Watching coverage of the unrest in Charlotte, North Carolina last night, I was struck by a common trend in how the most violent acts were being covered. Here are the three most-shared tweets of the night, but notice what they all have in common.
— Mark Barber (@MBarberWSOC9) September 21, 2016
BREAKING: Hornets confirm that the team store at the arena is being looted by protestors. pic.twitter.com/Q2QKfJDXaA
— WSOCTV (@wsoctv) September 22, 2016
— WCCB, Charlotte's CW (@WCCBCharlotte) September 22, 2016
Looting a Wal-Mart, destruction of property, attempted murder, all carried out by… “protesters.”
There are thousands of protests in America every year, all of which manage to be nonviolent. I’ve been to quite a few of them, including entirely peaceful Black Lives Matter protests. None of them involved throwing people into a fire. Heck, none of them managed to set anything on fire.
I suppose you could make a convoluted argument about how the protests were against white supremacy, and capitalism and the media are agents of white supremacy, therefore attacking those institutions are acts of “protest” or whatever. But if even violent attempted murder and destruction of property can be a “protest” so long as the motives are political, I don’t see why the same can’t be said of, say, a terrorist attack. But I’ve never seen a tweet or headline describing Osama Bin Laden as a mere “protester.”
Watch: Shots Fired. Riots Kick Off in Charlotte