Riot or Resistance? How Media Frames Unrest in Minneapolis Will Shape Public’s View of Protest

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Yves here. Good to see actual data that shows the considerable difference between how the press treated the pink pussyhats, versus both people of color and whites protesting police violence against blacks. But the media isn’t the only part of the problem. Recall that when Black Lives Matter die-ins were becoming popular and getting media attention, the Democratic party managed to infiltrate many Black Lives Matter groups and the die-ins died off (Lambert chronicled this back in the day and can name names). Similarly, it isn’t just Trump that called protestors against murder-by-cop “thugs”. As Lambert showed in Water Cooler yesterday, the sainted Obama did so at least twice during his term in office.

By Danielle K. Kilgo, Assistant Professor of Journalism, Indiana University. Originally published at The Conversation

A teenager held her phone steady enough to capture the final moments of George Perry Floyd’s life as he apparently suffocated under the weight of a Minneapolis police officer’s knee on his neck. The video went viral.

What happened next has played out time and again in American cities after high-profile cases of alleged police brutality.

Vigils and protests were organized in Minneapolis and around the United States to demand police accountability. But while investigators and officials called for patience, unrest boiled over. News reports soon carried images of property destruction and police in riot gear.

The general public’s opinions about protests and the social movements behind them are formed in large part by what they read or see in the media. This gives journalists a lot of power when it comes to driving the narrative of a demonstration.

They can emphasize the disruption protests cause or echo the dog whistles of politicians that label protesters as “thugs.” But they can also remind the public that at the heart of the protests is the unjust killing of another black person. This would take the emphasis away from the destruction of the protests and toward the issues of police impunity and the effects of racism in its many forms.

The role journalists play can be indispensable if movements are to gain legitimacy and make progress. And that puts a lot of pressure on journalists to get things right.

My research has found that some protest movements have more trouble than others getting legitimacy. My co-author Summer Harlow and I have studied how local and metropolitan newspapers cover protests. We found that narratives about the Women’s March and anti-Trump protests gave voice to protesters and significantly explored their grievances. On the other end of the spectrum, protests about anti-black racism and indigenous people’s rights received the least legitimizing coverage, with them more often seen as threatening and violent.

Forming the Narrative

Decades ago, scholars James Hertog and Douglas McLeod identified how news coverage of protests contributes to the maintenance of the status quo, a phenomenon referred to as “the protest paradigm.” They held that media narratives tend to emphasize the drama, inconvenience and disruption of protests rather than the demands, grievances and agendas of protesters. These narratives trivialize protests and ultimately dent public support.

Here’s how this theoretically plays out today:

Journalists pay little attention to protests that aren’t dramatic or unconventional.

Knowing this, protesters find ways to capture media and public attention. They don pink “pussy” hats or kneel during the national anthem. They might even resort to violence and lawlessness. Now the protesters have the media’s attention, but what they cover is often superficial or delegitimizing, focusing on the tactics and disruption caused and excluding discussion on the substance of the social movement.

We wanted to explore if this classic theory fit coverage from 2017 – a year of large-scale protests accompanying the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency.

To do so, we analyzed the framing of protest reporting from newspapers in Texas. The state’s size and diversity made it a good proxy for the country at large.

In all, we identified 777 articles by searching for terms such as “protest,” “protester,” “Black Lives Matter” and “Women’s March.” This included reports written by journalists in 20 Texas newsrooms, such as the El Paso Times and the Houston Chronicle, as well as syndicated articles from sources like the Associated Press.

We looked at how articles framed the protests in the headline, opening sentence and story structure, and classified the reporting using four recognized frames of protest:

  • Riot: Emphasizing disruptive behavior and the use or threat of violence.
  • Confrontation: Describing protests as combative, focusing on arrests or “clashes” with police.
  • Spectacle: Focusing on the apparel, signs or dramatic and emotional behavior of protesters.
  • Debate: Substantially mentioning protester’s demands, agendas, goals and grievances.

We also kept an eye out for sourcing patterns to identify imbalances that often give more credence to authorities than protesters and advocates.

Overall, news coverage tended to trivialize protests by focusing most often on dramatic action. But some protests suffered more than others.

Reports focused on spectacle more often than substance. Much was made of what protesters were wearing, crowd sizes – largeand smallcelebrity involvement and flaring tempers.

The substance of some marches got more play than others. Around half of the reports on anti-Trump protests, immigration rallies, women’s rights demonstrations and environmental actions included substantial information about protesters’ grievances and demands.

In contrast, Dakota Pipeline and anti-black racism-related protests got legitimizing coverage less than 25% of the time and were more likely to be described as disruptive and confrontational.

In coverage of a St. Louis protest over the acquittal of a police officer who killed a black man, violence, arrest, unrest and disruption were the leading descriptors, while concern about police brutality and racial injustice was reduced to just a few mentions. Buried more than 10 paragraphs down was the broader context: “The recent St. Louis protests follow a pattern seen since the August 2014 killing of Michael Brown in nearby Ferguson: the majority of demonstrators, though angry, are law-abiding.”

As a consequence of variances in coverage, Texas newspaper readers may form the perception that some protests are more legitimate than others. This contributes to what we call a “hierarchy of social struggle,” in which the voices of some advocacy groups are lifted over others.

Lurking Bias

Journalists contribute to this hierarchy by adhering to industry norms that work against less-established protest movements. On tight deadlines, reporters may default to official sources for statements and data. This gives authorities more control of narrative framing. This practice especially becomes an issue for movements like Black Lives Matter that are countering the claims of police and other officials.

Implicit bias also lurks in such reporting. Lack of diversity has long plagued newsrooms.

In 2017, the proportion of white journalists at The Dallas Morning News and the Houston Chronicle was more than double the proportion of white people in each city.

Protests identify legitimate grievances in society and often tackle issues that affect people who lack the power to address them through other means. That’s why it is imperative that journalists do not resort to shallow framing narratives that deny significant and consistent space to air the afflicted’s concerns while also comforting the very comfortable status quo.

This is an updated version of an article originally published on Jan. 16.

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106 comments

  1. Amfortas the hippie

    again…”We” need our own media.
    a Free Press.
    But how to accomplish that without a Billionaire, or control of government?
    How many shares of Comcast or Gannett or whomever owns CNN would “We” have to buy to have a controlling interest?
    the Right accomplished it with AM Radio, long neglected at the time…and with considerable funding from Rich White Guys.*
    That the MSM still uses rhetoric like “Free Press” to describe itself is utterly dishonest and harmful.
    “What, then, is to be done?”

