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Politifact Rides to Warren’s and Harris’s Rescue on Michael Brown “Murder” Claims

Politifact Rides to Warren’s and Harris’s Rescue on Michael Brown “Murder” Claims

There’s a reason why Republicans believe Politifact is liberally biased in favor of Democrats: Because they are.

Last Friday was the 5 year anniversary of the shooting death of Michael Brown by Ferguson, MO police officer Darren Wilson.

The 2014 case was one that widened the racial divide across the country for a number of reasons, including media/Democrat-driven narratives like “hands up, don’t shoot” and “gentle giant” that were later found “not credible” by President Obama’s DOJ.

A number of presidential candidates noted the anniversary on their Twitter feeds, but the two from Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris (CA) and Elizabeth Warren (MA) in particular generated conservative outrage because they falsely claimed Brown was “murdered”:

Former Fox News “Special Report” host and veteran journalist Brit Hume was one of the more high-profile Twitter users who corrected the “murder” claim on the same day the two Senators posted their tweets:

Two days later, Hume called out the mainstream media and fact checkers who up until that point had turned a blind eye to the false claims about Michael Brown’s “murder” that Warren and Harris had made:

The following Monday, not one, not two, but three different outlets fact checked what Warren and Harris had asserted about Michael Brown’s death, including Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post, who gave them four pinocchios for their claims after doing a thorough reexamination of the Obama Justice Dept.’s 86-page investigative report on the incident. Here’s what Kessler concluded:

But Harris and Warren have ignored the findings of the Justice Department to accuse Wilson of murder, even though the Justice Department found no credible evidence to support that claim.

Instead, the Justice Department found that the popular narrative was wrong, according to witnesses deemed to be credible, some of whom testified reluctantly because of fear of reprisal. The department produced a comprehensive report to determine what happened, making the senators’ dismissal of it even more galling. Harris and Warren both earn Four Pinocchios.

FactCheck.org also investigated Harris’s and Warren’s claims by similarly reviewing the Obama DOJ’s report, and declared that the Senators were “wrong” to state Brown was “murdered”:

Harris, Warren Wrong About Brown Shooting

[…]

But on the issue of whether Wilson acted in self-defense in shooting Brown, the DOJ’s 86-page report said that he had.

The shots Wilson fired “were in self-defense and thus were not objectively unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment,” which prohibits unreasonable seizures and use of force, the report said. It concluded that Wilson’s “actions do not constitute prosecutable violations under the applicable federal criminal civil rights statute, 18 U.S.C. § 242, which prohibits uses of deadly force that are ‘objectively unreasonable,’ as defined by the United States Supreme Court.”

While the left-leaning Washington Post and FactCheck.org outlets typically feign neutrality in their reporting and analyses of various issues, Vox.com is admittedly run by leftists and even they took issue with what Warren and Harris tweeted about Brown’s death:

In other words, this wasn’t a murder or a federal civil rights violation, based on the evidence we have.

[…]

Five years after the shooting, though, major presidential campaigns are still getting the details wrong.

For the record, the Washington Post, FactCheck.org, and Vox.com all reached out to the Harris and Warren campaigns about this issue but as of this writing have not heard back.

With even the leftiest of left-wing websites and fact checkers taking Warren and Harris to task, you’d think the liberals at Politifact would feel free and clear to come to a similar conclusion. But they didn’t.

Here’s how they framed their fact check:

To Politifact, the use of certain words like “murder” are “open to some dispute” so we really can’t make a definitive judgement call on if using the word in the context Harris and Warren did is right or wrong:

Because the significance of Harris’ and Warrens’ use of the word is open to some dispute, we won’t be rating their tweets on the Truth-O-Meter.

Here are other assertions that were made about the use of the word “murder” by the esteemed geniuses at Politifact:

In discussing the case with legal experts, however, we found broad consensus that “murder” was the wrong word to use — a legal point likely familiar to Harris, a longtime prosecutor, and Warren, a law professor.

[…]

That said, experts who have studied police-related deaths and race relations said that focusing too much on the linguistics in controversial cases comes with its own set of problems.

“I don’t know if the legalistic distinction intensifies the anger, but it does feel like an attempt to shift the debate from a discussion about the killing of black and brown people by police,” said Jean Brown, who teaches communications at Texas Christian University and specializes in media representations of African Americans.

