The headline at Dan Zak's Arts & Entertainment column at the Washington Post early Thursday evening: "We were promised a riot. In Cleveland, we got a block party instead." (There were occasional exceptions.) Though his article's tone was generally positive, he did complain that "Cleveland is basically a police state this week." Gosh, I didn't know police states had so much freedom of speech and expression.
What Zak found was "general comity," which included people giving out hugs and cuddles (seriously), and spontaneous outbursts of live music. So it's worth asking who made the "promise (of) a riot," or at least who built the expectation. To what should be no one's surprise, the Associated Press had a big role.
An AP photo found at USA Today on July 13 had the following caption: "Last week’s violence in Baton Rouge and Dallas shocked the nation and is causing concern protests at the Republican National Convention could descend into chaos."
It turns out that the AP had already decided who should get blamed if "chaos" occurred, and not so subtly communicated it to it subscribers:
You see, if anything were to happen, it would be the "divisive" Donald Trump's fault — as well as the Republican Party, of course, for nominating him.
For those who believe I'm exaggerating, let's look at the related AP video which went out to subscribing broadcast outlets.
Note that the video's conclusion tries to portray any problems which might happen in Cleveland as a continuation of "what started" at Trump rallies during primary season — as if what happened in those cities was the candidate's fault, and not overwhelmingly the fault of violent out-of-control leftist "protesters" and rioters:
Transcript (bolds are mine):
DAVID MARTIN, AP NARRATOR: Last week’s violence in Baton Rouge and Dallas shocked the nation and is causing concern protests at the Republican National Convention could descend into chaos.
Thousands of protesters and delegates are expected to flood into Cleveland, where Donald Trump will accept the Republican nomination.
CALVIN WILLIAMS, CLEVELAND POLICE CHIEF: We have planned, we have what if'd, we have table-topped this from day 1 to yesterday and everything that can and will happen we have planned for.
MARTIN: Cleveland police say they've ramped up convention security even further following the Dallas police shootings. Security expert Tim Dimoff says Donald Trump's polarizing nature could set the stages for clashes.
TIM DIMOFF, NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: The radical protest groups in the United States are coming to Cleveland RNC, and those groups are going to pose a very significant type of aggressive behavior, aggressive protest and they're really going to be the ones that will put the gasoline on the fire.
MARTIN: The City of Cleveland tried to severely limit protester access to the convention area, but recently had to walk back many of the restrictions after the ACLU sued the city, claiming they were violating protesters' First Amendment rights.
CHRISTINE LINK, ACLU OF OHIO: I feel like we're dealing with a, y'know, a grade C police department when what you need in times like this is an A+ police department.
MARTIN: Deb Kline is an organizer for the left-leaning Cleveland Jobs for Justice. They've been granted a permit to protest, but it's two miles away from the RNC in an abandoned lot.
DEB KLINE, "CLEVELAND JOBS FOR JUSTICE" ORGANIZER: I think this convention is going to be like no other that we've ever seen, um, and I'm a little fearful because some of the groups we are hearing are coming in, um that are all pro-Trump.
MARTIN: As lead Ohio organizer for Citizens for Trump, Ralph King worries some anti-Trump groups are coming to Cleveland looking for a fight.
RALPH KING, "CITIZENS FOR TRUMP" ORGANIZER: We will not encourage any confrontation, uh, we will try to defuse any confrontation, um, but we're are not going to ask anybody, y'know, to sit there and take a beating.
MARTIN: Despite the fears of many, almost everyone in Cleveland points to the Cavaliers' victory parade last month as how smoothly Cleveland can handle a major event.
But that was a unifying celebration. And for many, Trump's nomination is anything but.
Many fear that what started in Chicago, Albuquerque and Anaheim could erupt in Cleveland.
David Martin, the Associated Press.
It would be nice if the ACLU's Christine Link would acknowledge that things went well and take back her insult directed at the police. Don't hold your breath.
As to Deb Kline being "fearful" of pro-Trump groups, as seen in an earlier NewsBusters post, they really arguably contributed to the peaceful situation and to the disappointing leftist protester turnout — perhaps even the people who exercised their right to carry firearms.
Now let's look at the brazen smear that is David Martin's final sentence:
- In Chicago in March, "The protests which broke out ahead of Donald Trump’s Chicago campaign rally last week quickly became violent riots when Bernie Sanders supporters and members of the Black Lives Matter movement joined forces to shut down the event."
- In Albuquerque in May, "anti-Trump protesters threw rocks, smashed doors on the convention center, jumping on cop cars and set Trump flags on fire." As seen at the link, MSNBC host Chris Matthews and his guests praised, defended and made excuses for the "protesters" turned rioters.
- In Anaheim the next day, "Violent anti-Trump protesters harassed and spit on Trump supporters."
The historical revisionists at the AP had their meme — that the violence at Trump's events has been the "polarizing" candidate's fault, and that his "divisiveness" coupled with violent events in distant cities during the previous week would make "chaos" in Cleveland quite likely — and they were determined to stick with it, the truth be damned.
No wonder so many people like the Washington Post's Zak thought they'd see a riot.
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It doesn't appear that Zak feels this way, though his "police state" comment is quite pathetic, but it seems that much of the press is almost disappointed that one didn't materialize. The left definitely is, and there's quite an intersection between the two groups.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.