    *Google “Pirate Radio”…all but the Wiki page on the real thing is about the movie of that name…curious, no?
    dig deeper, and one finds just how hard it has been made to obtain a radio station in this country…where the airwaves, right there in near plain english in the law, belong to Us.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirate_radio_in_North_America#United_States_of_America

    I sort of knew a guy who ran one of these close to Canyon Dam in central texas…the FCC, et alia repeatedly raided him like he was the Sinaloa Cartel…jack boots and armored personnel carriers and the whole bit.
    this was in the 90’s, and i remember being amazed that the Feds would go to such extremes over enforcement when all he was doing was filling a local niche, and practicing his First Amendment Rights.
    like with so many other things, this is sewn up by Giant Money and authoritarians, who enforce Barriers to Entry on the little people.

    Reply
    1. Acacia

      “What, then, is to be done?”

      As mentioned the other day: alternate media via the Internet. It’s here already. Print media, TV, and radio are legacy.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        but we’ve had that “alternate media via the internet” for 20 years…and look how easy it is to hijack, to infiltrate, to just plain shut off(whether the fbi, your ISP, or “technical issues”).
        with radio,one can listen to some radical thing and nobody knows.
        same with a paper, or a samizdat inky rag…it’ very easily concealed from “The Man”.
        where i go on the internet is catalogued and filed away in my permanent record(waves to NSA), my emails read(i don’t really use email), and all the rest of the Snowden Revelations.
        and, in contrast to a paper or a radio station, the web is so vast that one must know where to look….especially for local/regional stuff(qed: finding actionable news on Texas gooberment, sans paywalls,is remarkably difficult).
        add in the manipulation of google search returns and other thumbs on scales, and it’s less than advertised/hoped.
        the internet machine is revolutionary…don’t get me wrong…but it ain’t necessarily the Answer.
        If it were, it would have been by now.
        but we’re more factionalised and divided than ever.
        it’s been a boon for the Flat Earth Society, however….

        Reply
        1. Acacia

          Sure, the NSA is cataloging, sites get shut down, social media is censored, etc., but I thought that was also kind of the point of your example about the Canyon Dam station. The Federales raided him repeatedly.

          Yes, we’ve had alternate web sites for a few decades, but we had independent radio and samizdat for many more decades before that, and what did that accomplish?

          I think the weak link in this argument is the idea that somehow if we were to just find the correct form of media, we’d be able to “reach” people. So, I agree with you that the Internet isn’t “the Answer”, but I’d add that going back to some retro-cool form of local pirate media isn’t the answer either. Too many known limitations. I’m not saying “don’t do it” — of course, let a thousand flowers bloom — but I wouldn’t expect it to reach more people and more effectively than the Internet.

          We have to work with imperfect and vulnerable media channels. And there are some ways to work around the mechanisms of control that you are (rightly, of course) concerned about. Look at the Pirate Bay, for example. How many years have the Federales been trying to shut down that site and others like it? Even if they shut one down, all the data behind each of those sites fits on a single thumb drive, and can be easily restarted at another address. Moreover, at times in its history, the number of peers connected even just to the PB was greater than the combined population of London, New York, Los Angeles, and Paris. Are all those people going to just melt away? Even if that site were shut down, those millions of people would just move on to another site.

          This is why I think the question of medium-specificity isn’t really the issue. There are options that are “good enough”. The problem seems more to be getting people to turn off the propaganda channels and turn on to the alternate channels that are going to get them thinking. With all due respect to McLuhan, I think the message does matter.

          Reply
          1. Amfortas the hippie

            “let a thousand flowers bloom”
            I’m not saying abandon the web…multiple fronts are required.
            where i live and roam, there’s a lack of the Local on the web…and the online analogs of the corner bar just ain’t up to snuff…more about data aggregation than connecting people, let alone challenging their assumptions.
            my Feedstore Symposia that I’m always on about can’t be found readily online, with a focus on local conditions and relationships.
            For a particularly interested redneck in the feedstore parking lot, i can whip out my little notebook and write down :”jacobinmag.com”, and hand it to him, and say “check it out”…so it ain’t like I’m some purist or something and want to confine us all to movable type,lol.
            it’s just that online organising has it’s limitations…sometimes not so evident…and lends itself to abuse and do nothingism.(how many dnc emails do you get for signing a petition that doesn’t change anything?)

            Reply
            1. Bsoder

              Don’t know but I’m thinking ‘ Feedstore Symposia‘ , you can create it off line or on, the do it like a podcast, or have people ‘find’ you, wide cast all over the place – actually even to terrestrial radio bands if you want to have fun, unused or overwrite (truckers going that the heck is that), or narrow cast it. I have a small 5 watt completely legal fm station. The feds at one time were happy to give them out. Now not so much. With a drone, some cloaking, 10 watts and you can rock. Want to have real fund you can use the electrical grid to induce a frequency to broadcast whatever you want. Use a toaster as a receiver. I’d advise on the the last one that you have experience dealing with 50k to 2million volt lines. It’s not hard, just dangerous. And as always shortwave.

              Reply
          2. sierra7

            Acacia:
            “The problem seems more to be getting people to turn off the propaganda channels and turn on to the alternate channels….”
            Therein lies the problem.
            The ability of the general public to have the reasoning (education, intellectual power, etc) to discern between what is “real” and what is not….or “authentic news”.
            Most are too poorly educated or just don’t care.

            Reply
            1. Bsoder

              People are not as stupid as you think, nor have they been the last 250k years. Read Jared Diamond.

              Reply
              1. Code Name D

                Here is more proof. This is described as a protest in Trafalgar Square in solidarity with George Floyd.
                https://youtu.be/vzRnuXO4_mU
                Now THIS make me take notice. Surly Londoners can only learn about this through corporate media? But apparently not. Unfiltered media is getting through. The corporate media has clearly lost control over the narrative.

                Reply
      2. Krystyn Podgajski

        The internet is owned by the oligarchs and easily controlled by the government. If you do not own the platform….

        No, back to print is what I say. Form coops and make a model to be followed and easily replicated. The dissemination of pre-print materials can be easily disseminated via bittorrent and the like for quick publication.

        This was done in the past but in my opinion the papers focused on issues in other countries far too much which turned off working class people.

