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28 Jul, 2020 19:27

Dems, media allies cry foul after GOP leader ‘hijacks’ Barr hearing with video showing violent side of protests

Dems, media allies cry foul after GOP leader ‘hijacks’ Barr hearing with video showing violent side of protests

A US House hearing meant by Democrats to excoriate Attorney General William Barr got off to a rocky start Monday as ranking Republican Jim Jordan showed a video montage of violent protests raging across the country.

The video began with clips of more than a dozen media outlets and Democrat leaders describing the wave of anti-racism demonstrations as "peaceful protests," followed by the widow of retired St Louis police captain David Dorn speaking about the murder of her husband by a looter on June 2. Video of rioting, looting and arson then begins to play with the widow's speech continuing.

Immediately after the seven-minute video ended, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said, "Well, I hope that Mr Jordan will never complain about the length of my opening statement.” He added that Republicans had violated policy by failing to give the committee 48-hour notice of a video exhibit.

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CNN dismissively described the video as showing "scenes of protesters and police clashing." It also called into question the veracity of the footage: "While numerous anti-racism protests broke out after the killing of George Floyd, it's not clear where or when the videos in the GOP montage were taken."

Most of the clips were well known scenes from the recent protests, such as anarchists cutting through a security fence outside the federal courthouse in Portland with a power saw, a Target store being looted, and a protester clubbing New York's police chief over the head. Large fires can be seen over the shoulders of some of the reporters describing "peaceful protests."

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Nadler and the other Democrats on the committee moved on to grilling Barr and suggesting that he may need to be impeached, but PBS and NBC journalist Jeff Greenfield tweeted that Jordan's video "pretty much hijacked the hearing before Barr testifies. I don't recall anything like this in all the years I've been watching hearings." Greenfield has been in journalism more than 50 years, including stints with CNN, ABC News and CBS News.

Aaron Morrison, a race and ethnicity reporter for the Associated Press, said the video was selectively edited and misleading. "As someone who covered the protests in Minneapolis and elsewhere, Jordan's video doesn't show that the vast majority of Floyd protests have been peaceful," he said on Twitter.

NBC legal analyst Maya Wiley called Jordan's strategy divisive and manipulative. "It willfully ignores what we must unify to solve and how law enforcement violence instigates more," she tweeted.

CNN contributor Dean Obeidallah took the criticism up several notches: "It says so much that the GOP leader, Jim Jordan, opened with a video that expressed zero sympathy for George Floyd or mentioned that black lives matter," he tweeted. "Instead, he showed a Klan-like collage of images of black people looting."

The vehement reactions showed that Jordan clearly struck at the heart of the escalating political fight in Washington: fundamental disagreements over what Americans are seeing before their very eyes in the Black Lives Matter and Antifa protest movements.

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