Confronting the Effrontery of the Frontline Report:
“For the Bundy family, the wheels of justice had finally started to turn.”
~From the Frontline transcript.
Since airing on May 16, 2017, the Frontline report, American Patriot, the reviews among the Bundy supporters include “had to turn it off”, “made me want to vomit”, “broadcast porn”, “made me sick, literally” and those were the kinder ones. Angie Huntington Bundy, wife of Ryan Bundy, commented that Frontline used the sealed discovery from the trial so it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how Frontline obtained information favorable to the government narrative.
PUTTING BIG BIRD OUT OF WORK
For many people, Frontline is the gold standard of objective and unbiased investigative journalism.
Frontline cannot help but be biased, given the source of its funding, which includes a big chunk of financial support from the federal government. During the presidential debates between Romney and Obama, the comment was made by Romney that government had no legitimate purpose to be funding PBS and that he would make cuts to PBS including one of his favorite characters, Big Bird on Sesame Street, rather than borrow more money from China. Peeling away the humor, the dark side to this is that government, through its financial clout, has huge leverage over what PBS produces.
What is the main theme of the Bundy position? Federal government over reach, federal government abuses, federal government violations of the original intent of the constitution. Everything that the Bundys stand for are in direct opposition to one of the main supporters of PBS. The federal team (including Big Bird) have a vested interest in a big, federal government including the 12,000 BLM employees and their 100’s of thousands of brothers and sisters in the alphabet soup of federal agencies.
Like a blind person seeing the sun for the first time, a cursory reading of the Federalist papers brilliantly displays the obvious departure from what the Founders had in mind, including the most ardent advocate of centralized government of that time, and what we have today. So vastly different is the federal government today from what the Founders envisioned, that those who want to return to an originalist view of the constitution, like the Bundys, are considered “extremists” and “domestic terrorists”.
The Frontline report on the Bundys, was heavy on the theme of lawlessness and extremism. The good guys (well groomed, polished and official sounding government) versus the Bundys, represented as unhinged, fanatical, misguided threat to the American dream, a dream that included PBS and Big Bird.
THE FIRST CASUALTY OF WAR IS THE TRUTH
Frontline, drawing its name from a wartime analogy, the frontline of battle, implies that to get at the truth, one must be on the frontlines, where the action is. But, it depends on which frontline, the one drawn by the enemy or the one drawn by your sponsors?
There is no such thing as neutral, unbiased, war correspondents. A journalist can report on a controversial subject involving polarized parties, and the journalist will choose sides, the side that most favors the journalist’s own biases and ideologies. It is human nature. The bias is exacerbated by the pressure to conform to their financial supporter’s agenda, in this case, the federal government.
GREG BRETZING’S FATALLY FLAWED FRONTLINE FRAUD
Greg Bretzing, the FBI’s special agent in charge in Oregon at the time, was one of the most quoted in the Frontline report. Ironically, Bretzing, like Ammon Bundy, is a Mormon and both of them had given two years of their lives in voluntary missionary service. Both are clean cut, and well spoken. But, that is where the similarities end.
Bretzing, representing the arch enemy of the Bundys, the unconstitutional part of the federal government, where even the constitutional pedigree of the FBI is challengeable, toed the government line perfectly. Claiming that what Ammon Bundy did was clearly and obviously illegal, Bretzing came across as being “tactically patient” so as to avoid another Waco and Ruby Ridge. However, comments made by Bretzing in describing the shooting of LaVoy Finicum, betray his insincerity in claiming something that appears to be a flat out lie.
Bretzing, while feigning some kind of regret over the death of Finicum (another Mormon), explained that Finicum was repeatedly warned to “stop reaching”:
Bretzing (37:50 mark Frontline interview): “LaVoy Finicum immediately pops out of the car, law enforcement engage him and over a period of several seconds, give him commands to keep his hands up, to stop reaching, stop reaching but he reached several times in his jacket and was shot by law enforcement.”
The key to the government’s justifiable homicide, as cited by Bretzing, is the claim that Finicum was reaching for a gun in his left, inside Denham jacket pocket and was fatally shot after several warnings.
Bretzing’s claims are fatally flawed, claims that an objective Frontline should have been on top of:
- The audio from Shawna Cox’s phone does pick up two warning orders from law enforcement officers (LEO) to “get on the ground” before they shot him. The voice of Finicum can be clearly heard as he moved away from the truck. The LEO were within a few feet of Finicum, so, if they told him to stop reaching or to put his hands up, why are their voices not clearly heard?
- A lethal, high powered bullet came crashing through the roof of the truck and smashed the window where Finicum was standing, his left side parallel to the window. No warning could be heard prior to that lethal shot. The broken window was now open for better audio on Cox’s phone but nothing could be heard except the two warnings to “get on the ground” and Finicum’s voice and the shots that silenced him. Nothing could be heard through the now open window, that supported Bretzing’s claim that he was warned to keep hands up and to stop reaching. This is significant, because had Finicum been warned not to reach, then they can claim that Finicum had fair warning prior to being shot dead. The failure to heed the warning to “get on the ground” is not justification for use of deadly force.
- The proof that the microphone was sufficiently sensitive on Cox’s phone to pick up voices is given when, after all the shooting, the surviving passengers are ordered out of the truck. Then the voices of LEO could be heard loud and clear.
- Evidence has come out that the pistol that Finicum was allegedly reaching for, could have been planted on him by the LEO after his death. While not conclusive, the evidence is compelling enough to warrant further investigation. None of that was mentioned by Frontline.
- In the Bretzing Frontline fraud, he conveniently failed to mention the fact that the FBI special hostage agents at the scene were under investigation for firing unauthorized shots at Finicum and the vehicle, including the roof shot that broke the window, and that there was evidence of a carefully made cover-up by the same FBI agents. With almost a year and half since the shooting, the results of that investigation have yet to be revealed.
