The media can no longer deny the continuous rioting in American cities every night by left-wing thugs. With Joe Biden at last weighing in on Monday afternoon, the story has become impossible to avoid, so the press has shamelessly pivoted, acknowledging the violence and portraying President Trump as the instigator.
Monday’s New York Times lead story appeared under slanted headlines: “Portland Death Inflames Debate On Urban Strife – Trump Backers’ Rally – President Insults Mayor – Biden Calls His Rival Reckless.”
Reporters Mike Baker, Thomas Kaplan, and Shane Goldmacher teamed up to change the subject from leftist violence in the streets (click “expand”):
A fatal shooting in Portland, Ore., over the weekend led President Trump to unleash a torrent of tweets and attacks on Sunday, capping a volatile week of street violence that is becoming a major theme in the final weeks of the 2020 campaign.
Mr. Trump on Sunday morning posted or reposted a barrage of tweets about the clashes in Portland, with many of them assailing the city’s Democratic mayor, Ted Wheeler. The president retweeted a video showing his supporters shooting paintballs and using pepper spray on crowds in Portland before the fatal shooting. Mr. Trump wrote that “the big backlash going on in Portland cannot be unexpected,” a remarkable instance of a president seeming to support confrontation rather than calming a volatile situation.
Or maybe Trump was just being factual: One can’t take over the downtown of American cities for three months and expect no backlash, especially when the local Democratic authorities throw up their hands.
Note the scare quotes around “law and order”:
The shooting immediately reverberated in a presidential campaign now entering its most intense period, and came on the heels of a Republican National Convention in which the president had sought to reframe the 2020 race as a “law and order” election.
Now that the (pardon the pun) mask was off the idea of “mostly peaceful protests,” The Times suddenly finds the new unflattering focus on the racial justice protests an unwelcome attempt by Trump to “distract”:
Mr. Biden will follow up with a speech in Pittsburgh on Monday, and discussions are underway for a possible trip to Kenosha soon. But the Biden campaign wants to avoid being drawn into a prolonged period of focus on unrest in the streets that campaign officials see as an effort by the Trump campaign to distract from the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic downturn, which has forced millions into unemployment.
Mr. Wheeler, at an afternoon news conference at City Hall, said the shooting had left his heart heavy, and he denounced violence. But he pointed to Mr. Trump’s combative and unyielding message as a generator of the nation’s escalating polarization and violence, and he called on the president to work with him and others to help de-escalate tensions.
“Do you seriously wonder, Mr. President,” he said, “why this is the first time in decades that America has seen this level of violence? It’s you who have created the hate and the division.”
Umm, hello? The riots in Ferguson, Missouri over the death of Michael Brown happened during the Obama administration, but go on with your nonsense: “For now, the Biden campaign is trying to focus on what it says is the irony that Mr. Trump is the current president, yet is trying to blame his challenger for the scenes of violence during his tenure.”
The reporters managed to blame the federal government for the violence on the streets in Portland.
While protests in Portland have persisted, their size has changed over time. The nightly events began with mass demonstrations after Mr. Floyd’s death, then shrank to smaller numbers of people who repeatedly clashed with the police. In July, when the federal government sent camouflaged agents into the city, the number of protesters grew drastically once again.
Just a few days ago, The Times’s Alan Feuer was downplaying the street thuggery by pointing to statistics in an obnoxious explainer piece, “Apocalyptic Scenes in City Streets? Actually, Urban Crime Is Still at Historic Lows.” The Times is now acknowledging the violence, though trying mightily to finger Trump as the catalyst.