The news media are up in arms about President Trump’s planned rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, arguing it would be “extraordinarily dangerous” to hold a large gathering in the midst of a pandemic. However, some of us are old enough to remember when the same outlets were celebrating the Black Lives Matter protests, arguing that they were necessary and worth the risk.
For weeks, TV news gushed over images of protestors and police officers hugging. It was as though the coronavirus had ceased to exist. Yet now, these news outlets are back to worrying about the spread of coronavirus at large political gatherings – conveniently, just in time for them to criticize President Trump’s upcoming rally.
For some of the most glaring examples of the media’s hypocrisy on the topic, watch the video below:
On June 11, MSNBC host Joy Reid offered this take on the President’s rally:
Does the White House understand that, or are they acknowledging even behind the scenes, that people showing up to his precious rallies might get sick? I mean, they’re acknowledging they might get sick and die. And they’re willing to accept that risk?
The following day, CNN’s Jim Sciutto also fretted over the prospect of “large campaign rallies with thousands of people.”
Yet journalists on these same networks heaped praise on the George Floyd protests just a week earlier. On June 2, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell conducted a gushy interview with a protest organizer, asking excitedly, “What did it feel like to be marching arm-in-arm there with the police chief?”
Ironically, ten days later, O’Donnell charged that Trump was “pretending the coronavirus has disappeared.”
Broadcast networks ABC, CBS, and NBC also waived their concern about social distancing at Floyd protests. On the June 1 edition of Good Morning America, the hosts gushed over a video of a Florida highway patrol trooper hugging a protestor. “It’s a beautiful, beautiful moment... absolutely beautiful,” gushed Amy Robach. Co-host George Stephanopoulos agreed: “That was a perfect moment.”
It’s hard to imagine a more blatant double standard at work: political gatherings for me, but not for thee.