After having all but ignored it for weeks (and footnoted it over the weekend), ABC and CBS devoted full segments on Monday morning to the “Freedom Convoy” in Canada by truck drivers and supporters protesting the Liberal government’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, but dismissed them as standing in the way of Canada’s “efforts to control” the virus and making life difficult and violent for those in the capital city of Ottawa.
As for NBC, Nightly News and Today couldn’t be bothered as they’ve largely turned their newscast over to coverage of the Genocide Games (aka the Olympics).
CBS Mornings co-host Nate Burleson fretted: “Government efforts to control the coronavirus in Canada have run into a wall of protests from people opposed to the vaccine mandates and other restrictions.”
Tossing to correspondent Mola Lenghi, Burleson added how “thousands of truckers and others have clogged the streets for more than ten days.”
For his part, Lenghi framed the convoy in more menacing terms than CBS ever would for a Black Lives Matter riot, saying the protests “erupted” and that their actions “brought downtown Ottawa to a halt, disrupting businesses and flooding police with calls about everything from incessant honking to threats and assaults.”
Accepting the Canadian government’s framing, Lenghi noted the “mayor declared a state of emergency asking for outside help as local authorities say they are outnumbered, and the police chief described being under siege.”
Unlike ABC, Lenghi acknowledged the GoFundMe account for the Freedom Convoy that was shut down (after having raised millions), citing the company’s excuse as having stemmed from Canadian law enforcement telling them the group has engaged in “of violence and other unlawful activity.”
So, instead of trying to understand them, the media have decided to condemn them.
ABC’s Good Morning America co-host Robin Roberts featured the convoy as one of the lead teases, warning of the scene “escalat[ing]” as truckers “refuse to leave” as part of the “so-called Freedom Convoy.”
Imagine if Roberts called a BLM mob in May and June 2020 “so-called.”
Correspondent Gio Benitez had the story and went right to the extremes, hyping the belief of how some “are comparing vaccine mandates to fascism” and allegations in Vancouver that “demonstrators allegedly spread nails across roads.”
During his report, he aired this clip from Ottawa police chief Peter Sloly: “The city is under siege. This is a threat to our democracy. It's a nationwide insurrection. This is madness.”
The night prior, ABC’s World News Tonight covered as part of a wider COVID segment. Anchor Linsey Davis said in a tease that there was “frustration…boiling over” while correspondent Phil Lipof said the honks were “the sound of frustration” with “[t]housands of long-haul truckers angry about a federal mandate requiring them to be vaccinated to cross into the United States.”
And back on CBS, the western-only editions of the CBS Weekend News twice highlighted it thanks to correspondent Lilia Luciano (click “expand”):
LUCIANO [on 02/05/22]: And today, there were new protests against vaccine mandates and restrictions in Canada. Trucks and tractors rolled into several cities across the country again this weekend. Fears of clashes are rising with police called their actions an occupation.
UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER [on CTV]: The people are fed up.
LUCIANO [on 02/06/22]: And the anti-mandate battle is spreading across Canada, hundreds of trucks and thousands of people continue blocking roads.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE PROTESTER: I support the truckers because they’re standing up for freedom.
LUCIANO: But patience on this ninth day of demonstrations is running thin, with counter-protesters demanding an end to disruptions.
LUCIANO: Ottawa's mayor declared a state of emergency because of those protests.
These dismissals of blue-collar workers who help clothe, feed, and keep us functioning as a continent was made possible thanks to advertisers such as Colgate (on ABC) and Progressive (on CBS). Follow the links to see their contact information at the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.
To see the relevant ABC and CBS transcripts from February 7, click “expand.”
ABC’s Good Morning America
February 7, 2022
7:00 a.m. Eastern [TEASE]
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: State of Emergency; Protests Against COVID Restrictions Escalate]
ROBIN ROBERTS: State of emergency declared north of the border as protests against COVID restrictions escalate. Authorities say at least 500 trucks refuse to leave –
ROBERTS: -- blocking the roads. This morning, the latest on the so-called Freedom Convoy.
7:05 a.m. Eastern
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: New Developments; “Freedom Convoy” Chaos; State of the Emergency Declared Amid Growing Protests Over COVID Restrictions]
ROBERTS: We’re going to turn now to a state of emergency declared north of the border as protests against COVID restrictions elevate. A so-called Freedom Convoy in Ottawa is causing chaos in the city, blocking the roads. Gio Benitez joins us now with the latest. Good morning, Gio.
GIO BENITEZ: Hey, Robin, good morning to you. Those protesters are comparing vaccine mandates to fascism. Now, this morning, Ottawa's mayor is calling this the city's most serious emergency. This morning, the mayor of Ottawa declaring a state of emergency in response to more than a week of truckers protesting against COVID restrictions.
BENITEZ: The mayor saying the protests pose a threat to public safety. The city center shut down with trucks blocking roads.
OTTAWA POLICE CHIEF PETER SLOLY: The city is under siege. This is a threat to our democracy. It's a nationwide insurrection. This is madness.
BENITEZ: It began when thousands of long-haul truckers descended upon the city angry about a federal mandate requiring them to be vaccinated to cross into the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE PROTESTER [on CTV]: We're not in China. We're not in Cuba. This is a free country.
BENITEZ: Authorities say at least 500 truckers refuse to leave.
SLOLOY: This is not a police-only, city of Ottawa-only challenge. It is, in fact, a national challenge.
BENITEZ: And now, we're learning the protests have spread to Vancouver where demonstrators allegedly spread nails across roads. T.J., we will keep following this one.
T.J. HOLMES: We know you will, Gio. Thank you as always.
February 7, 2022
7:09 a.m. Eastern
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Trucker Vaccine Mandate Protests; State of Emergency in Ottawa as Anti-Vaccine Protests Enter 2nd Week]
NATE BURLESON: Turning to the pandemic, government efforts to control the coronavirus in Canada have run into a wall of protests from people opposed to the vaccine mandates and other restrictions. In the capital city of Ottawa, thousands of truckers and others have clogged the streets for more than ten days. Ottawa's mayor has now declared a state of emergency. The protests spread to other cities, and the protesters are getting major support from the U.S. Mola Lenghi has the details.
MOLA LENGHI: What started as a protest against U.S. and Canadian rules requiring truckers to be fully vaccinated to enter either country has erupted into a movement of thousands against the Canadian public health system.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE PROTESTER: We don't need the government to overreach to tell us what to do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE PROTESTER: The unvaccinated for two years have been shamed and thrown under the bus.
LENGHI: The protesters took to the streets for the second week in a row with a convoy of semi-trucks blocking intersections. They brought downtown Ottawa to a halt, disrupting businesses and flooding police with calls about everything from incessant honking to threats and assaults.
OTTAWA MAYOR JIM WATSON: We're in the midst of a serious emergency, the most serious emergency our city's ever faced.
LENGHI: On Sunday, Ottawa's mayor declared a state of emergency asking for outside help as local authorities say they are outnumbered, and the police chief described being under siege.
LENGHI: The protests have drawn praise from former President Donald Trump and Ottawa police say the convoy is getting significant logistical and financial support from people in the United States. On Friday, GoFundMe shut down a fundraiser for the so-called “Freedom Convoy,” which had garnered nearly $8 million U.S. In a statement, the company said it was done “as a result of multiple discussions with local law enforcement and police reports of violence and other unlawful activity.”
WATSON: Someone is going to get injured or seriously killed if they don't understand the severity of the situation.
LENGHI: For CBS Mornings, I'm Mola Lenghi.