How MSNBC's Chris Hayes Manufactures Partisan and Racial Hatred
Cable news cherry-picking distorts reality and divides Americans.
Minnesota police officer Kim Potter has officially been charged with second-degree manslaughter for shooting Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old who sadly lost his life after a traffic stop where Potter appeared to mistake her firearm for a Taser and shot him dead.
Wright’s death has set off protests, looting, and riots in the vicinity of Brooklyn Center, the Minnesota suburb where it occurred. Police have attempted to control this unrest with crowd control tactics.
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes saw this all-too-familiar cycle — of a controversial police shooting setting off protests mixed with opportunistic looting and violence — as a chance to rally his partisan base:
He started by airing video of police violence against Black Lives Matter protests from last year, arguing that the demonstrations were met with overwhelming force by the police:
In the context of tens of thousands of protests, in millions and millions of protesters, only a very small percentage of people were violent. And yet the police prepare…for those protests like they were going to war! […] I mean, pick the city, Buffalo, New York City, Denver, Colorado, Portland, Oregon, Atlanta, Georgia, wherever! They look like that. They look like they’re going to war. They have shields, they have big equipment. And they do that because they want to let people protesting know who is in charge, who holds the authority. Who will bend the knee to whom. That’s the point, explicitly! It’s a psychological performance. That’s what we saw in the streets of Minneapolis and Brooklyn Center over the last few nights with curfews and tear gas and flash bangs. And now just take all of that, all of that footage we’ve seen […] and just look for a moment at the utter inversion of what happened on the steps of the Capitol in January. There was hardly any police presence at all!
I bolded those sections above for a reason. We’ll return to them shortly.
After this section of his monologue, Hayes turned to clips of the Capitol rioters on Jan. 6th. “Again, who’s doing the intimidating? Who is ordering who around in those interactions? During the insurrection, it is the overwhelmingly white mob telling the cops what to do. Barking orders at them! It is the mob with the authority! It is the mob who has the cops trying to cajole and negotiate with the rioters,” he opines, in a serious tone.
Feel free to watch the rest of the segment. Hayes’s point is simple: police brutalize Black Lives Matter protesters. They coddled the right-wing rioters/insurrectionists on Jan. 6th.
I imagine the average MSNBC viewer sat there and nodded through the entire segment. It probably fed every stereotype they have about America: It’s a white supremacist country, where the police are constantly giving those white Republicans a pass while persecuting Democrats and minorities. Given the selection of clips Hayes played and his breathless monologue, you could hardly come away with a different conclusion.
But what if that’s not the whole story?
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