[…]

“There are clear instances of unjustifiable police killings of black men that amounted to murder,” [University of Missouri School of Law Frank O.] Bowman said. “If that’s the point one wants to make, one should do one’s homework and get the law and the facts right.”

Some legal experts argued that there’s a difference between being legally precise and using language more informally.

[…]

Finally, some cautioned that over-analyzing legal terminology can obscure the discussion of larger issues.

[…]

Joy Leopold, an assistant professor of media communications at Webster University in Missouri who has studied the Brown case, said it’s not uncommon for smaller issues such as legal terminology to crop up in controversial cases like this.

“Focusing on the language opens up the opportunity for some to discredit the conversation about police brutality and the criminal justice system in general,” Leopold said.

Hume and others ripped Politifact over their blatantly biased “fact check”:

This isn’t the first time, by the way, that Politifact has played defense for Democrats:

There’s a reason why Republicans believe Politifact is liberally biased in favor of Democrats: Because they are.

— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —

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Comments

PolitiSpin strikes again!

When you have a law professor and a former attorney general using the term “murder,” it’s ridiculous to say that they don’t know what the word means. They know exactly what it means, and they know that the facts show they are lying.

The statement “Because the significance of Harris’ and Warrens’ use of the word is open to some dispute, we won’t be rating their tweets on the Truth-O-Meter.” can be converted into plain English: “When someone we like tells a boldface lie, we won’t rate it because that would make them look bad.”

The recent shootings in Philadelphia show the kind of danger that Darren Wilson confronted when the much larger robber, Michael Brown, rushed him in a second attempt to take his gun and kill him with it. I’m sure that Harris and Warren are delighted at the fact that six Philly cops took bullets rather than shooting the criminal before he got the chance to shoot them. If the cops had shot the gunman first, Harris and Warren would have cried “Murder!”

    Milhouse in reply to OldProf2. | August 16, 2019 at 11:08 am

    A law professor and a former attorney general can be expected to be familiar with Letter Carriers v Austin and Greenbelt v Bresler, and know that “murder” doesn’t necessarily mean the legal elements of the crime. If confronted they would certainly say they meant it colloquially, hyperbolically, and refer you to those cases. But it doesn’t work, because Brown’s death doesn’t fit even the very loosest definition of “murder”.

Ferguson, the issue where the fascist-racist Obama administration showed just how far they were willing to go to push their narrative/agenda.
If a white cop is in fear of his life, and is being assaulted inside his own police car, and kills a black man that is ipso-facto murder. (You just couldn’t make that shit up.)
God can these fucked-up democrats become any crazier.

Right. Because “murder” is such a vague word. It could mean almost anything. Like, is he even really dead? How do we know? I mean, since words are violence, saying he was “murdered” could mean that people said bad things about him, y’know?

This is all so complicated it makes my head hurt. Instead of thinking about it, maybe I should run for president.

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | August 15, 2019 at 8:16 pm

Can’t Politident be sued?

I say we try having congress only meet for one month per year unless there is an emergency or war on the horizon.
Maybe the newspapers would find something to write about the birds would enjoy pooping on.

So ‘killed’, which is accurate is not inflammatory enough so Harris uses ‘murder’ and PoltiFact won’t call her on it because it deflects from the subject matter to use the lesser inflammatory word? That about cover it?

    JusticeDelivered in reply to kyrrat. | August 16, 2019 at 8:25 am

    I prefer the term lawfully terminated, as in put down like a rabid animal.

    I have several businesses, one of which is a farm. We raise some animals, occasionally there are defective ones which are put down immediately after birth, and there are varmints. Having to put them down is distasteful, but once done I give them no thought. That is the category Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown fall into.

Murder is the unlawful killing of another human being. As the shooting of Michael Brown was ruled to be legally justified, by every single agency which investigated it, it was obviously NOT murder.

But, Politifact has to do what it can to protect the Democrat candidates from their own inaccuracies and lies.

    venril in reply to Mac45. | August 20, 2019 at 6:53 am

    “… As the shooting of Michael Brown was ruled to be legally justified, by every single agency which investigated it, it was obviously NOT murder. …”

    Even Holder, who you know did all he could to find him guilty of a crime, couldn’t.

