How liberal is US media? Torch a cop car and win praise, but never be a Catholic kid in a MAGA hat
Robert Bridge is an American writer and journalist. He is the author of 'Midnight in the American Empire,' How Corporations and Their Political Servants are Destroying the American Dream. @Robert_Bridge
In the wee hours of May 29, as Black Lives Matter riots were engulfing sections of New York City, Brooklyn lawyers Urooj Rahman and Colinford Mattis made one of the worst career moves of their young lives. But you’d never guess that from the glowing media coverage that followed.
With Mattis behind the wheel of their vehicle, Rahman lit the fuse on a Molotov cocktail, improvised from an empty beer bottle, and tossed it into a police cruiser that had already suffered mob damage. The police gave chase and the two were duly arrested; they now face up to 45 years in prison.
Judging by the resurging wave of apologism, including the recent article in New York Intelligencer, however, the Bonnie and Clyde impersonators appear to be heading instead to the Academy Awards, complete with the politically tainted acceptance speeches. Just several paragraphs deep into the puff piece, author Lisa Miller drops Donald Trump’s name as though this will absolve the attorneys from their disastrous night on the town.
A terribly sad story. Two young and idealistic lawyers, get wrapped up in the BLM protest movement. In a moment of madness they throw a Molotov cocktail into an abandoned police car and burn it. Now they face a minimum 35 years in a federal prison. https://t.co/o8aRqjOSwY— Richard Spoor (@Richard_Spoor) August 5, 2020
Amid this intensely divisive period in US political history, “when a president and his advisers seem to regard the law as an obstacle course; when an attorney general metes out favors, not justice; and when immigrant children are held in cages and men are killed on video by police, some lawyers may want to embrace a more flexible definition of ‘lawless,’” Miller writes, not only suggesting that the transgressions of the Trump administration should exonerate attorneys who moonlight as arsonists, but that the law should actually go easy on such criminal behavior.
In the very next line, Miller introduces the reader to unnamed friends of the attorneys who would probably “concede in private” that tossing a Molotov cocktail into a police cruiser “represents a lapse in judgment,” but none of their peers “are willing to discuss the degree to which their friends may have been ethically, professionally, morally, or legally out of bounds.”
Really? If that line doesn’t make you shout at your monitor, Miller, still improvising for the pair’s anonymous friends, goes on to argue that “the [right-wing] prosecution of their friends for an act of… political vandalism is far more extreme than the crime itself; that it amounts to a criminalization of dissent and reflects a broader right-wing crusade against people of color and the progressive left.”
In other words, to follow this twisted line of logic, arresting someone for breaking the law is “extreme,” while torching a police car is practically the same as exercising one’s First Amendment right to free speech. Got it.
Who hasn’t made a Molotov cocktail and thrown it at a police car in a momentary lapse of judgement at one point in their career? 🤦♂️— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) August 6, 2020
Miller wraps up her eloquent apology by suggesting that the two attorneys are not really troublemakers looking to “f--king take it all down,” as Rahman was quoted as saying shortly before lobbing her explosive beer bottle, but rather “civil-rights heroes, even martyrs, instead of professionals who crossed a line.”
You can’t make this stuff up, but obviously someone did.
The rest of the rambling article champions on behalf of the offenders in exactly the same vein. At one point, another phantom friend was quoted as calling Colinford Mattis a “cute, lovable baby” when he’s not driving getaway cars from crime scenes. Another suggested Mattis could someday “run for mayor,” I’m guessing so that he could disband the entire police force – every Liberal’s wet dream – and never have to worry about facing criminal charges again.
Reading this drivel hammered home the point that the United States is splitting apart along a fault line that separates two radically different political camps that simply cannot live together under the same roof. To prove the point, imagine if Rahman and Mattis had been from the wrong side of the political train tracks, that is, deplorable Trump supporters. Would the media have been so enthusiastic to support their criminal actions? We already know the answer.
Rewind to January 2019. Nick Sandmann, a 15-year-old student from Covington Catholic High School, was standing with his friends on the National Mall, waiting for a bus to take them home after attending a March for Life event. Suddenly, the teenager found himself face-to-face with a Native American elder who was beating on a ceremonial drum. Sandmann, donning a red MAGA cap, responded by unflinchingly staring back at the man with a calm smile on his face. And that was the end of the story, or at least it should have been.
What followed next has been rightly called a national Rorschach Test. The mainstream media found video of the exchange and proceeded to present it as some sort of racist attack against the Indian by a teenager who did not identify with the left. As a result, Nick Sandmann, who didn’t trash a police cruiser, loot a shopping mall, or assault a single person, was dragged over the media coals for – wait for it – smirking.
“The smirk on the face of this white kid with a red MAGA hat, as he taunts a Native American elder singing an intertribal song, is simply unbearable,”wrote David Boddiger for Splinter.
Former CNN host Reza Aslan was so annoyed by the teenager’s smugness that he tweeted, “Honest question. Have you ever seen a more punchable face than this kid’s?”
Finally, BuzzFeed writer Anne Helen Peterson commented in a now-deleted tweet that Sandmann’s expression is “the look of white patriarchy.”
How is it possible that the media could express such palpable hatred for a young man who clearly committed no crime, yet glorify the actions of two others that were undeniably illegal? The media’s blatant lack of objective reporting, to the point where criminals are portrayed as saints at the same time that innocents are demonized, is helping to lead the country into dangerous political waters. At a time when the country desperately needs a meditative and dispassionate media voice to defuse partisan tensions, it has got just the opposite. Had the media spent just five minutes researching what had actually happened between Sandmann and the Native American (summed up here), they could have saved themselves massive amounts of embarrassment, not to mention money.
In response to their inaccurate coverage of the incident, lawyers representing the teenager sought $800 million from CNN, the Washington Post, NBC Universal, and many other outlets. Last month, the Washington Post settled out of court for an undisclosed amount of money. CNN, meanwhile, settled in January.
Although Nick Sandmann may have got the last laugh through his legal saga, the country should be shedding tears considering that mainstream media bias has not gone away, and, as recent events suggest, continues to drive a deep wedge in American society that can only end in disaster.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.