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          prior to moving way out here, ex and i lived in austin. she inherited, as it were, a 900# offset printer…tried to do art stuff with it.
          i was mr fixit,lol…and learned all about the thing, and how to obtain parts and inks and such(cheap as dirt…circa 1992).
          I carried it with me up here, and it became the proverbial hall table where all the junk mail and such accumulates.
          my by then Ex ended up giving it away to a collecter from Austin…came all the way out here with a big truck and 3 beefy guys and hauled it off.
          I still have the ink and plates and various bits and pieces stuck in a closet.
          whenever I get on this track, of thinking about the media situation, I think of that hunk of iron.
          for hundreds of years, owning a printing press was in itself a potential revolutionary act.
          the guy who gave it to my Ex had moved into computers and printers and Kinko’s for bigger jobs.
          everybody in the printing adjacent world was enamoured with the new gee whiz tech revolution…but little did they know that the printers had a code embedded in them that identified the machine, and everything printed on it…or that kinko’s was a part of the corporate beastworld… or that the interwebs were even back then being surveilled and infiltrated( after all, internet was a government op from the get-go).
          so yeah… i think about that Press.
          it was clunky…one was forever adjusting it and otherwise messing with it…duct tape and baling wire and actual rubber bands were often involved…and it was heavy!
          but it was also anonymous…perfectly suited to the old fashioned radical group in a basement somewhere printing out flyers and samizdat and Bibles…when that was a revolutionary act.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samizdat
          there are ups and downs to everything…but i think we have been too quick to toss out some things, when a new toy comes around.

          Reply
    2. Infinite Onion

      You seem to be asking: How can we get the information in real time (or as close to it as possible). And as you point out, there’s a cost to that which is substantial.

      But we would say it’s a mistake to focus too much on that. There already exists enough information with which to delegitimize the system. The problem is its spread and/or current packaging (often both, e.g. fringe, academicese-dense tomes).

      Now, you absolutely need to have real-time collection. That’s the goal, but what if the way to get there involves very little money but a significant investment of time? (Which, of course, may also entail money depending on how quick you need it done.) And then, you need to figure out how to make that time investment shorter for subsequent iterations, like any development/prototyping process.

      Which is what we’ve tried to do. We surely ain’t perfect. Criticism is welcome. We have already spent enough time as slaves to a broken, flawed ideology, we do not wish to spend time on another.

      But, maybe, just maybe, we’re on the right track?

      https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2020/05/30/18833392.php

      Reply
        1. Billy

          And this huge list of classical titles for free download:
          When the internet goes down, you will gladly remember having them.
          https://www.unz.com/book/

          A large capacity thumb drive can hold what an educated person will have read in their entire life.

          Reply
        2. Infinite Onion

          We’ll be sure to merge them into our collection. We appreciate your assistance.

          And might we recommend adding the book in the indybay.org link to yours, in case the Firemen come for it.

          Reply
    3. rd

      Riots get more people to tune into the news than resistance.

      Personally, I view what is going on as both justified resistance and riots. Gathering in large peaceful protest is justified resistance. Burning down buildings is a riot.

      However, I haven’t seen anything that justifies calling out the National Guard, nevermind the “military”. Kent State decades ago was proof that the National Guard is generally ill prepared to handle protests.Calls by politicans for citizens to shoot “rioters” is beyond the pale.

      One solution would be to reduce the number of killings by police which would likely reduce the outrage leading to the riots. But that would require acknowledgement of an institutional challenge embedded in the racism and classism in the country. At least they have started firing officers and then charging some.

      However, the “qualified immunity” awarded to the police by the Supreme Court needs to be sharply limited to scenarios where there really is a heat of the moment thing. Neither the Breanna Taylor or the George Floyd situations seem to justify that. The first one because the “evidence” used to justify a middle of the night no-knock invasion was less than they had to justify wiretapping Michael Flynn. The second one was a person who was not a threat but got treated as one.

      Reply
      1. cm

        However, I haven’t seen anything that justifies calling out the National Guard

        Nonsense! The National Guard are the experts at breaking up strikes (which IMO this can be counted as a “strike against societal/institutional injustice”):
        Homestead Strike
        Pullman Strike
        Colorado Labor Wars

        The National Guard are the most qualified military institution in the US for violently putting down American insurrections (my weasal words allow me to exclude Indians). /sarc

        Reply
  2. Tyronius

    My cynicism and distrust of the motives of the owners of American newspapers and other media leads me to the inescapable conclusion that such biases are intentional and driven by the editorial staff- or even higher. This article is so neutral about underlying causes that it leaves the impression it’s just coincidence. It didn’t go far enough for me, even if it did provide some useful data.

    Reply
  3. epynonymous

    The violence being lionized is actually evidence that what they really fear is non-violence.

    Reply
      1. Yves Smith Post author

        It wasn’t even that it got to be persistent, but looked like it might.

        The crackdown was a mere two months after the Zucotti Park occupation.

        Reply
  4. Bob

    States have been acting like dictators. Taking away peoples rights and shaming them. If you lock people up for 3 months, take away their jobs, and treat them like children you are are pouring gasoline on dry tinder. The lighting of the match was only a matter of time before something violent happened.

    Reply
    1. marym

      The states, with limited resources, faced with a pandemic, acted because the federal government failed to use its resources for a national public health response, and income support and healthcare for the people. The protesters this week are protesting cops killing people and most were wearing face covering as a recommended pandemic precaution. The recent protests by people too selfish to observe measures to keep each other safe from contracting and spreading a disease have not been similarly opposed by armed agents of the government, and did not support workers in any way except to demand they go back to work.

      Reply
      1. marym

        edit: did not support workers in any way, only demanded they go back to work with no demands for their workplace safety, healthcare, testing, or paid leave.

        Reply
      2. Mikel

        “because the federal government failed to use its resources for a national public health response”

        It’s even worse than that. The govt, outsourced and captured by the dogma of the profit motive, can not comprehend the meaning of a national public health response. It’s outside their worldview.

        Reply
      3. cm

        income support and healthcare for the people

        That’s the point I’ve been trying to make — this so often gets framed as a choice between lockdown vs. no lockdown, but what is missing is the option “lockdown with $500/week/adult” (or some other number – and debates about how to dole out funds for child support) so that people can remain in lockdown and also pay their rent/insurance/food/utilities, etc.

        Forcing people to stay home, with no income, with a systemic failure of the unemployment system (yesterday Senator Ron Wyden D-OR called for the head of Oregon’s unemployment program to resign), is simply asking for riots, regardless of other brutal police actions. No one seems to want to talk about the complete failure of the unemployment programs, as least in Washington and Oregon.

        Reply
    2. The Historian

      Bollocks!

      Apparently you’ve purposely overlooked a few things.

      The states didn’t take away jobs – Covid 19 did.
      People were self-isolating, working from home when they could, and taking their children out of schools BEFORE the states mandated closures.
      As Yves has pointed out several times, but apparently you couldn’t be bothered reading, people still want to self-isolate and they think their states are opening up too soon.
      As marym pointed out, the Feds did a horrible job of managing this pandemic and did NOT provide adequate support to the states to control and treat this disease.
      Those perks that people got for staying at work and facing the threat of Covid 19 are now being taken away. How do you think that makes those people who stayed at work feel?
      People are being told that if they don’t go back to work and face Covid 19 – without any real protection, they can lose their unemployment benefits. You don’t think that makes people unhappy?
      The riots were going to happen anyway – it was just a matter of time. Apparently rioting is the only way to get the media in this country to notice what is happening to people.

