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From the start, TV news media have done their darnedest to paint the riots happening across the country in a positive light. While many journalists have glossed over the widespread violence by relying on misleading characterizations like “mostly peaceful,” others have outright defended and justified the rioting.
Some of the these attempts to sanitize the rioting have bordered on parody. For a sampling of the media’s most desperate damage control, watch the video below:
Last Friday MSNBC’s Ali Velshi stood in front of a burning building and absurdly refused to describe the scene as “unruly.” That’s a descriptor more appropriately reserved for a hyper kindergarten class than for felonious arson — but evidently even that soft language was a bridge too far for Velshi: “I want to be clear in how I characterize this. This was, uh, mostly a protest. It is not, generally speaking, unruly. But fires have been started.”
The following evening, CNN’s Don Lemon deemed the riots a “mechanism” for “some sort of change.” The CNN Tonight host fumblingly argued that the kind of rioting unfolding on-screen was “how this country was started,” likening the destruction and looting to the Boston Tea Party:
Our country was started because — this is how — the Boston Tea Party. Rioting. So don’t — do not get it twisted and think that, oh, this is something that has not — has never happened before, and this is so terrible, and where are we, and these savages, and all of that. This is how this country was started.
TV journalists have a lengthy track record of excusing mob behavior ostensibly motivated by racial grievances. Back during the Los Angeles riots in response to the police shooting of Rodney King, USA Today contributor Julianne Malveaux described the rioters as “freedom fighters,” in a May 10, 1992 San Francisco Examiner column. She went on: “I not only accept the rebellions in Los Angeles, I identify with them.”
Just five years ago, then-CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill justified the crimes committed by rioters in Baltimore:
During CNN’s live coverage on Monday night of the Baltimore riots, CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill urged viewers to view what was taking place as “not a riot” but “uprisings” in response to African-Americans “dying in the streets for months, years, decades, centuries” due to “police terrorism.”
To be clear, the liberal media have not supported every protest that’s taken place over the past five years. Contrast the current state of affairs with their handling of the anti-lockdown protests just a few weeks ago, when journalists like MSNBC’s Craig Melvin advocated for demonstrators to be arrested.
Given their behavior over the past few days, TV journalists appear ready to overlook nearly any sort of mob behavior, so long as it’s done the name of a liberal-sounding cause.