Constructing a Media Narrative with Distant Bricks

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Part of my weekend went toward an attempt to view some unedited video taken by Steve Ahlquist of RI Future at the first #NotMyPresident rally in Providence.  My suspicion is that somebody in the crowd shouted some outrageous things (even more outrageous than the “shut up, white boy,” that slipped past the censor), and the smiling activist making a speech at the time agreed with him.

We know from news reports that other journalists were in attendance, and within ear shot, at the time, and yet I’ve seen not a word about it and precious little about the racism that the speaking activist, Mike Araujo, unambiguously proclaimed.  And yet…  here’s a story out of California that did make today’s Providence Journal, by way of the Washington Post:

Three young men were standing on the sidewalk [at a Veterans Day parade in a northern California town], each carrying a variation of the Confederate flag. …

Two of the men, the congressman said, were wearing Donald Trump T-shirts.

A few guys holding flags and wearing t-shirts in an unnamed town on the other side of the country?  That’s news.  Overt racism at an event in Providence?  Not so much.

An unconfirmed story about somebody threatening a Muslim college student and demanding she take off her hijab in Michigan?  That fits the narrative.  An anti-Trump protester holding a “Rape Melania” sign or a man being beaten while his attackers shout about his supporting Trump?  Eh, the page layout people just don’t see the space.

Led by the progressive hate group, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the mainstream media is already hard at work constructing another false narrative.  For younger readers, this is now an undeniable pattern.  During the two terms of George W. Bush, the media made stars out of people who hated him and fomented as much outrage as they could.  During Barack Obama’s two terms, the “stars” turned into villains, and the president’s own outrages were barely covered and never, ever characterized as “scandals.”

Now, they’re back to ginning up “resistance” without missing a beat, and the violence they’re stoking is starting out at a much more fevered pitch.  With these stories, anybody who genuinely feels endangered in the Trump Era will only live under a larger shadow, and any of them inclined toward violence will only feel more justified in using it.

Anybody who might ask how we can trust a news media that behaves this way, the short answer is that we can’t.  Specific facts reported will likely be reliable (although look carefully for words like “unconfirmed” tucked deep in the text), but the narrative they’re constructing is false.  Moreover, it’s a central reason we wound up with Donald Trump as a president.  I shudder to think what might be next if they keep it up.



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