      Reply
      1. George Phillies

        No, covid 19 did not take away jobs. The Quarantines and lockdowns did. There was always the choice that some number of people will die so that others can avoid destruction of their lives through unemployment. that was a choice,

        Reply
        1. marym

          The choice by Trump was first to pretend the problem would go away, and is now something like what you describe: re-open whatever the cost in illness and lives lost.

          The choice by Congress was billions of dollars to the .1%.

          The choice of the 1% and their class allies is a country with no universal safety net, and ineffective emergency crumbs for everyone else.

          In a pandemic of a disease that’s highly contagious, has no vaccine and no cure, the choice of supposedly taking one’s own chances is choosing illness and death for other people. That the anti-lockdown protests are also anti-mask and social distancing, and not pro-worker safety is an indicator.

          Reply
        2. Massinissa

          What part of “Look at Sweden which didn’t have a lockdown but has crashing economy anyway” is so hard to understand?

          Reply
        3. Yves Smith Post author

          Bullshit. Look at Sweden. No lockdown and similar GDP damage to neighbors that did lockdown. Oh, and thanks to their now world-leading death rate, they are on their way to becoming travel pariahs and suffering even more damage as a result.

          Domestic air travel has collapsed with no restrictions on air travel. You gonna blame that on lockdowns? No, it is rational fear of flying. Ditto the collapse of the conference business. Post lockdown, any white collar employer that can keep its workforce working remotely is doing so, which is killing restaurants and retail businesses in urban centers that depended on business/social lunch trade and lunch/after work shopping. But no, you deny facts and blame it on the lockdowns.

          Reply
          1. Ronstrom

            I think he and Bob are just pissed they can’t go to their favorite bars. Being an oppressed white guy is such a bitch.

            Reply
        4. Abi

          Wow George Phillies I am shocked at your ability to say it is ok to sacrifice actual human lives for economic gain?

          This very idea is what is getting people killed. Money is never okay over a human life.

          In fact I would go as far as to say it’s better to not have money but still have your life

          What kind of person says this?

          This is not a choice issue. This is a false choice. There is literally no substitute for the sanctity of human life.

          Reply
      2. rd

        Our city in Upstate NY had largely turned into a ghost time by the time the county exec shut things down. Cuomo was lagging the county execs.Open Table did an analysis that showed that restaurant reservations decined precipitously in the first two weeks of March across the country.

        The restaurant etc jobs will not come completely back for at least year. We don’t plan on being inside in a sit down restaurant for at least 12 months. Given how much focus the US has put on developing turism, food, and entertainment as GDP drivers, it is likely that unemplyment will be over 10% until the coronavirus ceases to be a major issue, one way or another.

        Some interesting info from some of the economic data dumps over the last week that are proof of how warped the US compensation system is include the rise in personal income of 10% in April due to the $1,200 giveaways combined with the federal $600/week unemployment addition which gave them substantially more income than they nromally would have.However, the limited duration of these meant people used them to pay bills and debt, not do new spending, so the savings rate shot up like rocket to something like 30%. Meanwhile, the stock market is close to new highs while unemployment is likely over 20% because the people who invest in the stock market have lots of money and don’t appear to be in danger of losing their jobs.

        If they really want the economy to recover, people who have been making under $20/hr before the pandemic should be paid more. They will then have more money to circulate in the economy and will feel braver about spending it instead of just paying down bills when they get the chance.

        Reply
        1. thoughtful person

          I would quibble with a few of those statements.

          Rise in personal income was due to the elimination of many low wage jobs in recent weeks. The workers still working are higher wage workers working from home. Thus the average wage increased. Not to worry, the 1200 was carefully calculated to not be more than minimum wage!

          The recent rise in the stock market I believe is primarily due to 4 trillion+ sent to Black Rock by the Fed, and a general end of risk aversion amongst the billionaires. Why worry about a depression if you’ve got a backstop like that?

          Would be great to see minimum wages rise. Agree 100%.

          Reply
          1. polecat

            This is why the protesters should be at the Eccles Building right now .. instead of – ‘Pick the City of Your Choice, and torch it!’ option ..

            Picking on cnn, disingenuously awful as it is, ain’t gonna cut it.

            The thing I wonder about is, how many of these protesters might actually be paid agitators, al la various Oligarchic ‘influences’ ?? I mean, it’s not like it’s without precedent .. recent events come to mind.

            Reply
        2. Dan

          The restaurant etc jobs will not come completely back for at least year.

          Completely? Nothing of that nature is coming back completely. Not in a year. Not ever. How much of it comes back remains to be seen.

          Reply
      3. Bob

        We have never quarantined health people. We have had the Asian flu, the Hong Kong flu, both killing more per population size and nothing close to the level of authoritarian power was ever used. Even with HIV and Ebola which were 100% fatal, we never quarantined sick people. It is politicians hungry with power, ignorant of facts and an out of control media who have done untold damage.

        Reply
        1. DJG

          Bob: All you had to do was look at Wikipedia and follow the endnotes to original sources. You are aware that there is a rule at this site against making things up (?)

          Here, just from Wikipedia:
          History of quarantine laws in the US[edit]

          Quarantine law began in Colonial America in 1663, when in an attempt to curb an outbreak of smallpox, the city of New York established a quarantine. In the 1730s, the city built a quarantine station on the Bedloe’s Island.[64] The Philadelphia Lazaretto was the first quarantine hospital in the United States, built in 1799, in Tinicum Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania.[65] There are similar national landmarks such as Swinburne Island and Angel Island. The Pest House in Concord, Massachusetts was used as early as 1752 to quarantine those suffering from cholera, tuberculosis and smallpox.