When a prog outfit uses terms like “analysis”, “fairness”, “fact”, or “science” –

They’re getting ready to tell you a whopper.

Free State Paul | August 15, 2019 at 10:36 pm

This being a LEGAL blog, perhaps someone could educate me.

Would it be feasible for people like Darren Wilson and George Zimmerman to sue (or threaten to sue) anyone who repeats the lie that they committed “murder”?

I’m thinking a boilerplate letter that demands a public retraction/apology or a big dollar suit. The goal is not to win big settlements, but to publicly humiliate the liars.

    Char Char Binks in reply to Free State Paul. | August 15, 2019 at 10:52 pm

    I don’t know, but celebrities can win defamation suits, but Nick Sandmann, George Zimmerman, and Darren Wilson can be made involuntary public figures and defamed by journos and leftist politicians with impunity, apparently.

      Free State Paul in reply to Char Char Binks. | August 15, 2019 at 11:01 pm

      But the aim would not be to win a big defamation suit. Rather, to give the defamer a choice between making a public apology and going to court. As they say, “sometimes the prosecution is the punishment.”

      As for Darren Wilson, George Zimmerman and others in the same situation. Their reputation is already lower than whale poop. What could they possibly have to lose?

        Occasional Thinker in reply to Free State Paul. | August 16, 2019 at 9:17 am

        “What could they possibly have to lose?”

        Someone would have to step up and pay the legal expenses. I have doubts either of them have the cash to pay attorney’s and court fees for an apology or to humiliate a public figure. A high potential of a large cash settlement is the only way this could move forward and even you seem to feel that would be a long shot.

    I would think its probably not worth his time to sue these blowhard race baiters. If he did sue he would be fighting not only against KamelTow and Pocahontas but also the Democrat media who will circle the wagons in their defence and do everything in their power to destroy his life even more.

      JusticeDelivered in reply to mailman. | August 16, 2019 at 8:32 am

      This is what Oberlin did, and it backfired on them big time. The same kind of thing needs to happen with race baiters, ghetto lottery seekers. There needs to be civil rights cases, where their tails are sued civilly and they are criminally prosecuted. Considering that these ases are large scale conspiracies how about RICO action?

The tort of defamation (slander, libel) exists to deal with situations like this. The choice lies in the hands of the accused officer whether to sue. I do not know his politics and how he might weigh the cost and potential benefit to him of perhaps obtaining a judgment against the possibility that suing either of the two senators (and anyone who repeats their claims or insists that their claims are true) would energize the progressive base, nor have I decided how I think the case would come out. We shall see.

    Char Char Binks in reply to RRRR. | August 15, 2019 at 10:56 pm

    Maybe he should wait until one of them wins the nomination. It could ruin the campaign for the Dems, with any luck.

Char Char Binks | August 15, 2019 at 10:49 pm

Trachtenberg’s grandmother was imprecise about what “crime”, so it’s okay for two lawyers running for president to defame Darren Wilson a murderer.

They need to sue

And they call themselves lawyers.

“How much should this word choice matter?”

There’s the left in a nut’s hell for you. “What’s the diff if we falsely accuse you of a capital crime?”

Politifact is absolutely correct that “murder” does not always mean the legal definition of that crime. Calling someone a murderer does not necessarily mean one is accusing them of having satisfied the legal elements of murder, let alone that sufficient evidence of this exists to justify a prosecution. If you feel that someone’s misconduct was responsible for another person’s death, you have the right to call them a murderer for it, and if they sue you for it they will lose, because that is a legitimate colloquial use of the word.

It’s exactly the same as “traitor”. The courts have established that calling someone a “traitor” does not mean one is saying they have committed the crime of treason as defined by the constitution. It can mean merely that they betrayed a trust of any kind, or that they have misplaced loyalties, or do not support a cause one thinks they should, etc.

