When you’re on the pro-gun side of the debate, you generally don’t expect particularly fair treatment from the media. You know on some level that they’re going to try to misrepresent you and your position. You know better than to trust them.
However, sometimes, parts of the media go so far out of their way to make the pro-gun side look bad that it would be hilarious if it wasn’t so infuriating.
The latest example of this comes from Newsweek. They ran a story about the pro-gun protest at the Michigan state capitol with this headline: Hundreds of Heavily-Armed Gun Activists Surround Michigan State Capitol
In other words, they presented a lawful protest designed to call attention to their position on a matter the legislature is considering–the banning of open carry inside the capitol–as if it were an armed siege.
See, it’s understood by most of us who work in the media that a lot of times, people develop their ideas primarily by reading the headlines. They read them, then share them, but don’t always click on the story itself.
Because of that, though, headlines can shape the narrative surrounding an event just as much as the report itself. As such, I can’t help but believe that this headline was designed to make it look like the protestors were doing more than protesting, that they were a clear and present threat. The meat of the article isn’t much better, either.
Heavily-armed protestors, some waving Confederate flags and Trump campaign banners, stood on the lawn outside the capitol building in Lansing brandishing AR-15 firearms and wearing body armour.
Among those in attendance were members of the Proud Boys—a far-right, all-male organization with a history of violence against political opponents—and the Michigan Liberty Militia, a paramilitary group.
In other words, all the relevant boogiemen were there. I genuinely doubt there were many Confederate flags, of course. After all, Michigan fought for the North.
But everything about this report is crafted in an effort to discredit the protestors as a group. It’s designed to make people afraid of those protestors, to present them as some eldritch horror that is lurking around the corner.
However, let’s note that nothing was set on fire. No windows were broken. No one was assaulted. Nothing bad happened. They came, protested, then went home.
There’s no spin about this being “mostly peaceful” as buildings burn in the background. It was entirely peaceful.
That’s why Newsweek had to try and spin it, though. It’s imperative for them that people see this side as vile, aggressive, and dangerous. Nevermind that there’s been no right-wing riots. Those have all come from the left, after all. That doesn’t matter. They need people to see the opposition as the real threat.
But they don’t get to have their own facts. I don’t buy into the idea that truth is relative. A is A. Objective reality is objectively real, and that includes how the protest wasn’t a siege, yet this particular outlet opted to present it as if it were.