Via Rush Limbaugh and Drudge, I discover that CBS News will tackle the complex subject of informants this weekend on 60 Minutes, but reporter Anderson Cooper appears to be taking the most facile possible tack. Commenter dadpon at the 60 Minutes website sums up my opinion of what's been previewed so far of Anderson Coopers feature this Sunday on the so-called "Stop Snitching" movement:
the best way to win an argument is to find the dumbest person to represent the opponent, to make yourself sound superiorThat, Mr. Cooper has certainly done, in this case by interviewing a rapper named Cam'ron with more gold than sense who announces that he would not snitch on a serial killer if he knew one were living next door! (You can watch a snippet of Cam'ron's interview and see Cooper's "reporter's notebook" in the right hand column of this page.) CBS' website describes Cooper's story as a "report on how the hip-hop culture's message to shun the police has undermined efforts to solve murders across the country."
Well, that's part of the story, but as regular readers of this blog know, certainly not all of it. If Cooper ever Googled the word snitching, then he found two Grits posts on his first screen:
overview. The first of the two bullets above links to and quotes from an academic article by Loyola Law School Prof. Alexandra "Sasha" Natapoff, who in my opinion is perhaps the nation's premier thinker on the subject of confidential informants. (See her Slate article, "Bait and Snitch.") If Cooper didn't interview Natapoff, to me this isn't a serious report but is the national news equivalent of local "if it bleeds it leads" coverage.
Clicking around just a little further on Grits from those stories, Cooper would have discovered a recent gathering of experts in Atlanta where he could have drawn more able spokespersons than Cam'ron, including from among the hip hop set. There are many more articulate critics available than this guy to describe the implications of the stop snitching phenomenon. We'll see what the full story looks like, but it'll be disappointing if it contains no more depth than the previews lead one to believe.
- The Smoking Gun: Cam'ron talked to cops after playground brawl in 1999
- A Public Defender: Two polls for attorneys about snitching
- Too Sense: Cam'ron is a fool who can't rhyme, but does he have a point about the police?
- KO: "One of the dumbest, most asinine quotes I've ever heard in my life"
- Tomsdisch: Cam'ron is "following the example of Bush and Gonzales themselves. Gangland ethics have now officially replaced morality as we once knew it. Honesty is not the best policy; it's not even a needful imposture."
- The McCarville Report Online: Hip Hop Culture Shuns Police Help
- Celebrity News and Gossip: Cam'ron's 'Code of Ethics'
- Gothamist: Cam'ron believes in Omerta
- Nick DiPaolo: "First of all, the serial killer would move out"
- My Rose Colored Glasses are Cracked: Snitch or Whistleblower?
- The House of Xanadu: Cam'ron & Snitching
- Great Googily Moogily: Cam'ron earns his useful idiot badge
- Freedom Eden: Cooper interviewed wrong person
- Ethan Brown: 60 Minutes Puts Hip Hop on Death Row
- Ordinary Childhood: Not snitching part of American culture, not hip hop
- Tell 'Em Why You're Mad, Son: That's not sntichin, that's being a witness
- Psyked: These niggas piss me off
- The Legendary Mastermind: Rappers address media backlash
- The Hutchison Report: A rapper who might not snitch on Cho
- Democracy in America (The Economist): The Great Society sowed the seeds for a black identity based on Being Bad
- Awakened: Cam'ron didn't invent the code of silence
- the 'd' spot: "Don't Snitch" street code is killing black kids
- Cigars, Donuts & Coffee: Don't snitch, live in the hood - it's their choice
- Mirror on America: The Black Minstrel Show Continues
- XXL Mag: Most of Your Favorite Rappers are Snitches
- RBG Street Scholars: How Hip Hop Destroyed Black Power
- The Mo'Kelly Report: Prison culture poisoning kids minds
- Crazy Pellas: 21 Questions for Cam'ron
- The Roaring Twenties: I wanted to be on Anderson Cooper's side
- Don't Snitch, Jack
- Snitching on Good Friday: Rethinking Judas
- Is Grits 'Pro-Snitch'?
- Hip Hop, Snitches and Witnesses
- A prison guard's aversion to snitches
- Dallas fake drug case shows why many distrust informants
- Federal memo tells judges: Hide records on snitches
- Cop: Snitches keep escort services in business
- Feds tolerated bank robber snitch for decades
- 'Operation Trick or Treat' turned out to be snitch's trick
- Sample motion requesting informant reliability hearings