          In early June 1832, during the cholera epidemic in New York, Governor Enos Throop called a special session of the Legislature for 21 June, to pass a Public Health Act by both Houses of the State Legislature. It included to a strict quarantine along the Upper and Lower New York-Canadian frontier. In addition, New York City Mayor Walter Browne established a quarantine against all peoples and products of Europe and Asia, which prohibited ships from approaching closer than 300 yards to the city, and all vehicles were ordered to stop 1.5 miles away.[66]

          The Immigrant Inspection Station on Ellis Island, built in 1892, is often mistakenly assumed to have been a quarantine station, however its marine hospital (Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital) only qualified as a contagious disease facility to handle less virulent diseases like measles, trachoma and less advanced stages of tuberculosis and diphtheria; those afflicted with smallpox, yellow fever, cholera, leprosy or typhoid fever, could neither be received nor treated there.[citation needed]

          Mary Mallon was quarantined in 1907 under the Greater New York Charter, Sections 1169–1170,[67] which permitted the New York City Board of Health to “remove to a proper place…any person sick with any contagious, pestilential or infectious disease.”[68]

          During the 1918 flu pandemic, people were also quarantined. Most commonly suspect cases of infectious diseases are requested to voluntarily quarantine themselves, and Federal and local quarantine statutes only have been uncommonly invoked since then, including for a suspected smallpox case in 1963.[69]

          The 1944 Public Health Service Act “to apprehend, detain, and examine certain infected persons who are peculiarly likely to cause the interstate spread of disease” clearly established the federal government’s quarantine authority for the first time. It gave the United States Public Health Service responsibility for preventing the introduction, transmission and spread of communicable diseases from foreign countries into the United States, and expanded quarantine authority to include incoming aircraft.[6] The act states that “…any individual reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease in a qualifying stage and…if found to be infected, may be detained for such time and in such manner as may be reasonably necessary.”[70]

          No federal quarantine orders were issued from 1963 until 2020, as American citizens were evacuated from China during the COVID-19 pandemic.[71]

          Reply
          1. Bob

            Those people quarantined were sick or thought to be infected. Please show me a legitimate source for quarantining healthy people and shutting down almost all business in the US.

            Reply
            1. sharonsj

              We don’t know which people are healthy and which people are sick because we were completely unprepared and can’t test for the virus. About 25% of the tests we do have are unreliable and we don’t have the hundreds of millions of tests needed to test the entire population even once. That’s why we’re all in lock down and wearing masks.

              Reply
            2. The Historian

              Perhaps because Covid-19 can be transferred by seemingly healthy persons – before they begin showing signs of the illness? Do you not understand that? The only way to limit the number of Americans dying from this disease is to practice isolation.

              Any more straw men for us to consider?

              Reply
            3. thoughtful person

              What quarantine? We are not quarantining. I believe a quarantine is like house arrest. You can’t leave your home at all.

              That’s what countries like SKorea do if you test positive, or you arrive from a country with endemic covi19.

              Reply
      4. richard

        Would Covid-19 have taken away people’s jobs if the u.s. gov’t had simply taken responsibility for payroll as other gov’ts did? Covid didn’t lose anyone a job; it’s a mistake to see all this too much as some kind of natural disaster. Most of the destruction from covid so far in the u.s. has come from our own government, in its “response” the the virus.

        Reply
    3. rd

      Huh? Police killing black people has been around for quite a while and repeatedly causes protests and riots. I don’t think the pandemic had anything to do with this one.

      The big change over the past 10-15 years is the increased technology available to actually record the event which then shows that the “official” police report is often a lie.

      Reply
      1. Aumua

        The pandemic has a lot to do with the scale of these protests and the energy behind them. It’s about more than racism and police brutality. It’s about a system that is broken and is not working for most people, and the pandemic has thrown that into sharp relief. Couple that with being cooped up for a little while and you get what we’re looking at today.

        Reply
  5. The Rev Kev

    Those were just not blacks rioting as I saw plenty of whites. Would it have made any difference if the whites had turned up in camos and armed with automatic rifles after getting out of their trucks? But don’t forget, those are protests that you are seeing – not riots. The MSM is apparently under orders to report it as such. A MSNBC reporter said: “I want to be clear on how I characterize this. This is mostly a protest. It is not generally speaking unruly.” And the guy is literally standing in front of a burning building in the middle of a riot. Psych!

    https://www.lawofficer.com/nbc-news-denies-there-are-riots-in-minneapolis/

    But the reporters aren’t getting any love from the police either. One young blonde TV reporter was talking LIVE on air when she started to get shot by police pepper balls and they filmed this cop doing it from only about 30 feet away. Outstanding PR that-

    https://www.rt.com/usa/490215-tv-reporter-shot-louisville-protests-george-floyd/

    Going to wing it here but all the rioters that we are seeing across the nation. Could it be that a lot of these people are some of the tens of millions that were thrown on the scrap heap after the pandemic started?

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Could it be that a lot of these people are some of the tens of millions that were thrown on the scrap heap after the pandemic started?

      Given everything, I would throw every old rule out the door at least within the living American experience. The potential for rapid collapse is appalling. I was just going through the now smaller protests and more famed shootings and realized later I didn’t ever note Ferguson. We are in a bit of a crisis.

      The wealth situation in regards to millennials and younger also means the number of people invested in society as its currently constructed is limited.

      Reply
      1. Edward

        After Trump was elected, there was a massive “resistance” movement. The Democrats managed to trash this movement by convincing it to adopt bogus narratives against Trump such as Russiagate. At some level– I am not sure where exactly, these Democrats were lying. Were they unaware what these lies would eventually do to the “Resistance”? Sanders has been peddling some of these canards like Russiagate for some reason. Anyway, we are probably seeing some of what is left of the “Resistance” in these protests. Maybe it will re-emerge?

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Obama covered up plenty of problems because he was well liked. I actually Team Blue elites expect Buttigieg (because they like him) to be able to put on a performance like Obama.

          Their main objective was to explain how they managed to blow $2 billion plus the 2014 donations and the Clinton Global Initiative money. I think they thought it would solve itself.

          Reply
          1. Edward

            Russiagate was trotted out in 2016 by the Clinton campaign to distract the public from her email scandal. Wikileaks had announced they planned to release some of her emails, and Russiagate kept this out of the news. They decided to keep Russiagate going after the election, I guess.

            Reply
            1. urblintz

              Russiagate was equally about taking out the left, especially Sanders. It worked as, sadly, Sanders never pushed back against the McCarthyite smears used against him. He jumped aboard the Russiagate train… he even supported, initially, Guaido. His foreign policy guy, Matt Duss, was complicit.

              Reply
              1. Edward

                His foreign policy advisor was lousy and he had some lousy foreign policy positions. I don’t know why he has gone along with Russiagate. My “charitable” interpretation is that, right or wrong, he was trying to keep the discussion focused on economic issues like health care. The support of the democratic party for Guaido is appalling and terrifying. Can’t these people see how obviously wrong this is? If even the so-called progressives are going along with this outrage, what does it say about the level of mind control in Washington?

                Reply
                1. polecat

                  What ‘mind’ is this you speaketh of?? .. Collectively, the Blue-ish side of D.C. blew it out decades ago, starting with the Carter Administration and IT’S rather questionable foreign policies, only to get worse when Bubba reigned.
                  Of course, the Republicans went with similar gray matter running out their skills.. leaping crazily into their own bit of darkness, whenever THEY had the Ring of Power in their hot little hand($) ..

