Media outlets in the US and UK have been conducting mental gymnastics to portray rioters as virtuous, non-violent freedom fighters even as they film them starting fires and ripping down statues. You may have noticed the word “peaceful” has crept into the headlines of countless stories about the recent protests. Virtually every news outlet have insisted that all the demonstrations in his name have been mainly placid, well-mannered affairs. They seem to have forgotten, however, that the cameras are rolling.
The first widely memed incident of this sort of coverage was footage from MSNBC. This showed reporter Ali Velshi standing outside a building in Minneapolis that was literally on fire as looting took place all around him, insisting that what was going on was “mostly a protest” and “was not generally speaking unruly”.
Obviously, these protests eventually spread to the UK because Orange Man Bad or Tories Racist, perhaps both. Eventually, a crowd gathered outside Downing Street and began hurling projectiles at the British police officers Sky News were running a live blog on the event.. “It should be noted that all those present say the huge majority of the protests passed peacefully”. Well, that’s alright then.
It also resulted in a female mounted police officer being left with serious injuries, including a broken collar bone and collapsed lung, after protestors threw firecrackers at her horse, causing it to bolt and smash her into a traffic light. The crowd’s reaction? It was to cheer. And how did the BBC report this event? “27 police officers injured at largely peaceful anti-racism protest”…