The Ferguson episode has starkly revealed several key and sometimes contradictory elements of the elite liberal mindset. The elites are in deep denial about black underclass behavior. They seem to believe that black crime is no higher than white crime, leading to the presumption that law-enforcement activity, if unbiased, would be equally spread between white and black neighborhoods. Ezra Klein is dumbfounded that Michael Brown would have refused to move from the middle of the street or cursed at or attacked an officer. Klein has clearly not spent much time in Central Brooklyn. Yet the liberal elites have also so lowered their expectations for black behavior that they accept criminality as normal. Stealing from a store clerk or assaulting an officer is now considered beneath mention. And black rioting, too, is both understandable and, it would seem, justified when, as in Ferguson, the police are “justifiably seen as an alien, occupying force that is synonymous with state-sponsored abuse,” in the Times’ words.

Plenty of blacks reject such condescension and excuse-making. A corporate executive in Atlanta observed after the riots: “Michael Brown may have been shot by the cop, but he was killed by parents and a community that produced such a thug.” The blight in Ferguson may well be “incurable,” the executive wrote me in an e-mail, but at the very least, “we should mount a campaign to hire ALL of the White cops out of the city/county and see how THEM cow chips come to smell.” Such views almost never find their way into the mainstream media.

The Times’ most influential readers often know even less about policing and crime than its editorialists and use the paper as an authoritative source of information about such matters.