                  Reply
                  1. Edward

                    I don’t know what exactly happens in the Imperial City, but somehow most people there end up the same. There are institutional forces– the press, the lobbies, the think tanks/PR operations, and the bureaucracies, that demand war, forbid single payer health care, demand a coup in Venezuela on behalf of … who? Foreign governments? Corporations? The CIA? Even George Bush complained about this, eventually. Barak Obama complained about it. Trump probably complains about it. The situation is crazy enough that everybody supports something as crazy and wrong as installing Juan Guaido as the new Shah of Venezuela. He can be a “moderate democrat”, just like the king of Saudi Arabia.

                    Reply
        2. Yves Smith Post author

          The Resistance was not “massive”. It was a joke and proved no one was unhappy enough about Trump to do more than whine.

          A few thousand protestors for about a week and a half tops in some blue cities. I watched the #s. Pathetically small. Camera shots of course to make it look worse. The biggest NYC one was a bit over 10K. Even Wikipedia calls it only “tens of thousands” across all the cities that had protests.

          The pink pussy hat protests did get some decent numbers but they were totally unserious (as in zero effort at movement building, mainly middle to upper class women who weren’t going to spend real time or take career risk, if they had careers, to go to the next level). It was all virtue signaling.

          Reply
          1. Edward

            I could be wrong. I guess I was given a misleading impression by the internet. There could have been the potential for something massive. Anyway, these made up accusations against Trump have been a great gift for him. I wouldn’t be surprised if some Trump people were behind some of them. The question remains, how much have these false accusations been associated with the left, and how much damage have they done to the left?

            Reply
  6. Oh

    Most people are lazy to get on the internet and read information from independent sources. They love to turn on the idiot box and blare on all day long. Purported news channels like CNN, MSNBC and the networks keep repeating their biased coverage and the viewers believe them.

    Obomber showed little regard for blacks murderd by police. Instead, he made trips to help the police, not to mention how he sold a lot of weapons from the DOD to the police around the country. When the Black Harvard professor was arrested for trying to enter his own home he sided with the police rather than chew them out. He broke up Occupy protests and helped the pipeline companies against the protesters. We have to be very careful who to vote for and not believe their lies.

    Reply
  7. chuck roast

    Decent analysis leading to a dead end conclusion…the Lurking Bias?…why “the lack of diversity” of course. Would we expect the Lurking Bias to be “a lack of class consciousness?” Certainly not! Another ho-hum, virtue signaling, academic paper clogging up the airways and inducing idiot head nodding from the all the wokesters. Please, enough already! Fewer posts on the willful ignorance of the bourgeoisie.

    Reply
    1. Off The Street

      Some restoration of competition among media outlets, and reduction in concentration would go a long ways toward more objective reporting. Revocation of the Fairness Doctrine by Reagan, and other legislation or rules put in place by Clinton and others to allow that concentration, were just guarantees of subsequent dysfunction. The problems didn’t arise overnight, but could begin to reverse if there were input from the ‘informed’, who would like to have some type of consent.

      Reply
    2. expose

      Agreed.

      As if seeing the burning buildings, the destroyed Target and other businesses, the looting, the buildings and cars on fire with one’s own eyes wouldn’t in and of themselves cause a diversion of attention from the message.

      I started to think that this was a chicken and egg dilemma, but it isn’t. The reason that the protester’s message gets buried is because of the criminal activities and not because of media bias. Had the protesters activities not been taken over by the criminals, the protesters’ message would not have been muddied and distorted.

      And now people are trying to justify the damage and violence, as if that will fly with any law-abiding citizen.

      If people want to blame someone for losing the message, they might start with anti-fa anarchists and other such types.

      Reply
      1. ShamanicFallout

        No sorry. What did law-abiding ever get many of them? They still get hassled, imprisoned, dead. And then we always get treated to ‘very serious white dad’ who says “they need to keep protests peaceful. I respect that. It’s what Dr. King was all about” etc. blah blah blah, but Colin Kaepernick sent them all into a lunatic freak out. Look round you. Something is stirring much closer to the surface now.
        ‘Criminal activity’ you say? Maybe, as the Onion suggested, they should have formed a private equity group before the looting then it would have been all good. The good old fashioned respectable kind of looting.

        Reply
        1. jr

          +1

          Along with those points I’d like to suggest we lose the notion that trashing Targets and police stations causes food deserts. I’ve heard this malarkey more than once. Healthy food and the knowledge of its importance have been denied POC for generations. The food deserts have been growing long before any of this erupted…

          Reply
          1. expose

            You’re correct about the existence of food deserts well before the riots.

            The point is that investment in poorly served areas has been strongly encouraged and funded by local, state, and national politicians. There are federal programs and funds devoted to investment and operations to ameliorate the lack of services.

            Now, who would want to operate or establish business in this area?

            People say, oh, just set up a coop. But this really begs the question of why the locals never set up coops to begin with years ago from being under-served; obviously, bigger businesses like Target and the auto store were providing for many of those needs or the coops would have come into existence. Maybe there are coops operating around the area….I wonder if the city lists its grantees on its website….

            Reply
        2. expose

          Hey, I’m all for reigning in the busting out of businesses when venture capitalist destroy them.

          I don’t get why none of the politicians have criminalized this destructive activity. Oh wait, I do know why.

          Reply
  8. Edward

    I thought Vladimir Putin created the Black Lives Matter movement? That is what the press told us several years ago. I have been a political activist, and I have to say I always felt the press was pigeon-holing us into putting on a circus.

    I think there is an aspect of this police murder problem which has been missing from the discussion. Whenever the police murders someone, the prosecutor says it is not feasible to charge the police with murder. This may be accurate, but it then reflects a problem with the law; the laws have become very biased. On the one hand, the police and vigilantes can murder people on video with impunity. On the other hand, prosecutors can coerce plea bargain agreements from innocent people for crimes they did not commit. The law has been designed for certain interest groups and probably reflects which groups have been lobbying congress. The root of the problem may be these laws.

    As far as the police are concerned, they fall far short of the ideal. In theory, they should emphasize the law and be disinterested. Part of their work must involve mediating disputes so one would expect them to have a certain respect for different viewpoints. In practice, they seem the opposite of this; they do not respect other viewpoints and get angry when subjected to accusations. When a member of their tribe commits a crime, instead of supporting the law, they defend the criminal, making them hypocrites. They abuse their power and use it against other people. There are plenty of examples where the police violate people’s constitutional rights, such as with the Occupy movement. The law, then, should not treat the police as a disinterested party but as a party to a dispute, meaning their motives should not be above suspicion.