However all that is beside the point here. If Darren Wilson had been responsible for Michael Brown’s death, then Politifact would be right. But he wasn’t. The only person responsible for Michael Brown’s death is Michael Brown. He effectively committed suicide. Wilson not only didn’t murder him in the technical legal sense, he didn’t murder him in any sense at all, because he didn’t do anything wrong that led to Brown’s death. And that’s something Politifact simply pretends didn’t happen. They pretend it wasn’t legally murder on a technicality, when in fact it wasn’t murder because it wasn’t murder.

    mailman in reply to Milhouse. | August 16, 2019 at 5:43 am

    “The only person responsible for Michael Brown’s death is Michael Brown. He effectively committed suicide. Wilson not only didn’t murder him in the technical legal sense, he didn’t murder him in any sense at all, because he didn’t do anything wrong that led to Brown’s death. And that’s something Politifact simply pretends didn’t happen. They pretend it wasn’t legally murder on a technicality, when in fact it wasn’t murder because it wasn’t murder.”

    This is all you needed to say. Then again, why say something in 20 words when you can say it in 20,000 words and sound like you have the brain the size of a planet (while actually, to everyone else, sounding like nothing more than a blow hard trying to sound like a blow hard).

      JusticeDelivered in reply to mailman. | August 16, 2019 at 8:41 am

      Maybe we should be talking about parenting and culture, surely both played a role in Brown’s mentality. Also, he was dull witted.

So, PolitFarce has gone Humpty Dumpty: “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

To PolitFarce some true statements are considered false, usually because PolitFarce deems the truth to be misleading or irrelevant.

While some false statements are considered true-enough, because they are somewhat plausible. Especially when words go all Humpty-Dumpty.

Is it really a secret that to a true Progressive, whether or not something is true depends not on the content of what was said, but on who said it?

    Milhouse in reply to Albigensian. | August 16, 2019 at 11:01 am

    Again, Politifact is 100% correct in its point about the word usage. It’s 100% wrong about applying it to this case.

    The Supreme Court explicitly held in Letter Carriers v Austin that calling someone a “traitor” does not necessarily mean one is accusing them of committing the crime of treason. It all depends on how a reasonable listener would understand it. In Greenbelt v Bresler it held the same for “blackmail”.

    The same would apply to “murder”. Warren and Harris were not necessarily accusing Wilson of literally having murdered Brown, but perhaps only of some misconduct that caused his death. The problem is, what misconduct? Wilson did nothing at all wrong, and the only person who caused Brown’s death was Brown. So even in the loose, colloquial sense of the term, Brown was not murdered.

      Terence G. Gain in reply to Milhouse. | August 17, 2019 at 8:47 am

      A murder is an intentional killing which is not justified. Brown was the aggressor. He punched Wilson in the left eye while Wilson was sitting in his police vehicle and he attempted to grab Wilson’s gun causing it go off. Wilson killed the 6’4” 290 pound Brown as Brown charged at Wilson, head down. A bullet entered the top of Brown’s head.

      The use of the word murder to describe this killing is outrageous and Politifact is 100% wrong to claim otherwise. The fact of the matter is that this outrageous lie is made to solidify support from black voters. It is racially divisive and Warren and Brown should be condemned. Politifact is a bad joke.

        Politifact is wrong to claim that “murder” could be an appropriate word in this case. But it is correct to say that “murder” is an appropriate word in cases that do not meet the legal elements of that crime, but where the accused person bears some sort of moral responsibility for the death. Those harping on the legal definition of murder are not helping the case; it’s easy to show that Wilson didn’t commit the crime of murder, but that still leaves people supposing that Brown’s death was unjust, and due to Wilson’s wrongdoing. That’s what Politifact is assuming, and wants its readers to assume; and if it were true then Harris and Warren would be right to use the M-word. So those pushing back against this need to stop talking about the legal elements and instead talk about the facts of the case, which are that Wilson did nothing at all wrong, that the only injustice is that he lost his job when he should have got a commendation, and that Brown’s death was right and just.

This is a moot point. Democrats all know this was murder. A person (can’t say ‘victim’ it makes the attacker look bad) cannot shoot an unarmed attacker ever especially if the attacker is a minority.

They will never believe in their hearts it was not murder for many reasons but police especially are always expected to take a beat down as part of their jobs. I’ve heard a judge say, ‘getting hit is part of your job’. If a judge feels that you know he’s not alone.

BerettaTomcat | August 16, 2019 at 11:40 pm

The Left avoids truth (i.e., lies) by redefining “truth” to be a narrative that supports the desired outcome, in this case that the violent felon, Brown, was wrongfully killed.

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