But we live with a corporate media system that is very forgiving of certain kinds of pundits. Kristol happens to be that kind of pundit, so ABC‘s This Week welcomed him back on August 18, with host George Stephanopoulos saying it’d been 14 years since his last appearance: “It’s been a long time since you have been on the roundtable. Welcome back.”
Kristol soon enough weighed in on the the politics of New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk program, which had just been declared unconstitutional and amounted to, in the words of federal Judge Shira Scheindlin, a “policy of indirect racial profiling.”
Unsurprisingly, Kristol isn’t happy with this. He claimed:
In 1990, there were 2,200 murders in New York. Last year there were 414. We’re not talking about a trivial accomplishment. The Giuliani/Bloomberg accomplishment of cutting crime–radically cutting crime–way beyond what anyone thought was possible in New York–has made possible the economic revitalization of New York and an awful lot of other good things, as well as saving a lot of lives. And it’s typical of liberal judges, if I might say, and liberal policy makers, that they go after one of the most successful policies actually in place in a real city in tough circumstances.”
The first problem with stop-and-frisk is that it is unconstitutional; whether a police tactic that violates fundamental rights might “work” is irrelevant; plenty of outrageous violations of civil rights could theoretically lower crime rates.
But Kristol’s argument is flimsy anyway. He starts by citing a New York murder rate from 1990–a high that has nothing to do with stop-and-frisk, which was not a significant part of NYPD policy until around 2003. At that point, the murder rate had already dropped significantly, as this chart from the BBC shows pretty clearly.
As Donna Lieberman of the New York Civil Liberties Union pointed out (Daily News, 5/25/12):
The 11 percent drop in murders from the start of the Bloomberg administration in 2002 to 2011 is good news, but it pales in comparison to other large cities that do not rely on aggressive street stops. According to the FBI, murder rates plummeted in some of those cities far more than in New York: 50 percent in Los Angeles, 43 percent in Washington D.C. and 35 percent in Chicago.
But Bill Kristol will go on TV and say that, and outlets like ABC will gladly welcome him back.