    A document that speaks volumes about the mentality of the police is the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights. This document creates a set of rules to prevent police abuse– but only for police officers. Why aren’t the rights of average citizens, who pay for the police, equally important and protected?

    Reply
  9. Northern spirit

    From the article:

    > To do so, we analyzed … Texas. The state’s size and diversity made it a good proxy
    > for the country at large.

    Really?!? (Sorry, Amfortas, but) I sure as hell hope not.

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      nope…it really is pretty darned diverse…especially in contrast to 30+ years ago.
      the metro/big city areas are where it’s at…beginning in Austin and Houston(the latter of which i had to leave to see this change…couldn’t see it up close)
      the stereotypical big hat, shitkicker boots redneck moron with a sheet in his closet has been fading out for a long time.
      and now that “Great American Country”(“GACK”) has discovered that long haired, bearded men with earrings are not commie hippe f^gs, it’s even weirder.
      (remember, Willie and Waylon and the Boys were “Outlaws” back in the day)
      one of the sources of the confusion of the rest of the country regarding Texas, is the nexus of voter suppression(in all it’s forms, overt and subtle) and political apathy….another is media editorial choices: the cable news always seem to pick the weirdo redneck asshat to represent Texas.
      another is the (also fading) dialect(s)….I sound like Boyd Crowder on quaaludes….east texas slow drawl, wherein “hogs” has 5 syllables.
      north texas has it’s own linguistic idiosyncrasies, as does west and south.
      in spite of this media focus on Texans talkin funny, most people i run into do not….which, to my ears, stands out as much as my speech likely would to you.

      Reply
      1. Northern spirit

        > it really is pretty darned diverse…especially in contrast to 30+ years ago.

        Fair enough. It’s that 30+ years ago that I had trouble with.

        My friends described Austin as “like Boulder” so I went there in the early ’80s. Stayed about seven months, as I recall. I remember that there was a very popular bumper sticker which had a silhouette of the (distinctive) Austin skyline (capitol, university, etc.). The slogan at the bottom read: No Vacancy.

        Pretty much summed up the whole attitude, really, and I figured there had to be better places for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

        Reply
  10. Oso

    Yves Smith,
    thank you for this and for sharing thoughts and info empathetic towards indigenous and black struggle. commenting from our perspective here has proven pointless given NC’s overwhelmingly white readership. i would love to share experience directly with these matters tho, i understand your time is extremely limited but you have my email. keep up the great work.

    Reply
    1. marym

      I appreciate comments you’ve made recently on the pandemic impact in your local community and a recent link about the SD Sioux response.

      Reply
    2. Janie

      Oso @ 10.55

      Whatever the commenters’ ethnicity, culture or politics may be, I have faith that the majority are open to viewpoints other than their own.

      Reply
  11. Anarcissie

    As to the effectiveness of the Internet etc. as news media, I’d like to note that my anarcho-communist buddies in Bedford-Stuyvesant, and many other people, had no trouble finding out about last night’s ‘riots’ in Brooklyn hours in advance so that they could attend them fully equipped. One of them sent me a nice picture of a burning police car. (I was not personally present because I am of a certain age and am paranoid about both the plague and police violence.) It is true the ruling class is trying to choke the Internet, but they haven’t succeeded so far; plus, the Internet broadly speaking now consists of more than just Facebook and Twitter and Google, but includes (for instance) Signal, which transports fully encrypted texts and pictures which are easily multiplied and forwarded by cell phones.

    People who don’t know what’s going on don’t want to know. The bourgeois media serve them very much as they desire.

    Reply
      1. Grebo

        Wire originally used some of the encryption code from Signal but they are different programs.

        This seems to be a good roundup of the options available. (I use Wire, I have not tried Signal)

        Reply
        1. Anarcissie

          Signal calls itself Signal where I live and everyone else calls it that, as of this morning. It’s running on my cell phone, a laptop, and a desktop here, and ‘Signal’ is what it calls itself.

          My point is that the boss media are less and less able to shape the public’s view of whatever. The bitter enmity of the New York Times and the Washington Post and the torrents of propaganda they emitted could not prevent the likes of Trump from being nominated and then elected. It’s an aspect of the sad state of the American ruling class.

          Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      yeah…i’ve heard about such things in the last year or so.
      but damned if i can figure them out…and i ain’t alone in that, at least in the places i run around in(between the Hill Country and San Antonio).
      by contrast, and attempting to nail down my initial point way up there^^^, everyone knows how to operate a (physical, paper)newsletter…and there’s no special equipment or monthly fees or software updates or configurations standing in the way of the end user actually Using one.
      Facebook is about as sophisticated as most of the people i know and/or interact with will get(the Zoom online school stuff has been a nightmare out here in the sticks, for instance, even with what passes for the technologically adept)

      Reply
      1. Anarcissie

        One of the significant differences between paper and electronic media is the cost. Suppose one wants to engineer a Disturbance: you talk to people, run a mimeograph or copier, get something printed up, employ a (land-line) telephone tree, or put something on the Net. The time-energy-money-attention costs go down from left to right along with the ability of the authorities to suppress the communication. As has been noted by others, information/gossip/rant tends to flow around obstruction if it can find a channel. The coming thing seems to be point-to-point connections where you run a web site out of the cell phone in your pocket.

        Zoom does seem to be problematical, but there are currently simpler services, like Jitsi.

        Reply
  12. Bazarov

    The coverage I’ve been watching comes from Unicorn Riot, a small non-profit media outfit, in Minneapolis. It’s basically just a man and a couple other people livestreaming from inside the protest and asking protesters questions here and there.

    To compare, I also watched a livestream by a local new station in Atlanta regarding the protests in that city. It involved an on the scene newsperson hewing very close to the police and mostly interacting via her earpiece with the anchors back in the studio. During one exchange while the camera was on a Starbucks with a broken window, an anchor in the studio asked: “Are people at least respecting the property inside the Starbucks?”

    It was a line straight out of a satire and should give you a sense of the absurd, condescending nature of the Atlanta livestream commentary.

    The Unicorn Riot coverage was far superior.

    Reply
    1. duffolonious

      I agree, as someone living in Uptown Minneapolis Unicorn Riot has been quite good and also has recognition (people in the crowds no of them). Very interesting to watch because the main person also knows the history of the area, previous incidents.

      On another note my wife is really agitated by the small family owned businesses a block away getting windows broken and things taken. We’re already looking at donating to local business funds.

