Note: This post is not from Jennet Kirkpatrick. I’m posting it for a student who had some technological difficulties.
Was this a fair and accurate way for the Arizona Republic to report President Trump’s rally in Phoenix with the subsequent violence that followed? I think not. I was not at the rally, but I followed the coverage from all 3 of our local networks on TV. The reporting from the local networks were considerably different, but they all showed what I considered an exemplary example of how political support and protest should be conducted. I viewed in “live time” thousands of pro-Trump and never-Trump citizens gather and make it clear what their feelings were. Much of the coverage showed the President speaking, then to the audience, and then showed what was happening outside the convention center.
The people at the Convention Center were vociferous but had peaceful declarations of different political ideologies. The majority of the signs were tasteful with most of them most advocating love, and some actually clever and humorous. However the problem area was a couple blocks away. There was not nearly as large of a crowd, but were predominantly ‘Anti-Trumpers’. The signage more hateful; not as clever but seemingly peaceful. The Phoenix Police Department appeared to be well organized and doing a good job of crowd control at both sites. then A few antagonists (some wearing masks even) started trying to insight violence.
Unfortunately they succeeded and the police reacted, as they were instructed. They used nonlethal measures (tear gas and pepper spray) to disburse the entire crowd, in order to prevent serious personal and property damage. As is often the case, there were non-violent protesters who were affected, many had no idea what the police actions were in reaction to. I saw some standing with their hands in the air yelling “don’t shoot”, when there had been no display of firearms by the police. I even saw others attempting to cause physical harm to the law enforcement personnel by hurling objects at them.
Given what we have witnessed in other protests gone bad, I feel this outcome was very favorable. Emerson urged followers to be non-conformists and to not to be hesitant to voice your objections. He recognized that your actions can be misunderstood, whether it be peaceful or violent. Many of the news outlets focused on the relative small sample of violence. In the AZ Republic’s case using the front page to show the police department looking like storm troopers marching toward an apparently innocent lone individual, and not showing any of those individuals initiating violence. I found no pictures showing the large crowds behaving properly. I did not see any pictures of so called Antifi members dressed in black clothing who came prepared with gas masks seemingly knowing they could provoke law enforcement to use tear gas.
This appeared to be yet another tactic of the mainstream media, in this case the Arizona Republic, to sell more newspapers. By focussing on the anarchists and there by giving them the attention and stage that they seek, greatly diminished the overwhelming numbers of citizens who attended the rally to exercise their rights to free speech.