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How to Tell A Lie: NPR Says Rioters Just “Dancing” on Police Cars

This is dancing:

This is not dancing.  This is thugs destroying public property:

The difference may be apparent to ordinary people, but not to certain publicly funded journalists.  Here is how NPR‘s Mark Memmott describes the scene above:

“some witnesses reported others dancing on top of police cruisers taunting them.”

Using the word “dancing” to describe kicking out the windows of police cars is blisteringly dishonest.  In other words, it is par for the course for NPR’s coverage of anything involving police.  Los Angelenos ought to be thanking the police for risking their necks to control and disperse these anti-social morons.  But instead, what we get from NPR is blunt lying.  Memmott acknowledges that “people threw bottles and vandalized cars,” but he calls destroying police vehicles “dancing” and doesn’t tell us who, precisely, were having bottles thrown at them.

In the alternative universe of NPR, police just aren’t as human as other people.  So bottles get “thrown” instead of “thrown at police,” and stomping up and down on police vehicles is called dancing.

The picture above is from the British Daily Mail Online.  Increasingly, I find I have to look to British tabloids to get pictures of street disruptions that American media simply refuses to show.  How interesting.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times used a very strange photo essay to transform an ugly riot against police into a montage of images of police running amuck and attacking harmless-looking individuals.  The photoessay is a triumph of anti-cop agitprop.  It really is very clever of the Times to show no pictures of the crowd’s behavior, only rows of police in riot gear.  Repugnant, but clever.  Here are all five photographs from the Times photoessay.  Unfortunately, I can only post small copies of the first four photos: to really grasp the intentionality of the paper’s efforts to misrepresent the event and paint cops as jackbooted thugs, go here:

See?  No rioters in this one.  Just a human wall of police, lit eerily by fluorescent purple lights.

No rioters here, either. Just one vulnerable-and-calm-looking youth making a peace sign as cops bear down menacingly.

Police running towards something that isn’t captured in the frame.

No rioters, just bystanders passively watching.  The cops are probably running to help other officers tazer some completely innocent grandpa.  In related news, Rodney King got arrested for the 14,000th time since his infamous 1991 arrest/payday.  His other post-can’t we all get along arrests include trying to run over a police officer with a car, hitting his wife with a car, punching a girlfriend in the stomach, indecent exposure, domestic violence against his daughters and their mother, threatening to kill one of his daughters and her mother, and trying to lead police on another famous high-speed chase, though this time the cops wisely just let him endanger scores of innocent drivers by weaving through traffic at speeds exceeding 100mph, until he crashed through a fence and hit a house.

The fourth photo shows a white cop grabbing a black man while another cop picks something up from the sidewalk and a third in riot gear brandishes a police baton.  You can practically hear the imagined caption: “cop in riot gear brandishes police baton.”  No scenes of marauding crowds in this one either, just one guy and three cops. It isn’t clear why the police are apprehending the man.  Did he just steal something?  Why is he running?  The Times doesn’t explain.  Nor do they tell us what this photo has to do with the riot.  Maybe it’s a stock image they use to flesh out their anti-police crusades.

Robocop getting ready to beat on invisible crowd, from the visual propagandists at the Los Angeles Times.

So that’s five photos of police looking menacing without one single image showing the rioters or the size of the out-of-control crowd that gathered outside Grauman’s Chinese Theater.  All in all, the Times actually ran six rioter-free photos, if you count one from the front page I wasn’t fast enough to capture — of some half-naked love child peering at the police line through a heart shape made with his hands.

Ugh.

In order to actually see pictures of things like rioters jumping on police cars, you do have to look to the British press.  I’ve begun to notice major American dailies “cleaning up” raw footage that shows rioters and criminals committing crime and replacing them with ominous-looking shots of the police response.  Here is a picture showing the size of the crowd.  Contrast this with the Los Angeles Times’ photos, and you can see how hard the Times had to work to disappear the street violence.

Luckily, not all the witnesses were journalists, so at least we have some record of what actually happened.  “There were people trampling all over the police cars, smashing the windows,” said Greg Magda, who was working in a coffee shop nearby.  Being a non-journalist person, Mr. Magda didn’t get the memo about calling the cop-car-trampling and window-smashing “dancing” instead.  There is a war on cops in this country, and the media is playing an increasingly nasty role in encouraging hatred of police.

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