      Reply
      1. Aloha

        Such a great topic Yves! It affects all of us everyday whether we realize it or not and thank you for all that info!
        Watching the video of George Floyd being murdered in broad daylight by a local PO and 3 other cops doing their best to shielding it from the public was just too much for me. I was outraged and started to search the internet for the truth NOT MSM. Wed eve I found Unicorn Riot Live on YT. (The website states that it is a 501c(3) celebrating its 5th year as an independent news source) Watching for about the first hour I was scared to death that this guy (Niko) who was walking around filming all of the buildings going up in flames was going to get hurt (no one got hurt except by police that night). He shared that he is a school teacher who lives in the area and is explaining to viewers about some of the history of the locals and the neighborhood. For instance the local police stations were built with tax dollars that had been earmarked for the local public schools, giving them another reason for the rage in setting station #3 on fire. BUT NONE OF THIS IS BEING COVERED BY MSM. What is being covered is that the President is calling them “thugs” and “if they loot then shoot” There is also footage of the local police brutality happening live too.
        On the topic of vandalism/destruction to the shops…Moon of Alabama has a great post regarding 6 under cover local cops that were some of the first to go around smashing huge plate glass shop windows and setting fires. The real protesters were so upset that they took cellphone videos and turned them over to the investigators (who haven’t said a peep).
        And for those who don’t understand all of the rage, fires, looting, etc… I recommend the recent video by Trevor Noah called “George Floyd, Minneapolis Protests, Ahmaud Arbery and Amy Cooper” (Hint, it’s not a comedy monolog)

        Reply
  13. George Phillies

    Rioting is a path for creating attention when other means fail. That is not my observation; it is apparently to be credited to a notable African-American leader who advocated for nonviolence. It is a step someplace before armed insurrection. Readers who do not think we can get one of those in this country should recall that African-American neighborhoods contain large numbers of men and women who served our country in Iraq, came back to this, and have a clear idea how to conduct an insurrection, because they saw one directed against them, complete with ambushes, IEDs, and drones dropping explosive devices.

    Readers surprised by looting and building destruction should read descriptions of the fates of homes of Tories in Boston in the years leading up to 1776. Looting, vandalism, and arson are a very long-time American way of doing things.

    It would be good to replace “No justice, no peace” with “Peace through justice”. Getting there is a bit challenging.

    Reply
  14. Burns

    In terms of the narrative, another thing I’ve noticed this morning is that, at least in Minneapolis, authorities are describing a majority of protestors as “out of towners.” To my mind that’s a blatant attempt to delegitimize the protests. It’s not like Minneapolis is the only place in the country with police violence against marginalized communities, so I’m not sure why they find it unacceptable for people who dont live in Minn to join the protests.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      This is one of the usual excuses for failed leadership. Its the ferners who did it. I’m sure the governor saw the same murder we all saw at about the same time. Why his only response wasn’t “have the state police arrest him and get judge X” is completely baffling.

      Pandemic aside, nothing happens if the Governor acts like a leader, nothing like what is going on. The elected leadership in this country can’t say this because they are so alike they can’t even fathom what good government would be. May 25th to May 29th is far too long given everything. Its not like we don’t have a slew of cop on black violence.

      Reply
    2. Edward

      This is a line that was trotted out a lot in the 1960’s. “Outside agitators” were responsible for the unrest in San Fransisco. “Outside Agitators” get mentioned in the movie “The Graduate”.

      Reply
  15. sharonsj

    I watch a lot of alternative news and criticism on YouTube. But those people are often limited by YouTube itself, which will take them down if they violate copyright (a mere claim is enough). The worst thing YouTube does is “demonetize” these shows for different reasons (if they bother to explain them at all) and it leaves these shows without the financial support to continue reporting. Of course this is just another form of corporate censorship.

    Reply
  16. David in Santa Cruz

    This study provides an interesting lens through which to view media bias, especially which protests the Texas media chose to “legitimize.” There is a tendency to pitch stories toward the perceived bias of the readership of an outlet. It comes as no surprise that the Texas papers went hyper-negative on Dakota Access, but legitimized pro-immigrant protests. I am seeing a struggle in the media to find a “frame” that will sell the story of the current protests and unrest.

    Would George Floyd have tried to buy cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill if he had an unemployment check and $1200 in Trump Bucks? Would George Floyd have violently resisted arrest if the prospect of a crowded jail or prison weren’t a potential death sentence for a person with congestive and hypertensive heart problems? Would there be so much “looting” if people weren’t already in dire economic distress due to the same minority disparity in job loss that George Floyd was suffering from?

    Yes, George Floyd was a victim of violent policing and the institutional racism that is the legacy of slavery, but was he also a victim of the COVID shut-down? Is the intensity of the frustration and violence in response to his death also a product of the COVID shut-down? This is a media framing that I have yet to see.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Just so you know, the videos (and the capture of what happened is pretty comprehensive) show that Floyd did not resist arrest at all. He was cooperative.

      And the bit about the counterfeit bill is hardly proven. I give big bills all the time (my stupid ATM likes dispensing them). So what would happen to me if some store deemed it to be bogus? I sincerely doubt the cops would be called in to arrest me.

      ATMs do circulate bad bills:

      https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/banking/your-atm-spits-out-phony-cash-now-what/

      Oh, and the pen test can yield false positives:

      Typically, you discover you have suspected counterfeit money when you try to use it at a retail store. The cashier spots it with a pen that detects starch in wood-based paper by turning the tested area a deep blue-black color. Those pens aren’t always accurate, by the way;

      And this story suggests that normally the merchant just refuses the bad bill:

      While you’re waiting to turn over counterfeit money to authorities, store it separately from genuine cash. Above all, don’t try passing it off somewhere else. It’s illegal to try to pass counterfeit money if you know it’s phony.

      You appear not to know that Floyd and his killer Derek Chauvin worked together for many years as bouncers at the same club. This reeks that Chauvin was settling a personal score.

      Reply
      1. YetAnotherChris

        This has all the elements of a Hollywood intrigue: Dirty cop whose neighbors think he’s a realtor. But he owns property in Tiger Woods’ neighborhood on a cop’s salary (yeah, right). Beauty contest wife files for divorce when the whip comes down. That’s how you protect your assets.

        What did George Floyd know that led Chauvin – a former co-worker – to kill him? Just wondering. None of the official narrative adds up.

        Reply
      2. Stillfeelinthebern

        The story about George Floyd and Chauvin knowing each other for a long time is questionable. Both of these articles say George Floyd moved to MN in 2018.

        https://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/George-Floyd-police-brutality-minneapolis-dead-vid-15296192.php

        https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2020/may/george-floyd-ministry-houston-third-ward-church.html

        There is another local article out there about the restaurant, I just can’t find it at the moment, but it said that one worked outside and the other inside and it was likely that they never met.

        Reply

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