ABC, CBS: ‘Mostly Peaceful’ May Day Protests ‘Marred’ by ‘Small Pockets of Violence’

On Tuesday, ABC’s Good Morning America and CBS This Morning covered the violence at left-wing May Day protests on Monday, but then absurdly tried to claim the demonstrations were “mostly peaceful” efforts to oppose “the Trump administration’s immigration and labor policies.” All three networks also avoided labeling the rioters as liberal.

GMA co-host George Stephanopoulos told viewers: “We’re going to turn now to those May Day protests that turned violent both here at home and around the world, with 25 arrested in Portland, police set on fire in Paris.” Senior Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas lamented: “Those mostly peaceful protests involving thousands across the country on May Day turned violent in the northwest, with what police called a riot in Portland, Oregon and nine officers injured in downtown Olympia, Washington.”

The reporter listed the serious offenses committed at the violent rallies: “As many as 100 protesters clashed with police in those two cities with smoke bombs, rocks, and bottles being thrown and fires set. A number of businesses were damaged as well. In all, at least 34 people were arrested...”

Despite that, Thomas still concluded his report by arguing: “Those small pockets of violence marred peaceful demonstrations with marchers protesting the Trump administration’s immigration and labor policies...”

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On CBS This Morning, co-host Charlie Rose described how “May Day protests in support of...workers’ rights turned violent in cities around the world.” Correspondent John Blackstone noted that “Police had to resort to so-called flash bangs to try to break up an unruly crowd in Portland, Oregon” after “The city was forced to shut down its May Day march after the peaceful protest to support labor and immigration rights turned violent.”

Like his ABC colleague, Blackstone acknowledged the dangerous crimes that took place: “Anarchists clashed with officers, trashing police vehicles and some businesses. In the Washington state capital of Olympia, police say dozens of people dressed in black hurled rocks and marbles. There were several arrests.”

He then bizarrely touted how protesters offered police soft drinks: “In perhaps a not-so-subtle nod to that now infamous Pepsi commercial, some demonstrators offered police a can of Pepsi, which in some cases wasn’t so well received.” He proclaimed: “For the most part, demonstrators came together peacefully, hoping to keep attention on their primary cause.”

A soundbite ran of one protester being allowed to promote the left-wing movement: “I'm here to fight for rights. For rights for workers, rights for immigrants, rights for everybody. Everybody that works, the working class, we need to be heard.”

During a news brief on NBC’s Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie refrained from characterizing the violent marches as “peaceful,” but like ABC and CBS, she also steered clear of any liberal labels:

May Day protests turned violent in Portland, Oregon last night. Demonstrators throwing smoke bombs, Molotov cocktails, and other objects at police officers. The group of self-described anarchists also set fires in the streets. Multiple people were arrested and some downtown businesses were damaged, including a police car which was destroyed.

In the meantime, speaking of protests, tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Paris to protest far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen. Demonstrators there threw Molotov cocktails at security forces, they fired back with tear gas. Three officers and several protesters were injured.

The contrast with network coverage of the Tea Party movement in 2009 and 2010 is stark. Unlike the violence seen on May Day, Tea Party rallies were actually peaceful. Even so, the morning and evening newscasts on ABC, CBS, and NBC routinely disparaged the conservative protests as “angry” and “nasty,” even suggesting the demonstrations were dangerous or racially motivated.

Meanwhile, real violence perpetrated by the radical left is downplayed as “mostly peaceful.” 

 

Here are transcripts of the May 2 reports on the ABC and CBS morning shows:

GMA
7:07 AM ET

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We’re going to turn now to those May Day protests that turned violent both here at home and around the world, with 25 arrested in Portland, police set on fire in Paris. Our Senior Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas tracking all the latest. Good morning, Pierre.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: “May Day” Protests Turn Violent; 25 Arrested Amid Clashes With Police]

PIERRE THOMAS: Good morning, George. Those mostly peaceful protests involving thousands across the country on May Day turned violent in the northwest, with what police called a riot in Portland, Oregon and nine officers injured in downtown Olympia, Washington. As many as 100 protesters clashed with police in those two cities with smoke bombs, rocks, and bottles being thrown and fires set. A number of businesses were damaged as well. In all, at least 34 people were arrested, with some in Portland wearing black bandannas and ski masks described as anarchists. Those small pockets of violence marred peaceful demonstrations with marchers protesting the Trump administration’s immigration and labor policies, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Right, and the protests in Paris just days ahead of their presidential election. Pierre Thomas, thanks very much.

 

CBS This Morning
7:10 AM ET

CHARLIE ROSE: May Day protests in support of women’s – workers’ rights turned violent in cities around the world. Demonstrators in Paris threw Molotov cocktails at police, four officers were hurt. And in the Pacific northwest, dozens of people were arrested yesterday during clashes with police. John Blackstone shows us how a rally in Oregon’s largest city turned chaotic.

JOHN BLACKSTONE: Police had to resort to so-called flash bangs to try to break up an unruly crowd in Portland, Oregon Monday. The city was forced to shut down its May Day march after the peaceful protest to support labor and immigration rights turned violent.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: May Day Chaos; Dozens Arrested at Violent Rallies in Pacific NW]

Anarchists clashed with officers, trashing police vehicles and some businesses. In the Washington state capital of Olympia, police say dozens of people dressed in black hurled rocks and marbles. There were several arrests.

RONNIE ROBERTS [OLYMPIA POLICE CHIEF]: This is a group here that was very focused as a group to really engage us and try to frankly assault officers.

BLACKSTONE: The protests were just some of the many demonstrations that took place across the country from Los Angeles to Chicago and New York. In perhaps a not-so-subtle nod to that now infamous Pepsi commercial, some demonstrators offered police a can of Pepsi, which in some cases wasn’t so well received.

For the most part, demonstrators came together peacefully, hoping to keep attention on their primary cause.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN [PROTESTER]: I'm here to fight for rights. For rights for workers, rights for immigrants, rights for everybody. Everybody that works, the working class, we need to be heard.  

BLACKSTONE: For CBS This Morning, John Blackstone, San Francisco.


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