Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
This is yet another recommendation of a Bari Weiss podcast, this one featuring fellow writer Kmele Foster and his coverage of The Central Park Karen. It isn’t a story to which I paid much attention when it was big last year, but it’s interesting to hear an actual investigative journalist (yes, there still are a few) covering what the bigshots at the New York Times didn’t think was worth revealing to their readers.
Quick recap: a white woman, Amy Cooper, was walking her unleashed dog in Central Park when a black man, Christian Cooper (no relation), asked her to tether her dog as required by the park rules. In the ensuing exchange, Ms. Cooper reports (and Mr. Cooper confirms) that Mr. Cooper said:
Look, if you’re gonna do what you want, I’m gonna do what I want, and you’re not going to like it.
Ms. Cooper says that was the basis for her claim, on her subsequent 911 call, that she was being threatened.
So how does the New York Times report this statement, which would seem to be an essential element of the story?
They don’t — at least, they don’t for the first couple of stories. The first story simply, well, lies about it, claiming that it was Mr. Cooper’s decision to make a video recording of the encounter that upset Ms. Cooper. It isn’t until two weeks later that the paper finally mentions the quotation. But, as Mr. Foster describes it in the podcast (at 54:35):
Two weeks later… where they did in fact at least mention that [Ms. Cooper and Mr. Cooper] had quote “exchanged words,” in that article the Times does eventually get around to quoting Christian Cooper saying, “if you’re gonna do what you wanna do I’m gonna do what I wanna do, but you’re not gonna like it,” but not until 2,300 words into a 2,500 word story. You don’t get the actual threat that he issued to her until you’ve already read about Amy Cooper’s years-old affair with a married man that ended in a lawsuit, and Mr. Cooper’s childhood history of birdwatching, his love of comic books, his graduation from Harvard. They made an editorial decision to bury the question marks around the bit of moral clarity that they seemed to be going for with this story.
I have no strong opinions about Ms. Cooper and Mr. Cooper, other than that I probably wouldn’t enjoy hanging around with either of them. Once you’ve learned the detail of the account, he comes across as an insensitive righteous jerk, she as a perhaps not entirely stable woman. But we should all have an opinion about a national press that is so willing to sacrifice integrity to further a narrative.
PS And if you listen as far as the last 15 minutes of the interview, to Ms. Cooper’s description of how quickly and how horribly people responded to the appearance of Mr. Cooper’s 40-second video on Twitter, perhaps you’ll conclude — if you haven’t already — that Twitter is a loathsome and destructive force, a platform that excels at empowering mobs of angry and vicious people to lash out without thought or knowledge. Twitter is a force for civic evil.Published in