The Things the Media Don’t Say
The Mediaverse by Dennis Kneale, TruthDAO opinion columnist
“It’s not what you say that counts, it’s ‘What You Don’t Say.’” This catch phrase for a TV game show 60 years ago aptly describes the media today, on the left and on the right.
What they leave out can speak volumes about their ideological bent. We have seen this on shocking display as the media ignore the Twitter Files, perhaps to avoid the risk of aiding the re-election bid of their No. 1 enemy, Donald Trump.
Myriad other examples are popping up lately, as in the coverage of the Antifa riot in Atlanta on Saturday night, Jan. 22. Protesters torched a police car, shattered the windows of office buildings in downtown Atlanta, and sent tourists fleeing. Police arrested half a dozen people on charges of domestic terrorism, rioting, arson, and more.
Five of them were from out-of-state, meaning: imported by Antifa to make trouble.
The rioters were part of a crowd protesting the police shooting, four days earlier, of an activist who had shot at police first, striking an officer in the pelvis and requiring him to undergo surgery. The site of the shooting was a forest where activists have set up dozens of tents in the past year, to try to stop plans to build a new police training facility on a nearby 85-acre site. They call it Cop City.
This is a compelling story, but the New York Times didn’t cover the Atlanta riot, at all. Even though the paper had covered the story of the cop’s shooting the protester earlier in the week. In that story, The Times waited 11 paragraphs to explicitly quote an official’s saying the protester had fired first, “hitting the trooper, and officers returned fire.”
Other media outlets that did cover the Atlanta riot avoided mentioning Antifa. The Washington Post, CNN, NBC News, NPR, and the Guardian left out any reference to the radical group. On the right, stories on FoxNews.com, the Free Beacon, and the Daily Mail made sure to cite Antifa—seven times in the Free Beacon story, 12 times in the Daily Mail.
The Associated Press account, carried on NPR.org and hundreds of other websites, describes Antifa’s black-bloc uniform without naming Antifa: “Masked activists dressed in all black threw rocks and lit fireworks in front of a skyscraper that houses the Atlanta Police Foundation,” part of a march “to mourn the death of the protester, a nonbinary person who went by the name Tortuguita and used they/it pronouns.”
What do nonbinary and pronouns have to do with police shooting back in self-defense after coming under fire? It insinuates the possibility of a hate crime where there was none.
CNN came under fire for over the weekend for featuring an on-air guest on “CNN Newsroom” who minimized the Atlanta incident: “You keep using these words, ‘violent, violent, violent, violent, violent’… The only acts of violence against people that I saw were actually police tackling protesters.”
By Monday, CNN had dropped the story, even though Atlanta has been its base since its founding in 1980. In six hours I recorded from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., the riot got a teaser at 2:28 p.m. edt which lasted nine seconds, with no follow-up story. And that was it.
The Guardian played the police shooting as an attack on the environmental movement. Its story opens with the tragic loss felt by the mother of the protester, who was called Tortuguita (“little turtle” in Spanish), and says: “The killing has stunned and shocked”—what is the difference between those two?—“not only Tortuguita’s family and friends, but also the environmental and social justice movement in Georgia and across the United States.”
The story, published on Jan. 21, says officials say the suspect shot first, “but they have produced no evidence for the claim.” Actually, a day earlier, Atlanta’s Fox5 local TV station reported that bullet fragments removed from the cop’s body in surgery matched the gun found at the scene.
Meanwhile, here is how the Free Beacon, a conservative outlet, covered the riot:
“Far-left Antifa rioters on Saturday rampaged through downtown Atlanta, smashing storefront windows and torching a police cruiser. Several agitators were armed with explosive devices, which they used to destroy an Atlanta Police Department vehicle… The anti-police rioters also damaged three businesses and threw rocks and fireworks at the Atlanta Police Foundation building.”
The Beacon further reported that a group called “Scenes from the Atlanta Forest” had called for a “Night of Rage” aimed at “reciprocal violeThe Things the Media Don’t Saynce” against police. Which other outlets left unmentioned.
One of those arrested, an Antifa follower who is the 22-year-old scion of a surgeon in Maine, had been let out on bail after getting arrested on December 13th in an earlier protest. So, sure, we had hundreds of Trump supporters sit in jail for almost two years after walking into the Capital building in the Jan. 6 “insurrection,” but this Antifa brat is released on bail?
Albeit you had read this in the Daily Mail of London. Most other media left it out.
Dennis Kneale, @denniskneale on Twitter, is a media strategist and writer in New York. He spent more than 30 years at The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, and Fox Business. His podcast is called "What's Bugging Me."