Updated: Jul 13, 2020
by Josh Gane
Have you noticed that there is little to no news coverage of protest recently? At least, there isn't any on CNN. Granted, Fox News continues to hunt and expose any example of 'thug' activity to remind us that danger is still lurking, that the hippies and the black menace are still at it. But you cannot find a news story that shows peaceful protest on any national news outlet, beyond the casual mention. Why? The protests have not gone anywhere.
Local news in Minneapolis updates the protests daily, but those stories do not run outside of Minnesota. If you live in a state with less protest activity, you are probably not aware that peaceful protest is still happening every day.
Peaceful protest is just not sexy. It doesn't sell on CNN and it doesn't sell on Fox News. Fox News is forced to cover any violence remotely associated with the Black Lives Matter movement because right wing viewers are hungry for any reason to condemn the movement. "Peaceful protest is okay!" I read on social media, "But these thugs that are destroying property and targeting police officers are not protesting correctly. They are criminals."
And for the record, they are right. By definition, people who break the law are criminals. That seems pretty obvious to me, but if we need to reiterate it: 4th Grade Civics Lesson: Those who break the law are called criminals. Okay, now that is out of the way, and I am pretty sure that property damage and violence against police has always been a thing, but we are willing to focus on it intently if it discredits the protest movement with whom we disagree. Liberals too do not focus on peaceful right-wing protest. If the protesters are not holding rifles, little is said about it on CNN.
So, peaceful right-wing protest is not covered on more liberal outlets, and peaceful left-wing protest is not covered on more conservative outlets. What is left? NO peaceful protest gets any coverage, other than the local news telling you that you may want to travel an alternate route to work today since protesters are blocking southbound traffic on 35.
Now, even as I am trying to be somewhat even handed in my analysis of both liberal and conservative news outlets, it is worth noting that this Black Lives Matter movement is one of the largest and longest lasting protests in United States history. If any peaceful protest should be covered, in my opinion, it is that one.
So, what happened? Nothing happened. People just simply do not get proper attention for a cause, from ALL media outlets, unless there is property destruction and/or violence. Am I wrong? If my memory serves me correctly, CNN was not running with the Minneapolis protests until day two or three, when the burning started. I am sure there was an affiliate or two on the ground, but man, when the national guard showed up, that was some movie worthy news! I got to see a reporter shot in the head with a gas canister!
But they came. All of the news outlets. The movement got attention. It is unfortunate that this is a reality. But this is not the first example in American history, and it will not be the last. There was a really famous protest that involved property damage. It was called the Boston Tea Party. People worked to produce that tea, and capitalists invested time and money to buy and sell that tea. But those thugs, probably wearing white wigs riding low like gangsters, destroyed property to make a point. Do you think that it worked? Well, we are still talking about it in 2020!
The result of the media and the consumer's obsession with violence and destruction, is that the cause behind the protest gets lost, and the protest itself is the story. With peaceful protest, we as people are more likely to discuss what it is that needs to change. But we never discuss peaceful protest, because it is not sexy. Now that is a catch 22.
What are people without power supposed to do? I am asking. I do not think that there is a correct answer. I will say that the Black Lives Matter movement is important. And for people on the right and the left, try and remember why they are out there.