Monday, October 29, 2012

Rikers Island Story Begins Again After Bloomberg Response at Sunday Press Conference

And let the games begin.

Mayor Bloomberg was asked about Rikers Island in Hurricane Sandy at a press conference on Sunday. It's at 11:00 in the video:
Reporter: "Any additional precautions being taken for the folks on Rikers Island?"
Bloomberg: "Rikers Island, is, the land is up where they are and the jails are secured. Don't worry about anybody getting out."
Progressives started rightly noting that Bloomberg jumped from talking about the people on Rikers not being in danger to talking about "don't worry about anybody getting out." That was not the question, so, yuck.

The comments were noted by BuzzFeed, and I think spread from there, with some folks noting Bloomberg's nasty words but soon taking it a step further and circling back to recycling the debunked notion that somehow the city is leaving prisoners in danger.

Have we not learned anything from last time, where many progressives got totally burned on this story?

The story has begun anew. Jean Casella and James Ridgeway, who started the "Left Behind" on Rikers story last time, were up with a post Sunday eve. The piece is way, way better than what they did last time, and they have done some reporting, though mostly it covers stuff their follow-up post-Irene covered. Their headline is "Prisoners to Remain on Rikers Island As Hurricane Sandy Heads for New York," which is factual, if a bit provocative for implying this is news when it is not. Will the story quickly get even more trumped up, as it did with Hurricane Irene? Quite possibly. In fact, Solitary Watch tweeted the Casella/Ridgeway article they had published hyped up like this: "12,000 Prisoners Left on Rikers Island As Hurricane Sandy Approaches..."

Left? Please.

And for a wilder version of the story, see David Harris Gershon in Daily Kos.

And while the big news sites and aggregators haven't taken it up yet, the story -- that something wrong is happening here -- is starting to pick up on twitter in the last few hours. Meanwhile, no shortage of actual injustices out there.

Previously: Hurricane Sandy and Rikers Island (10/28/12); Assuming the Worst: How the Rikers Island Hurricane Irene Story Went From Innuendo to Absurdity (8/31/11)


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