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‘Mostly peaceful riots’? Mainstream media has given up any shred of objectivity over BLM violence. How thick do they think we are?

Guy Birchall
Guy Birchall

Guy Birchall, British journalist covering current affairs, politics and free speech issues. Recently published in The Sun and Spiked Online. Follow him on Twitter @guybirchall

Guy Birchall, British journalist covering current affairs, politics and free speech issues. Recently published in The Sun and Spiked Online. Follow him on Twitter @guybirchall

‘Mostly peaceful riots’? Mainstream media has given up any shred of objectivity over BLM violence. How thick do they think we are?
Media outlets in the US and UK have been conducting mental gymnastics worthy of Cirque du Soleil 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” being bandied about on your TV screens and appearing in headlines all over the internet a lot recently. “Peaceful” is an interesting adjective, because in most cases if something is peaceful, it is self-evident. For example, you’d only have to look at a photograph of a yoga retreat or a calm lake on a warm summer’s day and your brain would instantly think, “peaceful”. Likewise, with its opposite “violent”; normally if something is violent it is perfectly obvious: baying mobs, cage fighting, Quentin Tarantino movies - they’re violent and you don’t need to be told they are.

Which is why it is rather interesting that “peaceful” has crept into the headlines of countless stories about the recent protests following the tragic death of George Floyd. Virtually every news outlet, from CNN to MSNBC to the BBC and Sky News, even the Daily Mail, 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”. 

Next CNN revealed to us that Target was temporarily closing some of its stores and adjusting opening hours “amid protests”. What this headline neglected to mention was that a branch of Target in Minneapolis was one of the first to get looted in the city during the “peaceful” protests.

There were many other instances in cities across the US of protestors “liberating” Nike sneakers and Louis Vuitton handbags because of oppression or something. Interestingly, in America these “peaceful protests” have led to curfews and the National Guard being called out in several states.

Obviously, these protests eventually spread to the UK because Orange Man Bad or Tories Racist, perhaps both. These began in Hyde Park last week where thousands gathered in flagrant disregard of social distancing to complain about a crime that happened 4,000 miles away. 

Eventually, a crowd gathered outside Downing Street and began hurling projectiles at the British police officers guarding the Prime Minister’s home while chanting “Boris is a pussyhole”. This resulted in 13 arrests after a “scuffle”broke out between police and some of the protestors. Sky News were running a live blog on the event and did report this “scuffle”, but added: “It should be noted that all those present say the huge majority of the protests passed peacefully”. Well, that’s alright then.

The protests sprang up again at the weekend in London, which definitely had everything to do with fighting racism and nothing to do with the entire city being housebound for three months. This event resulted in widespread civil unrest, vandalism, a total lack of social distancing and bottles and bicycles being hurled at mounted police. We were also greeted with the ridiculous spectacle of protestors shouting “hands up, don’t shoot” at unarmed British police officers, who were later filmed running away from the madding crowd. 

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.

The Daily Telegraph said the shocking incidents occurred “following the largely peaceful Black Lives Matter protests”.

And how did the BBC report this event? “27 police officers injured at largely peaceful anti-racism protest”. I’d hate to see what Auntie’s news division considers “a bit of a barney” if 27 injured coppers still qualify as “mostly peaceful”. It seems safe to say if 27 police officers were injured at an FA Cup final it wouldn’t be regarded as a “mostly peaceful”football match. 

Although not as blatant as the BBC’s reportage, Sky News was also at pains to point out that the injuries happened after a “largely peaceful day”. I somehow doubt a pro-Brexit rally that resulted in dozens of injured policemen would have received quite such understanding coverage.

Even when they don’t try to claim that obvious violence is in fact peaceful, the MSM offers soft touch coverage. Rather than describing the people who ripped down a statue of Edward Colston in Bristol as vandals, which they are, they were called anti-racism protestors. Quite how the demonstrators have any argument to be protesting against police brutality when the officer in charge of “policing” the protest appeared on TV in a gay pride lanyard and defended his failure to do anything to stop this destruction of property, I don’t know. 

It also bleeds into coverage of the issues surrounding the protests, such as deaths in police custody. On June 3, the BBC published an analysis breaking down by race the number of people who have died in police custody in England and Wales over the past ten years. 

What this piece found was that 85% of people who have died in police custody since 2009 were white and 8% were black. That means that a white person who is arrested is 25% more likely to die in police custody than a black person. The article was headlined: “George Floyd death: How many black people die in police custody in England and Wales?”

Do we for one second believe if it had turned out that black people were 25% more likely to die in police custody than white people that this wouldn’t have been the headline? One doesn’t need to be a rocket scientist to conclude that they are burying this fact because it doesn’t fit the narrative.

Even the immigrant hating, Tory loving, evil Daily Mail is joining in on the act. This week it ran an article headlined “Fears of violence as far-Right groups outline plans to 'defend' statues in London this weekend”. Oh now there are fears of violence? Because last weekend’s statue toppling, police attacking, missile throwing display of unbridled yobbery was completely justified because it was done in the name of diversity?

How thick do they think the viewing, reading public is if they believe they can show footage of a rioting mob and we’ll believe it is a peaceful protest just because they say it is? Can they stop pretending that they are even making the vaguest attempt at objectivity when it comes to covering the Black Lives Matter protests. 

We get it, you either completely approve of these actions or are so petrified of being branded racist for pointing out that the movement has been infiltrated by revolutionary Marxist thugs that you have decided not to do your jobs properly. Whichever of these two options is the case, just admit it and stop insulting our intelligence by pretending to be impartial. Violence is never peaceful, regardless of what Big Brother might say.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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