Blunt: Media Reporting Made Ferguson ‘Worse’ than it Would Have Been Otherwise

‘Both the media and people explaining things in ways that just were not reality’

HEMMER: “Have the politicians made this worse than it would have been otherwise?”

BLUNT: “I think a lot of the reporting made it worse than it would otherwise. I think people --”

HEMMER: “Sorry, sir, are you suggesting the media?”

BLUNT: “Both the media and people explaining things in ways that just were not reality. People talking about armored vehicles as if they were armed vehicles. You know, there is difference in the armored car that goes to the bank and a Sherman tank. But in a lot of this discussion you would thought police were out there with equipment that was designed for some kind of a warfare when it was only designed to protect the police and others. In some cases in Ferguson, people who were shot themselves -- and these aren’t the first people shot in Ferguson, Bill. They are the first police that have been shot in Ferguson during these protests. People shot during the protests. The police on occasion had to take armored vehicles in as the only way to get the protesters who were shot out of the situation they were in. That was never reported, I think, in the way that it should have been in a lot of discussion about should they have military equipment? Almost any equipment that they had came not from the military but from homeland security. People would have said, 'Homeland security equipment? Gee, that’s fine.' But that wasn’t the discussion”

HEMMER: “Come back to the point about the politicians in the media--and I fully respect your opinion on all of this. That’s why we have you on today. But what the sheriff in Milwaukee is suggesting is that the president and the attorney general need to talk to the people who are living in these communities and remind them to respect authority. That was one of his main points last night. What about that?”

BLUNT: “It was one of his main points. I thought yesterday the president and the attorney general both were on point in talking about how unacceptable this activity was; how--as the attorney general called these people punks. I think both referred to these attempts as ambushes; not a very -- that’s a cowardly way to approach anybody. I think they were right there. But I’m not at all sure –“

HEMMER: “Sorry, but it was deeper than that senator. It was about reminding people in these communities long before incidents with Michael Brown took place, that you need to respect the authority and the law, and send the reminders repeatedly so we can avoid the next incident.”

BLUNT: “I don’t disagree with that. I think the both president and the attorney general could have been more helpful in Ferguson and around the country as this division began to develop about policing tactics. There is nothing wrong with people looking at a force to see if pattern and practice could be better. In fact, the St. Louis County force which--one of the officers was in that 1,100 person force-- voluntarily has been working with the Justice Department to be sure that all of their practices are what you'd hope they would be. I think when the Justice Department completes that we will find that they are.”

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