McKinney pool incident – control of the narrative

Some quick observations about the aftermath of what i will call The McKinney Pool Incident.

1. Partisans on both ends of the narrative spectrum are currently engaging in an attempt to control and distort the narrative to fit their pre-conceptions. I am starting to see people on Facebook, Twitter etc. posting, totally uncritically, articles posted on echo chamber websites that seek to impose a glib, judgmental narrative on the events. Be smart, folks. Don’t just promulgate this guff without asking fundamental questions about the credibility of the source, and the way in which the article is written. Also pay attention to the use of coded language in narratives written by partisans. As an example. when I read an article on an authoritarian website asserting that the party organizers “appear to be from Chicago”, I know exactly what that claim is really saying. (Translation:  Chicago – evil den of political corruption controlled by people of the wrong party, you know that one that the POTUS belongs to, hint hint). If you want to understand more, read some of the books by George Lakoff.

2. The city of McKinney has already done one thing right by suspending the officer whose conduct was captured on video. But bear in mind that a lot of the incidents were not captured on video. The evidence for those happenings is anecdotal, and it will take a while to sort out the truth from the guff and misinformation. There is a process called investigation, a skill called critical thinking, and a third important principle called Due Process. They should be allowed to happen.

3. If your community is squarely in a media firestorm, it is not a good idea to create posters that reflexively and uncritically support one side or the other in the dispute. This shows a shocking lack of self-awareness, and if the investigation shows that the people you are claiming to support erred, you are going to look mighty stupid. Also bear in mind that if you have a well-paid job in corporate America, suddenly finding your name perjoratively splashed across social media is not what your employer wants to see. One constant of corporations is that they like publicity but they hate controversy. Since Texas is a “right to work:” state, you can be fired for no reason at all. (Of course there is always a reason, but they don’t have to tell you, and they would be fools to do so).

4. Any person who begins an explanation for their position with a protestation of “I’m not being XXXX, but…” is, most of the time, being XXXX. It is a well-understood reality that people who are telling the truth never claim that they are – they instinctively expect to be believed. It is identical to the “you can trust me” meme. We know this. We know it so well that it is ingrained in humour. Think of all of the jokes based on lines such as “trust me, I’m a doctor/dentist/consultant etc. etc.”. Be wary of these kinds of exculpatory protestations.





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