Tuesday 2 June 2020

Rioters Violate Social Distancing. Media Doesn’t Care. But Here’s What They Said About Conservative Protesters.

Some of us are old enough to remember the bygone days of three weeks ago. Back in those bad old times, the news media were quite certain that it was brazen and irresponsible and possibly murderous to protest during a pandemic. Such gatherings, we were told, would spread the virus at hyper speed and directly result in countless deaths. 
Not to harp on ancient history, but I can recall this article from Vox assuring me that protesting under these conditions is racist because it might kill black people.  
An article on repeated the once-common argument that protestors shouldn’t receive medical care if they contract the virus.
The Guardian warned that protestors might be spreading the virus “far and wide.” 
Jimmy Kimmel, among others, said that protesters are “suicidal.”
Dr. Birx called it “devastatingly worrisome” that protesters would gather in the middle of an outbreak.
Others called the protests “reckless” and “mind-bogglingly selfish.”
The Washington Post assured us that demonstrators “don’t care about lives” while Slate accused them of “twisting the idea of liberty.”
Another Washington Post op-ed compared protesters to Typhoid Mary, as The Week and The Nation both agreed it is “dangerous” to be out rallying at a time like this. USA Today was even more direct, saying that protesters are “risking your health.”
These are just a few examples. Many more could be offered, but what’s the use? We all lived through the past three months when COVID-19 was the only thing the media cared about, and any gathering of people, of any size, in any context, was condemned as a heedless and foolhardy exercise in viral transmission. Even people who simply went to the beach to sunbathe and wade in the water were blasted in panicky news headlines.
It’s no use arguing that the “protests” currently ravaging our cities are more important and more justified. I hardly see mass looting as a more worthy cause than standing up against the disastrous and unconstitutional lockdowns that decimated the economy and shredded the Bill of Rights, but that’s beside the point. The point is that the very act of protesting, or of forming large groups for any other reason, was supposed to put many lives at risk, thus was worthy of condemnation (and prohibition by the government). In one fell swoop, literally overnight, all of that was put to the side.
Why? Has COVID-19 gone away? Did its method of transmission suddenly change? Are we witnessing a miracle? Or did the media just decide to dump one narrative in favor of another, for political reasons? The answer, of course, is clear. And the lesson we should all take home is also clear: if you want to protest during a pandemic, do it safely and responsibly, by burning down buildings, stopping traffic, and beating the hell out of random bystanders. That way you’ll escape criticism, not to mention prosecution.

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