The smooth faced, well-groomed, appearance of legitimacy, on the part of government actors, whether in the courtroom by dark suited prosecutors, or by Bretzing of the FBI, hide an obvious disdain for the truth and the need to lie on behalf of the greater good of the team, the federal government team in cooperation with Frontline.
RELISHING AND RELYING ON THE IRRELEVANT RACIST COMMENTS BY CLIVEN BUNDY
To further support the federal government narrative, Frontline found it necessary to refer to the alleged racist comments of Cliven Bundy. Playing clips from various mainstream news commentators, Frontline said there was a “stampede away from Cliven Bundy” after he made comments about “the negro”.
One of the most common fallacies in critical thinking, the Red Herring fallacy, is where an opponent in an argument throws out something that is irrelevant, a red herring, in an attempt to distract the audience and make them discard the core argument.
Frontline was guilty of this egregious fallacy of critical thinking by reporting on Cliven’s alleged racism, unrelated to the core argument of BLM’s illegal practices at Bunkerville. Whether Cliven is a racist or not, is not relevant to the bigger issue of federal government unconstitutionality, overreach and abuse. But, the argument of relevancy is only applicable to the federal team if it promotes their agenda.
As one who knows the Bundy family, this writer can definitively say that Cliven Bundy is not a racist. When I was in Bunkerville, I met a black couple who were there to support the Bundys. That couple along with many other black people have been welcomed in the Bundy home. The Bundys are warm and generous people, making all visitors feel welcome, including blacks. To understand Cliven’s comments, one needs to understand the context.
In the Longbow film, Cliven said he has always been an outdoors person, not for recreation but for work. His sons talk about their dad’s work ethic, building many water installations that were later destroyed by the BLM. Cliven values hard work. When Cliven said it may be better to be out picking cotton than sitting on a porch in government housing receiving welfare, he was thinking of himself, that for him it would be a nightmare not to be able to work and to have to be dependent on government for support.
Cliven was not criticizing blacks, he was criticizing the federal government that makes it disproportionately easy for people of color to get welfare. The vast, government managed welfare system is one more example of how the federal government has exceeded its enumerated powers as found in the constitution.
DANIEL P. LOVE, THE LARGE PIECE OF THE PUZZLE FRONTLINE REFUSED TO SEE
The Frontline report, while focusing on Cliven Bundy’s alleged racial comments, failed to mention Dan Love. So conspicuous was the absence of Dan Love in the Frontline report, that it could be compared to Frontline claiming to have finished a 1000 piece puzzle while leaving out several hundred pieces. Dan Love had everything to do with the events of Bunkerville. His role in the events that shaped Bunkerville and its aftermath, was so glaring that it could be argued that his role was even more prominent than Bretzing’s, the darling of the Frontline report.
Dan Love was the special agent in charge of the BLM at Bunkerville. It was Dan Love that orchestrated everything. It was Dan Love who confronted Ammon Bundy and who confronted Pete Santilli, both now in prison, without any verdict of guilt. It was Love’s testimony that was essential for the grand jury indictment. It was Dan Love who ordered the BLM agents to stand their ground, in opposition to orders from local law enforcement for BLM to stand down.
It is Dan Love who is being investigated for ethics and other violations. Those investigations are highly relevant to his credibility as a witness and for the opportunity to impeach his testimony.
But, true to its role in supporting the government narrative, Frontline must have read the order from Nevada federal district judge Gloria Navarro in which she declared that any testimony or contribution by Dan Love to the trial of the defendants, was not relevant. Such exclusion of Dan Love by both Frontline and Navarro is tantamount to excluding the testimony of law enforcement who confronted Lee Harvey Oswald in the Kennedy assassination.
THE WHEELS OF JUSTICE
In its final display of rampant bias, the Frontline report ends with the words, “For the Bundy family, the wheels of justice had finally started to turn.” The assumption being promoted by Frontline, was that justice was finally being served. Justice is defined as, “fair play, correct, aligned with truth, lack of bias”. The Frontline report is based on a false assumption that the federal team was employing principles of fair play and impartiality. Like a wolf disguised as a sheep, the Frontline report portrays that which is good as being bad and that which is bad as being good.
The wheels are intended to take one to the truth, extracting the truth like a miller’s grinding wheel extracts flour. The wheels go where ever the truth takes them in order to meet the ends of justice.
A more correct comparison would be, “the wheels of Catherine”, also known as breaking wheels where an accused criminal was placed on the wheel and their bones broken. In early courts, an accused’s guilt was often determined by how well they endured the pain or how fast they healed from the test of torture. A presumption of guilt was used by subjecting the accused to torture in an attempt to confirm guilt or in the much less likely event, innocence. It was this horrific practice that led Blackstone and Franklin to declare that a presumption of innocence was the bedrock principle of jurisprudence
In courts today, accused, but not guilty, are placed in prison where they endure torture until they finally confess their guilt through a plea deal. Such is the actual real life experiences of the Bundy family and their supporters, who, just like the victims of the dark ages, must endure pain, humiliation, sexual abuse and denial of constitutional rights such as a Speedy Trial and the right to a presumption of innocence until proven guilty.
Proving that the atrocities of the dark ages are not extinct, Prosecutor Myhre, in a display of Orwellian double speak that would make Orwell blush, openly declared that the government had 5 years to delay trial and still be considered “speedy”. Frontline failed to go there.
Wheels of injustice indeed, wheels that will come off the federal government’s wagon if justice is ever allowed and things as they really are, are exposed. Until then, Frontline moves along its wheels lubricated by Federal funding, supporting their sponsor’s agenda.
*5.22.17, Edited for clarification, and ease of understanding, of video excerpts.