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#Think before you ‘reform’ and other commentary

#Think before you ‘reform’ and other commentary

June 12, 2020 | 5:46pm

Police beat: Think Before You ‘Reform’

“Police aren’t perfect, and even their staunchest defenders must acknowledge that some officers have taken one too many sips from the fountain of power that is a government-issued badge and gun,” Rafael A. Mangual writes at The Wall Street Journal. “The question is what to do about it.” When it comes to police reforms, “the data caution against expecting too much” and “warn that more-radical ones could have bad consequences.” While ideas “run the gamut,” a promising one is to “limit the power of police unions, whose contracts make it difficult to fire bad officers.” George Floyd’s death is “senseless” and a crime that cries for justice, no question, but “the road to real reform begins not with a rush forward but with a step back to consider the complicated realities that passions may be obscuring.”

Foreign desk: A Pandemic of Repression

Not surprisingly, “some of the world’s most ruthless autocrats” have “used the COVID-19 pandemic to justify media repression” — but now, City Journal’s Judith Miller laments, leaders of “nations that pride themselves on their commitment to democracy and the rule of law” are doing the same thing. India, for example, provided a “vibrant, freewheeling” media environment until the pandemic gave Prime Minister Narendra Modi an excuse to “deny reporters access to information, restrict their physical movement and stifle criticism of the government’s management of the virus.” Similarly, Brazil and South Africa “enjoyed a relatively free press until the virus arrived.” Alas: American media have “muted” their criticisms of such measures — despite all the “harassment of, or attacks on, journalists” during the George Floyd protests.

Media watch: Journalism’s ‘Woke Revolution’

The essence of a revolution, argues The Week’s Damon Linker, is a “change in regime — the shift in the orienting principles or ideals of the community or organization.” American journalism is facing such “a revolutionary moment” now. New York Times staffers, for example, forced editors to capitulate to censoring any “perceived deviations from the progressive orthodoxy.” These new revolutionaries care about progressive “truth” rather than “objectivity,” judge their “righteousness” on “the volume of applause from likeminded followers on Twitter” and are willing to “excuse words and deeds that in other contexts would be considered unacceptable” if they promote progressivism. It all adds up to a “disheartening” rebellion, a “victory for narrowness and dogmatism” — and “a defeat for the American mind.”

From the right: The Protests Aren’t About George Floyd

“Liberals aren’t even pretending anymore that the protests over George Floyd’s death are about police brutality experienced by black Americans,” observes The Washington Examiner’s Eddie Scarry. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says they’re more about “health care as a human right” and “standing up to for-profit real-estate developers.” New York Times columnist Charles Blow says we need a new system of “wealth redistribution” and a new civil-rights act. His colleague at the paper, Nikole Hannah-Jones, wants an economic agenda that includes reparations. “For some people,” writes Scarry, “‘Justice for George Floyd’ is now a justification for a lot of other things that have nothing to do with George Floyd.”

Culture critic: Knock Off the Civil War Talk

With American cities literally “ablaze” thanks to the “violence, looting and mayhem” that followed the George Floyd killing, The Orange County Register’s Steven Greenhut sighs, “talk of civil war, serious or not, is more heated than ever.” We should step back and “take a deep breath”: “The nation has faced divided, troubling times” before, “our current discord” doesn’t even come close to “the level of division” in the past and we can resolve even “the latest conflicts” with “reasonable solutions that are entirely attainable in our system.” In the real world, ordinary Americans still aren’t “at each other’s throats” at the “bank, store or office.” So let’s knock off the “bloviating about civil wars” — and stop “thinking of our political opponents as enemies instead of as misguided fellow citizens.”

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board

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