to attempt to answer them. We doubt we could. But it’s important to ask questions no matter what culture you’re from so you can better understand what’s happening in the world around you.

Question One: Why was an unarmed black teenager shot multiple times if he did indeed have his hands in the air? There’s so much about this case we’ll never know the truth about because police in Ferguson don’t have cameras on themselves or in their cars. (Side note: we really need to make that happen in precincts nationwide. They’re statistically proven to be effective.) But there are several things we do know for sure. Michael Brown was a black teenager who was unarmed at the time of the shooting. Darren Wilson was a white police officer who shot him multiple times from a distance. Those facts are not in dispute. Before we talk about anything else, let’s just stop there. As Stewart said, it’s not playing the race card to state the facts of the case. Of course, there’s other facts to the case that need to be mentioned. Brown had allegedly committed a robbery, although Wilson didn’t know that at the time. There was a struggle in the police car, although it’s unknown who started it or how the first shot was fired. In the end, all we know for sure is that Wilson shot Brown multiple times from a distance and that Brown was unarmed.

Question Two: Why did shots need to be fired? Another fact not in dispute is that the original confrontation between Brown and Wilson was because Brown and a friend were walking in the middle of the street. The officer described this as “blocking traffic”. Now, let’s evaluate this. Brown was clearly a big guy. But no matter how big two guys are, that’s not enough to block traffic. Were they inconveniencing traffic? Possibly. But at best, that’s a reason to roll down your window and politely ask the kids to go to the sidewalk if you happen to be driving by. The police have stated that Wilson was dispatched to the area because of the offense. Really? In Ferguson, the cops are sent out for jaywalking? Already, their story is fishy, and we haven’t even gotten to the confrontation in the police car, much less the shooting. Now, no one denies that a confrontation took place, but both sides point fingers at each other when assigning the blame. A shot was fired in the car, but we don’t know why. Then Brown is away from the car and the officer uses lethal force to take Brown down. Why? The officer was not in danger anymore. If he needed to apprehend Brown, he should have done that instead of using lethal force. The police have had about a month to explain why shots needed to be fired and they haven’t done it yet. Which leads us to…

Question Three: Why hasn’t a full police report (including a description of what happened) been released yet? One of the reasons we know so little about what happened is because information has only come out through press releases and official statements. The police finally did make an official report, but it doesn’t contain a narrative that most official police reports contain. Wilson has said he’s not going to talk about what happened because his lawyer has told him not to. We’re sorry, Ferguson Police Department and Officer Wilson. That’s not good enough. The bottom line is Wilson took a man’s life, and the public deserves to know why. If there isn’t a good reason why, then Officer Wilson needs to be charged. In the end, we think that’s one of the the root causes of the discontent. No one knows why Wilson fired his weapon. If there was some reason, some justification given, we don’t think the protests would have gotten so out of hand. But there wasn’t. That’s why you hear chants like “No justice, No peace.” If the police really wanted to calm things down, they’d be providing answers instead of upping their arsenal.

Now, we’ve been very critical of the police force here. But as Stewart pointed out, we should be. It’s their job to protect and serve, not to act as over-handed thugs patrolling the streets. Of course, we’ve got other questions we want to ask too, especially about what justice and peace really means. We’ll save that for next week.

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