Checkout last October’s violent, destructive riot in Keene, New Hampshire. You did hear about it, right?
CNN said: “Tear gas and pepper spray hung in the air as police in riot gear descended on Keene, New Hampshire, on Saturday night, trying to disperse a rowdy crowd that brought chaos to the city’s 24th annual Pumpkin Festival, CNN affiliates reported.” Here is their caption on line: Note the language: ROWDY. UNRULY. They were a bunch of kids misbehaving… Oh? Take a gander at these naughty, naughty kids:
You see what I mean…
Where was the live, coast to coast coverage of this looting, rioting, and wanton destruction? As I noted above, CNN described this riot as “UNRULY.” How would it have been perceived if video of the outbreak had been run over and over? Would these wholesome New Englanders be called THUGS? Or OUTSIDE AGITATORS? What caused this 2012 New Hampshire riot? The annual Jack-O-Lantern Festival. That is it. Nothing else. They rioted for fun: Steven French, 18, who was visiting from Haverhill, Massachusetts, described the chaotic scene to the local paper, The Keene Sentinel, as “wicked.” “It’s just like a rush. You’re revolting from the cops,” he told the paper. “It’s a blast to do things that you’re not supposed to do.” So, by his own admission, Steven French came all the way from another state! Why was this THUG not denounced over and over again as an OUTSIDE AGITATOR causing TROUBLE?
It was good clean fun, when these people did it, and did it for no good reason. I don’t think there is ever an excuse for such violence. And yet, if we look, there is always a reason. And when people denounce reasons as “an excuse,” they are simply trying to shut down discussion. So let’s look at one small point about Baltimore: In a city of only 622,000 – they have recently had to pay out over a million a year for police brutality cases. That is what the media calls it, but “Police Brutality” is a rather sweeping category. What happened is the Baltimore cops arrested hundreds of Black people over the years, without cause – and the District Attorney dismissed the cases, noting that there was no cause for the arrests. This is where the cash settlements came in. But – and this is a BIG but – all the people arrested STILL, to this day, have arrest records. Owing to this, they have not been able to get good jobs. When applying for work, they ALWAYS have to fill out forms saying that they have an arrest record. When the arrest is looked up, there it is, listed with the charges that were later found baseless. But THAT important fact is not mentioned. People are abused and they are suffering and the pot has been simmering for a long, long time. And anyone who knew about it, knew it would explode one day. Now it has. This is not an excuse. It is just one of the reasons, and we avoid reason at our own peril. How would you feel if you spent the rest of your life with an arrest record that you knew was false? Would you whistle a happy tune? Would you say, “Oh well, things happen”? Or would you be angry? Good and goddamned angry? What if you found out that almost all your friends also were also unjustly stigmatized? Would you form a choir and sing about it? Really? There is no trust of the police among people thus abused. And when someone was killed in police custody – for the “crime” of making EYE CONTACT with cops (well Baltimore is below the Mason-Dixon Line) that threw fuel on the long-smoldering fire. An outbreak was thoroughly inevitable.
And was the Pumpkin Riot also inevitable? We won’t know that without knowing the reasons behind it, if any. But we do know one thing: It was predictable. It had happened just like this the year before. So this was not an isolated incident. And it didn’t have any obvious reason. It was not in protest of anything. It was not because of injustice, not to redress grievances. It happened just for the hell of it. That makes it worse than Baltimore or Ferguson. So I ask: How long will the New Hampshire thugs get to do this, year in and year out, without the same scrutiny that attends outbreaks sparked by injustice and constant abuse? Suppose the Pumpkin Festival had been held in Watts… Or Newark… Or Detroit? You can bet your last dollar you would have seen this live – as it happens! – on all the cable “news” channels, and then for days afterwards. And you would have seen the usual parade of politicians denouncing it over and over and over – riots offer much in the way of media face time.
The circus we call “the news media” feeds into stereotypes, not to inform – but to fan the flames of anger and fear just to increase their viewer numbers and raise their advertising rates. That is all they exist for. Is that an “excuse” for their gross irresponsibility? No. But it is a reason. And for that reason, they will lie straight out just to affirm what they think people want to hear. If you need confirmation, that is what they did just before the events in Baltimore, when they reported – as fact – the outright lies of Michael T. Slager, the police officer who brutally gunned down Walter Scott, shooting him eight times in the back. You can read the details of this illustrative case of biased reporting HERE. So, where was the outrage in New Hampshire last year? Or the year before? I defy you to find coverage of the Pumpkin Riots that describes anyone as a THUG or GANG-BANGER or OUTSIDE AGITATOR. Look for any “news” network that ran video over and over until viewers were infuriated at the sight of the destruction. Look. You simply will not find it… But you will see the hate and anger the coverage creates.
And that is how the gatekeepers of news give YOU a distorted picture of reality.