I hadn't planned to write any follow-ups to my first blogpost in this series. In that post I put forth my opinion that Dorian Johnson's testimony was a lie, based on the facts that he changed his story and that the DOJ report did not corroborate his version of events. I further added that although Johnson did lie-- irregardless of whether or not he came to believe his own story-- his fabrication served a virtuous purpose in focusing national attention upon the racist practices of the Ferguson Police Department.
I can't resist some follow-up, though, since on 3-19-15 Jon Stewart himself has more or less followed the same logic I expressed in validating what he called the "Hands Up, Don't Shoot narrative." His end was certainly more far-reaching, in that he was admirably castigating Fox News for wanting an apology regarding the disproved "HUDS narrative" Stewart pointed out that Fox News had yet to make any apologies for perpetuating an overblown "tsunami of misinformation" regarding the Benghazi controversy.
I have no more liking for Fox News than Stewart does, and it does him credit that he's found another fresh way to mock their portentous, one-sided journalism. However, I have a little problem with speaking of the false testimony against Wilson as nothing more than a "narrative."
It's true that though Johnson seems to have been the first to bear false witness against Darren Wilson, he wasn't the only witness to provide an accusatory account of the shooting, though the DOJ report tacitly disproves these anti-Wilson witnesses as well. Yet merely calling these acts of bearing false witness a "narrative" dilutes the fact that if you accept the DOJ's exculpation of Wilson-- which seems to be Stewart's position-- then you must admit that, for whatever reasons, lies were told.
I've frequently termed myself a liberal here, but have expressed mostly contempt for ultraliberals, who cannot think outside their conceptual boxes any more than can ultraconservatives. I don't consider Stewart-- or rather, the performing-persona through which I "know" him-- to be an ultraliberal. Yet, even though we have employed the same basic logic, in that we both regard the case of the Michael Brown shooting as a "flashpoint" for deeper issues, I think Stewart soft-balled his treatment of the false testimony for rhetorical purposes. In order to make his salient point about Fox News, whose Benghazi coverage was entirely politicized and served no purpose, Stewart had to pass over the fact that Johnson and similarly minded witnesses were willing to falsely incriminate an innocent man in order to get even with a corrupt law enforcement hierarchy. This too is politicized thinking, in that it shows no interest in truth, only in whose side wins. Michael Brown's family has announced that it will pursue Wilson in a civil court case, claiming that they believe that Wilson could have found "other options" than shooting their son dead. Given that the DOJ has ruled that Brown tried to charge Wilson, this strikes me as extreme wishful thinking on their part, showing an inability to admit that their son committed a crime, if not a desire to profit from the controversy, as Dorian Johnson has, albeit in a small way.
Will Jon Stewart mock them, for continuing to pursue a man who has been exonerated by the Department of Justice, the same department that validated the Ferguson Protests?
As the saying goes, don't hold your breath waiting for it.