Conservatives/Republicans like Tucker Carlson are often very good at lampooning the silliness and excess that is found among liberal and left opinion, which is easy to do because there is certainly a lot of it. However, having watched and read these kinds of commentators (the Rush Limbaugh types, for example) for my entire life, I’d say the problem with them is often not what they say but what they don’t say.
Frequently, their mode of argumentation is “argument by omission,” which typically involves ridiculing something ridiculous a liberal or leftist said or did, and then making what on the surface may sound like an intellectually serious and factual argument, but based on a narrowly construed and selectively constructed assessment of the facts and evidence surrounding a particular topic.
For example, there are still some conservatives who defend the Vietnam War on the grounds that “After the US withdrew from Southeast Asia, Pol Pot came to power and committed genocide.” Yes, but what they ignore is that Pol Pot’s coming to power was made possible only by the US-engineered coup, invasion, bombing, and destabilization in Cambodia during the preceding years, that the US invasion of Cambodia was made possible only by the previous US invasion of Vietnam, or that the US actually supported Pol Pot’s war against the Vietnamese after he was dislodged by them in 1979.
A similar analysis could be applied to the “conservative” take on a wide range of issues. That doesn’t mean that “conservatives” are always wrong or that liberals or leftists are always right. I’ve spent a lot of ink and bandwidth lambasting liberals and the left, much to their consternation. But this kind of “selective argumentation” is a recurring theme in conservative commentary.
Carlson is correct when he says that outright “murder by cop” is relatively uncommon given how many cops there are (about 1.5 million in the US, ranging from federal agents to local sheriff’s deputies) and how many people live in the US (about 327 million). And he’s right that a credible case can be made that not all claims of “murder by cop” are factual or serious. Yes, there really violent, dangerous criminals who end up getting killed by either police or civilian self-defenders. Yes, there really are some people who get killed by the police who are more of a case of “suicide by cop” than murder by cop.
But (as Radley Balko points out), a lot of claims of “self-defense” by killer cops are just as dubious as a lot of claims of “murder by cop.” And a lot of such claims are based on police reports which are hardly objective sources of information, not to mention that many such cases are what are called “throwdowns,” meaning the cops murder someone and plant a weapon on them, or that fellow cops simply lie to cover up what really happened.
In addition, the problem of “murder by cop” is not the limit of the issue. For every case of murder by cop, there are many more cases of assault by cop, rape by cop, armed robbery by cop, theft by cop, unreasonable brandishing of a firearm by cop, threats and intimidation by cop, vandalism by cop, planting evidence by cop, framing by cop, harassment by cop, phishing for revenue/quotas by cop, home invasion by cop, perjury by cop, not to mention general enforcement of state repression by cop, which includes another range of issues.