National Media Gets the Story Wrong

If you’re learning about what’s been going on in Portland, Oregon (or elsewhere in the U.S.) from the mainstream media, you have absolutely no idea.

On Twitter, someone asked if this is how the national media always operates? “Swoops in, gets the story wrong, pats itself on the back, leaves the city upset, and the national audience polarized?”

My response was, TBH, yes.

I worked for small local papers across U.S. in the late ’70s and early ’80s and repeatedly saw the same thing happen, then.

I still remember standing next to a UPI reporter at a press conference outside a coal mine where miners had died because of company negligence.

When I returned to the newsroom and saw what that reporter written come over the wire, I wondered where the hell he’d been. I saw him standing next to me, but what he wrote bore no resemblance to what I saw or heard.

The same thing is happening today, only now we have multiple video records that repute the mainstream media narrative (and in that I include the “local” television stations and newspaper that are owned by mega corps and have no actual stake here).

If you watch the videos produced by the independent journalists and the reporters for the Portland Mercury, Willamette Week,, Street Roots, etc. you will see a completely different story than you’ll find in the mainstream media. The latter parrots police lies and lets the mayor stage a campaign stunt about how awful the federal troops invading the city are while ignoring the local media attempts to get him to answer for the fact the there is nothing those troops have done (so far) that local cops weren’t already doing (and still do occasionally).

So before you draw any conclusions about the protesters, watch a few minutes of videos showing soldiers firing tear gas canisters, flash bang grenades, and various impact weapons at a line of Moms linking arms, standing in the street, chanting “Black Lives Matter”. And, remember that the mainstream media (and the administration) are editing that video to show you what they want you to see.

The people in the street are fighting for your right to not live in a fascist state. Why aren’t you out there with them (or at least sending money and supplies to support them)?

Rotten Apples

People still keep saying a “few bad apples”, forgetting it figuratively and literally only takes one bad apple to spoil an entire barrel.

There are no “good” cops. Because if there were, they would report and testify against the “few” bad cops. They don’t. They work to make sure those “few bad apples” are protected from prosecution. On the rare occasion they are punished, that information is deliberately hidden from the public, any settlements with their victims are paid by taxpayers not the offenders, and because the information is hidden those “bad apples” get a job in another jurisdiction.

Policing is historically a white supremacist institution. It evolved from slave patrols and the Pinkerton security guards hired to protect rich people’s property and beat immigrant workers into submission. Much of our criminal code was written specifically to put Black and other people of color in prison where they could be used as slave labor.

The “War On Drugs”, for just one example, was specifically invented to imprison Black people and Hippies. But, white folks with money (and/or medical insurance) can always get drugs and rarely, if ever, get arrested for using them.

In reality, the entire carceral system, the for-profit prison pipeline, the criminal code, etc. need to be abolished for Black Lives to Matter in this country. Police reform has been tried. Reform does not work. The only way to address the white supremacy on which this country was founded is to abolish the carceral state and start over.

Our local paper prints the police logs. Lately, I’ve been reading them and checking off all the ways the calls could be handled better if anyone other than armed police had answered them: mental health professionals, mediators, social workers, traffic safety patrol, etc.

Even larger crimes, are not stopped or solved by the police for the most part. They show up after the fact and file a report. The evidence is gathered by evidence technicians and forensic specialists. The cops don’t “investigate” anything. They constantly post notices that are “asking for the public’s help in identifying the suspect from …” or “looking for information about …”

I’ve watched livestreams of the protests in Portland for the last six weeks. Every single time, the protesters (kids, most of them) are at worst mischievous (moving fences around, painting court and police buildings with graffiti, throwing dildos, pig food, and water bottles at cops). But most of the time, they’re listening to speeches, chanting, eating, and dancing.

Then the cops come out and attack them, shooting “less than lethal” weapons directly at them (including at their heads); pulling their masks down and spraying pepper in their eyes and mouths; beating them with batons and their fists; throwing them onto concrete curbs with enough force to break bones including spines and skulls.

The cops fill the streets with tear gas (a weapon banned for use against civilians in other countries) which makes people cough (during a pandemic), cry, vomit, etc. Tear gas can result in long-term major health problems, but the cops are filling the homes, offices, and cars of nearby residents and employees with that gas, and spraying it into cars that just happen to be driving by.

It also should be noted that most of the protesters wear their masks most of the time (and there are no indications the protests are causing community spread) while many of the cops refuse to wear masks.

The cops attack people who are obeying the orders they just gave. The cops have been photographed slashing the tires of those who are just there to feed others, throwing away food that was being donated to feed the hungry and homeless (who are also suffering from being tear gassed while they sleep), and stealing the supplies that volunteers were using to keep people safe including hand sanitizer and masks.

Every night the cops ignore court orders, police bureau policies and procedures, and the law itself including violating rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. They operate as if they were the Gestapo, specifically attacking reporters and legal observers, knocking cameras out of people’s hands or spraying paint on them to avoid being photographed and filmed. They cover their badge numbers and refuse to wear name tags so they can’t be identified. They have arrested people just for calling out their names (because they recognized them from previous encounters). They will fight (and have always fought) against reform. They must be eliminated or no one who is Black, Indigenous, Latiné, Asian, Muslim, female, or LGBTQ+ will ever be safe.

Portland Under Occupation

Thanks to the “violent anarchist” ravings of the acting head of the Department of Homeland Security appointed by the Fascist in the White House, the so-called mainstream media has discovered that Portland is under occupation.

Hostile federal government troops have joined the local police in beating, tear gassing, kidnapping, and arresting protesters, reporters, legal observers, non-profit groups working to feed the hungry and houseless, and random passers by.

Headed to Portland. Going to sort out what in the world is happening there...As someone who worked as a reporter for local newspapers (back in the days before google and cell phones), who watched national media pervert, steal, and twist local stories, I can guarantee the national media won’t “sort out” what’s happening here.

They’ll come in with the prejudices of outsiders who’ve listened to government lies and they will become part of the problem. (Associated Press has already messed up last night’s story by conflating two separate events, miles apart, into one.)

Meanwhile, the local reporters who have risked their lives every night for very little (if any) compensation to document the #PoliceViolence have had their videos and words stolen by mainstream media that twists the facts to satisfy their corporate masters.

Anyone who wants to come to Portland to cover what’s going on, needs to reach out to the local reporters who’ve been on the ground in the occupied war zone that’s now Portland, to learn truths before they attempt to write about it. Be sure to bring your gas mask.