icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm

Fashion icons? Lionising the people who’ve turned Portland into a battleground shames the proud history of the Washington Post

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

Fashion icons? Lionising the people who’ve turned Portland into a battleground shames the proud history of the Washington Post
While ‘protesters’ pelt cops with balloons of sh*t and set fire to police stations, the Post is treating them like a hot new band clad in haute couture. It would be laughable if it weren’t so irresponsible.

If your city had been terrorised by masked thugs for months on end, you might expect the media coverage of the rioters to be, at the very least, mildly circumspect. You might even think it would be condemnatory in tone to a certain extent.

What you would not expect is for them to receive a glowing profile, complete with a high-end fashion shoot praising their protests as “what your city does best”. But if you have the misfortune to be one of the few remaining sane people living in Portland, Oregon, that’s exactly what you got. 

Over the weekend, the Washington Post decided to run a bizarre profile of some of the “mostly peaceful” protesters who have kept the city in a state of civil unrest since May. 

The piece felt like the kind of thing Rolling Stone or Q Magazine would run of the movers and shakers of a hot new musical trend taking off. Only, instead of guitars and drums being the order of the day, the subjects were clad in masks and clutching rudimentary shields fashioned out of trash cans and water barrels. 

Also on rt.com Portland protesters attack another police HQ, throw rocks and fireworks at officers (VIDEOS)

The article was poetically titled “Trump sent agents to quell unrest. But protest is what Portland does best” – a fitting headline perhaps for a story about people who have built their entire philosophy on stuff that rhymes, such as “Silence is violence”, “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA,” and the ever popular “No border, no wall, no USA at all”. You get the drift.

We are then told: “Some parents take their children to sit in the stands of football games or baseball diamonds. The children of Portland come of age clapping to protest songs and stomping their feet to chants for justice and peace.”

How can anyone read that and not feel sorry for these kids? I don’t know that we’ve definitely lost the next Patrick Mahomes or Pedro Martinez because their family decided they’d be better off learning how to throw Molotov cocktails rather than balls, but don’t they deserve a childhood?

Framing these protests as a family affair is simultaneously untrue and irresponsible because – and this might surprise the protesting parents of Portland and their cheerleaders at the Washington Post – pepper spray and pre-teens should not mix, and most definitely not recreationally. 

Accompanying this nonsense of how “protests are as natural as the salmon swimming in the Willamette River” are numerous pictures of Portlanders, showing them both in their civvies and then in their Antifa-style riot gear, as if they are members of a painfully middle-class lefty Avengers or the Social Justice League.

Also on rt.com The disappointing reality of Portland’s ‘Naked Athena’: ‘Revolutionaries’ thought-police themselves into apologizing

They don the “black-bloc” garb designed to keep them anonymous and difficult to distinguish in the crowd, often with a flash of colour on their repurposed bicycle or skateboard helmet. Their faces are obscured by gas masks and goggles, fully prepared to encounter anti-riot measures such as tear gas. They may say they just expect the police to overreact, but both sides are turning up dressed for a fight. 

The article does at least acknowledge that these black-clad individuals haven’t been models of restraint during the recent unrest in Portland. It acknowledges that they “vandalised” the federal courthouse, which prompted President Trump to send in federal agents after state and city officials failed to deal with the violence. But then in the next breath, it praises the “stamina and creativity” of the protesters, and it appears this “creativity” extends beyond just catchy slogans.

According to the police and federal forces who’ve been dispatched to the city, they have been pelted with rocks, bottles, ball bearings, and balloons filled with paint and excrement. Some of the protesters even decided to try their hand at arson, starting fires in several police stations, police union offices and even the Justice Center housing the county jail.

The local mayor, Ted Wheeler, at no point attempted to retain control but rather kowtowed to the mob, willingly exposing himself to tear gas fired after a crowd failed to disperse. He claimed he stood with the protesters against Trump’s “occupying force,” but even this self-abasement wasn’t enough. and the crowd still branded him a fascist and demanded his resignation.

Also on rt.com Riots are driving Portland’s small businesses under, but mainstream media wants to sell you a different story

Yesterday marked the 75th consecutive night of protests in the city. Over the weekend, when this article was published, 25 people were arrested, after again clashing with riot police. Leaf blowers are now commonly seen in the streets to try and blow away tear gas fired by cops. Considering the protesters want police funding cut by 50 per cent in the city, they are doing a bloody good job of arguing for it to be trebled.

It must be bad enough for the average Portlander to know that the city is going to descend into a soymilk-fuelled am-dram production of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ every night, as dozens of poundshop Banes flood the streets and wreak havoc.

Yet it surely just adds insult to injury to see these same people lionised in one of the world’s most celebrated papers. Portland may be in the West Coast, but this cynical attempt to turn it back into the Wild West purely because some don’t like the man in the White House stopped being about civil rights a long time ago.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

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

Podcasts