The Corner

Politics & Policy

Dear Mainstream Media, Don’t You Dare Whitewash Anti-Trump Violence

Last night, anti-Trump protesters rioted in Costa Mesa, California. Yes, rioted. That’s what you call it when “demonstrations” turn into this:

Or this:

Just imagine for a moment the shrieking outrage if Trump supporters had tried to flip a car outside a Hillary Clinton rally. Imagine the fury at the sight of a bloody man wearing a Hillary shirt. So how did the mainstream media cover the anti-Trump riot? Hot Air’s Larry O’Connor has the details:

Check out the LA Times headline: Protests rage outside Trump rally in Orange County; 17 arrested, police car smashed.

Maybe it’s me, but if your headline includes the phrase: “police car smashed,” perhaps you should go ahead and call it a riot and not the benign and righteous sounding “protest.”

The Times write-up of the ugly violence begins with more apologetic language: “Hundreds of demonstrators filled the street outside the Orange County amphitheater where Donald Trump held a rally Thursday night…”

“Demonstrators”??? This is a very deliberate use of language. When you have a righteous cause, you’re a “demonstrator.” The Times is using language equating these thugs with someone marching in Selma. “Demonstrators” sounds heroic.

The Washington Post used the morally-neutral term “clashed.”

Trump protesters clashed with police officers here after a campaign rally Thursday hosted by the Republican presidential candidate.

It’s just a clash, folks. Who knows how it started? Then there was this tweet from an L.A. Times reporter:

I’m sorry, but an anti-Trump riot is not a “Donald Trump storm.” 

Let’s state this as plainly as possible: Nothing Trump has done justifies a violent response. Nothing. Yet the more the media whitewashes this violence and applies its typical double standard to left-wing thugs, the more the violence will escalate.

Clearly the media sympathizes with these Mexican flag-waving crowds in much the same way that it sympathized with the rioters at Ferguson and Baltimore. But when you excuse political violence, you tend to get more of it. We know leftist radicals aren’t shy about taking so-called “direct action” to intimidate opponents. We also know that at least some Trump supporters are spoiling for a fight. Trump himself has been spoiling for a fight. We risk the worst political violence in a generation. Am I wrong to believe that some in the media are thrilled at the prospect — so long as the Left is leading the charge?

David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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