Rallying against Freedom of Speech
This column by ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight was published March 20, 2016 by The Washington Times.
We are in a very strange, disturbing election season in which the loudest voices are magnified by instant reporting all around us.
Social media are awash in videos of Donald Trump castigating protesters that invade his rallies, followed by footage of Trump supporters yelling epithets and punching them.
It’s shocking, especially if you haven’t also viewed videos of leftist street protesters outside recent Trump rallies, with f-words flying and thugs taunting and pushing police.
As the George Soros-funded Moveon.org and Black Lives Matter promise more protests, the likelihood of serious violence rises. And that’s the object —- to stop the rallies, provoke a reaction, and then blame it on the candidate and his supporters.
Unfortunately, Mr. Trump has made it easy, giving them gifts such as, “You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They’d be carried out on a stretcher, folks.”
“Yeah, get ‘em out. Try not to hurt ‘em. If you do, I’ll defend you in court, don’t worry about it.”
There are many more cringeworthy quotes hinting at justifiable violence, including the probability of riots if he does not get the Republican nomination, but here’s the thing.
For the past 50 years, leftists routinely have shut down events featuring speakers with whom they disagree, especially on college campuses, with the media not blinking an eye. So, even if Mr. Trump was not using provocative rhetoric, they’d still be out there trying to silence him and intimidate his supporters. It’s what they do.
This doesn’t excuse Mr. Trump’s over-the-top remarks suggesting that his followers should beat up protesters, but it’s part of the bigger picture that the liberal media are busily shaping.
On the weekend following Mr. Trump’s violence-interrupted Friday rally in St. Louis and cancellation of his evening event at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the major TV networks assigned 94 percent of the blame to Mr. Trump.
Media Research Center analysts found that in 45 segments on ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening shows totaling nearly 85 minutes of airtime, reporters criticized the Trump campaign 46 times versus three times for left-wing protesters.
It wasn’t just the networks. Here’s how the once-credible New York Daily News began its coverage of the March 11 events:
“Donald Trump’s divisive hate tour exploded in violence Friday with a bloody stop in St. Louis and chaos in Chicago —- while the tone-deaf hatemonger denied his role in the madness.
“The fury filled day began with clashes outside St. Louis’ Peabody Opera House, leaving one man bloodied and another charged with assault. The protests, the bigoted billionaire told the masses, ‘add to the flavor.’”
This is the same newspaper that used the Islamist terrorist attack in San Bernardino last December as a vehicle for a diatribe against Republican presidential candidates.
Reporting on the mass shooting the day before that killed 14 people and injured 22, the Daily News’ December 3 cover had photos of Republicans and their tweets urging prayers for the shooting victims’ families and first responders.
The huge headline: “God Isn’t Fixing This.” The subhead: “As latest batch of innocent Americans are left lying in pools of blood, cowards who could truly end gun scourge continue to hide behind meaningless platitudes.” The article went on to praise Democrats for pushing gun control.
You can’t make this up. As I said, the Daily News used to be an actual newspaper, and was even somewhat conservative alongside The New York Times.
Speaking of the Gray Lady, the Times reported that in the wake of the Chicago rally’s cancellation, “protesters were jubilant, and celebrated along the intersections on the city’s Near West Side. Some protesters shut down lanes of a nearby expressway.”
“They got the job done,” Vickie Deanda, 54, a Chicago accountant, told the Times. “Someone has to object to this hatred.”
I don’t think the protesters made a lot of converts among the stranded Chicago motorists. It brought back my college days at American University, when idiots protesting something or other stopped rush hour traffic on Ward Circle near the campus and jumped on commuters’ cars, damaging the hoods and ripping off windshield wipers. Not one driver said, “Wow. I see your point and I’m joining your cause.”
If there was any doubt as to the Chicago demonstrators’ intent to exercise the heckler’s veto and silence Mr. Trump, MoveOn.org Political Action Executive Director Ilya Sheyman scotched it.
“Mr. Trump and the Republican leaders who support him and his hate-filled rhetoric should be on notice after tonight’s events,” he crowed, promising more of the same:
“MoveOn members will continue to call out and nonviolently protest his racist, bigoted, misogynistic, xenophobic, and violent behavior. Love and democracy must prevail over violence and hate.”
As “The Princess Bride’s” Inigo Montoya might say, “I don’t think that word (love) means what he thinks it means.”
Mr. Sheyman also noted, “MoveOn proudly supported University of Illinois at Chicago students and local organizers by printing signs and recruiting MoveOn members to attend the student-led protest.”
Sure it was.