For the "Freedom for me, and not for thee" file: Donald Trump decided to cancel a campaign rally in Chicago tonight "due to safety concerns after protesters packed the arena where it was to take place."
An Associated Press report time-stamped at 10:12 p.m. (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes), like so many AP reports in similar circumstances before subsequent revisions "clean things up," so to speak, has some elements of balance, in the sense that it included quotes from protesters whose stated goal was to shut down the event. That said, there appears to be a serious and perhaps deliberate journalistic oversight in the final two paragraphs of the wire service's report designed to make it difficult for others to investigate how orchestrated the whole affair was.
When's the last time if even, that a group of right-wing protesters in the U.S. specifically set out to completely shut down a left-wing speaker's address? There's no doubt that the attempt to protest Trump was organized, and that its primary intent was to prevent him from speaking:
"Trump represents everything America is not and everything Chicago is not," said Kamran Siddiqui, 20, a student at the school who was among those celebrating. "We came in here and we wanted to shut this down. Because this is a great city and we don't want to let that person in here."
(Paragraphs 15 and 16)
But many of the protesters in Chicago said they were there to specifically to stop Trump from speaking.
"Our country is not going to make it being divided by the views of Donald Trump," said Jermaine Hodge, a 37-year-old lifelong Chicago resident who owns a trucking company. "Our country is divided enough. Donald Trump, he's preaching hate. He's preaching division."
(Final 2 of 27 paragraphs)
Chicago community activist Quo Vadis said hundreds of protesters had positioned themselves in groups around the arena, and they intended to demonstrate right after Trump took the stage.
Their goal, he said, was "for Donald to take the stage and to completely interrupt him. The plan is to shut Donald Trump all the way down."
A directory assistance lookup indicates that there is no listed "Quo Vadis" (which means "Where are you going?" in Latin) in Illinois.
It seems quite likely that the person who was quoted is really Quovadis Green, a Chicago activist who was involved in Black Lives Matter protests in Chicago's Michigan Avenue shopping district during last year's Black Friday Christmas shopping weekend.
Green has a LinkedIn page which "just so happens" to note being involved in "Artist Management, Concert Promoting, Event Planning, Tour Consulting, and ... (wait for it) ... Crowd Management."
Given the profession, it's not at all surprising that "Quo Vadis" spoke of strategically positioning protesters for maximum disruption. It's also worth asking how "Quo Vadis" was able to assemble so many protesters. How many of them were paid to be there — and assuming they were paid, where did the money come from to pay them?
The Facebook page of a "Quovadis Green" from Chicago shows quite a bit of pleasure with tonight's result:
Due to Organized Protest and CHICAGO coming together Trump landed in Chicago and CPD and secret service advised he not come and the rally has been CANCELLED! I love u CHICAGO
Green is Facebook friends with Jedidah Brown, a "pastor" who "made it on stage" during the protest shutdown effort.
The plot thickens once one looks at who covered tonight's event for AP.
Don Babwin of the Associated Press was apparently the lead reporter at that Black Lives Matter protest in November. Green was quoted in that report:
“You cannot kill our children and expect us to be quiet any longer,” protester Quovadis Green said. “It is unacceptable.”
Babwin is also a co-author of tonight's AP report and was said to have reported from Chicago. Was he sloppy in citing "Quo Vadis" as if that was this person's full name, or was he shielding Quovadis Green from scrutiny?
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.