While riots and protests ravaged cities across the U.S. this past summer, the media, for the most part, portrayed the often violent and destructive riots as “peaceful protests” even as cities burned, officers were attacked and businesses were destroyed. Following the events at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday and the media’s response, it’s pretty clear the media is focused more on driving a narrative than giving viewers information.
All of the riots, violence, destruction and loss of life have been horrible but the media’s double standard in reporting the chaos is glaring. MSNBC reporter Ali Velshi offers a perfect example of the contrast in the narrative.
In late May, as Velshi stood in front of a burning building in Minneapolis, he said, “I wanna be clear on how I characterize this, this is mostly a protest, it is not, it is not, generally speaking, unruly.”
“But fires have been started and this crowd is relishing that,” he told MSNBC anchor Brian Williams.
Now flash forward to this week on Thursday when Velshi tweeted out, “TRUMP INCITES MOB” as the headline of this morning’s New York Times. “Any journalist who sugarcoats their language or normalizes what has happened today isn’t doing their job. Our job is to bear witness & tell the truth: Trump is attempting a coup, and inciting violence.”
Politicians are every bit as guilty as the press. This summer, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., said in an interview on MSNBC that “There needs to be unrest in the streets for as long as there’s unrest in our lives.”
In an interview with Stephen Colbert in June 2020, Kamala Harris said of the protests and chaos, “This is a movement, I’m telling you, they’re not going to stop, and everyone beware, because they’re not going to stop before Election Day in November, and they’re not going to stop after Election Day,” she said. “And everyone should take note of that, on both levels, that they’re not going to let up, and they should not, and we should not.”
So as the media and politicians attack Trump for his rhetoric leading up to the chaos at the Capitol, it’s important to note that he called for it to end immediately. Those same politicians and media attacking Trump had no problem encouraging the chaos as it continued throughout the summer, with now Vice-president-elect Harris calling for it to continue through Election Day. The chaos did continue, but now that it’s on the other side, it’s apparently time to condemn instead of encourage.