Regular readers will recall this is a perennial pet peeve of mine.
Trump threatens to pull federal funding from Berkeley because of protest against Milo. https://t.co/P9wlHUfmWy pic.twitter.com/c2ISSg43GN
— Slate (@Slate) February 2, 2017
Milo Yiannopoulous’ speech at UC-Berkeley canceled over protest https://t.co/rQmwwgxBVR pic.twitter.com/htE4Mkk9Sn
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) February 2, 2017
#MiloYiannopoulos protest at UC Berkeley gets heated as protesters break fences, windows and throw smoke bombs. https://t.co/GE0oR70iyd pic.twitter.com/Qtje4Wvh19
— NBC Bay Area (@nbcbayarea) February 2, 2017
BREAKING: Officials cancel Breitbart News editor talk at UC Berkeley after protesters throw smoke bombs, flares at building.
— The Associated Press (@AP) February 2, 2017
#BREAKING: Protesters are shooting fireworks at officers at UC Berkeley. Tear gas fired. https://t.co/7FjjKMalYj
— KRON4 News (@kron4news) February 2, 2017
Note that the first two tweets I cited are also part of a larger trend I’m noticing, where outlets choose to use sanitized images to mischaracterize the event in question. Why, how could anyone oppose those nice looking students holding up their signs? The Slate headline is also wildly misleading; Trump’s concern wasn’t the protests, it was “[practicing] violence on innocent people with a different point of view.”
“Protesters” don’t shoot fireworks at police officers, they don’t throw smoke bombs, they don’t use flares, and they don’t break fences and windows. They definitely don’t set fires, beat people unconscious with metal poles, rob ATMs, swarm and destroy cars, or attack women in Trump hats. “Rioters” do that. Alternatively, “criminals” or “thugs.”
I’ll repeat what I said the last time this came up: this is actually a disservice to the anti-Milo, anti-Trump, anti-whatever protesters. Because when “protester” is used as a catch-all to include the peaceful and the violent alike, the public will begin to unfairly conflate the two. That sanitizes the violence, but simultaneously casts practicing a fundamental right as an accessory to criminality.
[Image via screengrab]
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This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.