On Inauguration Day, leftwing protesters took to the streets of the nation’s Capital. They burned cars, shattered store fronts, blocked off checkpoints leading to the Capitol grounds, pelted police officers with rocks, and harassed law-abiding Americans trying to watch our 45th President take his oath of office.
Police in downtown Washington arrested 217 of these so-called Antifa militants during what CNN called “ugly street clashes.” On the same day, police arrested even more violent leftwing protestors in New York, Chicago, Portland, Dallas, and other cities across the nation.
The elite media went to great lengths to portray these attacks as isolated incidents. National news outlets emphasized the peaceful demonstrations by other distraught liberals, while conveniently neglecting to mention the many Americans who were peacefully enduring Antifa’s abuse. By the next day, most of the media had abandoned the topic all together, shifting their focus to more “pressing” issues, like comparing the size of the 2017 inauguration crowd with the attendance of previous years.
Thus, the Left’s violence was concealed. But this was only the beginning.
In February, leftwing protestors at the University of California, Berkeley rioted – causing $100,000 in damage to the campus – and forced the university to cancel a speech by former Breitbart.com editor Milo Yiannopoulos.
A month later at Middlebury College, liberals shouted down political scientist and author Charles Murray, preventing him from giving a speech. As if this wasn’t enough to satisfy these rioters, a group of masked militants then proceeded to attack Murray, injuring a faculty member in their fury.
In an attempt to rationalize the violent outbursts of leftist groups, the mainstream media characterized the speakers as controversial, provocative right-wingers whose extreme views drove the otherwise normal liberal Americans into frenzy.
After the tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia this month, the media rightly castigated violence carried out by hateful Neo-Nazi groups and Ku Klux Klan members, but they blatantly disregarded the violent acts committed by Antifa militants who were also there.
In San Francisco this past Sunday, a small army of masked, armed Antifa members swarmed and attacked a group of conservatives who were peacefully protesting Marxism in America – as well as the police protecting the group. The Berkeley Police ultimately arrested 13 of the Antifa activists, charging some with felony assault, assault with a deadly weapon, and other violations.
This was a clear, coordinated offensive on innocent Americans exercising their rights to free speech, protest, and assembly. The victims of this attack were not advocating for hate, racism, or any other malign or violent philosophy. They were opposing communism – a political system which most Americans have opposed for decades.
However, once again, members of the elite media have failed to condemn this violence – and instead have worked tirelessly to mute and downplay terror being committed by fellow liberals.
On Monday, NPR described the attack as “scattered violence,” claiming it was “unclear how the aggressors were aligned.” Even after NPR cited another journalist who said the violence was caused by members of the leftwing Antifa group, the network made sure to add that “the man being beaten may have been a member of the alt-right.”
Huffington Post writer Andy Campbell described the liberal aggression as “scuffles” in a piece that included the triumphant liberal subhead, “A Rally that Had Been Called Off Got Drowned Out, Anyway.” Campbell implied in his article that both groups engaged in violence and were arrested, which was completely, intentionally false.
The Washington Post’s coverage acknowledged that Antifa was responsible, but they unsurprisingly managed to indirectly blame President Donald Trump. They asserted that violence “has become a regular feature” of his presidency and “gives signs of spiraling upward, particularly in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville.”
So, the elite national media’s take on the violence in Berkeley on Sunday was: Yes, violent liberals attacked a small group of conservative protestors – but it’s not really their fault.
Based on how the mainstream media has covered the Charlottesville tragedy and the protests in Berkeley, it is reasonable to say they believe there is no moral equivalence between violence fueled by bigotry and violence committed by people who hate others for their political ideology.
This message is wrong and dangerous to our Republic.
Even the few outside news outlets that accurately reported the event in Berkeley as a clear assault by leftwing activists on police and peaceful protestors, still failed to condemn these acts as threats to free speech and peaceable assembly – the foundation of our Constitution’s First Amendment.
Prolonged silence about the Left’s violence is dangerous. It’s time for the national media to reflect and start condemning leftwing attacks just as vehemently as it does the brutality of Neo-Nazis, the KKK, and other hateful groups.
Violence in all forms is wrong and must be harshly rebuked by all Americans.
Newt Gingrich is the author of "Understanding Trump", and is a former Speaker of the House of Representatives.