Concerning the coverage of violence in Portland!


The (black) police chief's tale:  Exactly one week ago, we asked an award-winning question.

We asked if the Post and the Times, and our own cable stars, might perhaps be understating the amount of violence in Portland.

More specifically, we asked about the amount of violence being committed by our own anti-Trump forces. We asked if we liberals might perhaps be receiving a sanitized version of that.

Yesterday, the New York Times gave the Portland police chief his say. In our view, the Times did the right thing when it published his essay—and, so far, staffers haven't even said they feel unsafe as a result!

Who the heck is the Portland police chief? His name is Chuck Lovell—and he even says that he's black.

For ourselves, we weren't physically present in Portland to see what was going on. But the Times was right to give Lovell his say. After briefly clearing his throat, he began his account  like this:
LOVELL (8/4/20): ...Portland has now faced weeks of extreme difficulties and drew intense national attention after federal officers were deployed here.
As police officers, our duty is to uphold the rights of anyone to assemble peacefully and engage in free speech. But over the months of protests, a concerning dynamic developed. People protested peacefully, while others engaged in dangerous activities that could have resulted in injury and even death.
The night of May 29 was a pivotal moment for our city. Hundreds of people, in a coordinated effort, attacked the Justice Center, which includes our Central Precinct station and the Multnomah County Detention Center. They broke into the building, destroyed the first-floor interior and lit fires. Afterward, there was looting and destruction downtown.
Yet in the following weeks, thousands of people demonstrated peacefully in an awesome expression of First Amendment rights. The Police Bureau had little to no interaction with members of this group, because they did not allow criminal activity to impede their message.
May 29 was a long way back, but Lovell's account doesn't stop there. We weren't physically present in Portland. But the chief says these things occurred:
LOVELL: On one night, for example, individuals screwed the doors of our North Precinct station shut, barricaded other entrances and lit the station on fire with people inside. Nearby businesses, owned by people of color, were damaged and looted. On other nights, there were multiple attempts to breach the Justice Center. Other law enforcement facilities were targeted, including the union building, which was broken into and had fires set within. 
Violence and destruction have also been directed at the federal courthouse, which sits next to the Justice Center. The president sent additional federal agents to Portland, and our city became national news. 
During these events, our agency has responded to assaults, stabbings, shootings, people with guns and the stockpiling of explosives. Shooting off commercial-grade fireworks and mortars is not peaceful protest. We are fortunate that no one has been killed. 
We're not sure that our tribal news orgs tended to cite  these events. Meanwhile, please note the importance of one key phrase—<i>commercial-grade</i> fireworks.

Our tribal news orgs tend to drop the term "commercial-grade." The omission tends to make attacks of this type sound amusing and twee.

That disappeared term can make quite a difference! When we discussed this topic last week, we cited what an AP reporter says he saw, late at night, while inside the federal building:
BALSAMO AND FLACCUS (7/27/20): Thirty minutes later, someone fired a commercial-grade firework inside the fence. Next came a flare and then protesters began using an angle grinder to eat away at the fence. A barrage of items came whizzing into the courthouse: rocks, cans of beans, water bottles, potatoes and rubber bouncy balls that cause the agents to slip and fall. 
The [commercial-grade] firework came whizzing over the fence so fast that the agent didn’t have time to move. 
It exploded with a boom, leaving his hearing deadened and bloody gashes on both forearms. Stunned, with help from his cohorts, he stripped to his boxer shorts and a black T-shirt so his wounds could be examined and photographed for evidence. 
He told his fellow agents he was more worried about his hearing than about the gouges and burns on his arms. 
By the end of the night, five other federal agents would be injured, including another who got a concussion when he was hit in the head with a commercial-grade firework. One agent was hospitalized. Several agents have lingering vision problems from the lasers.
These commercial-grade fireworks today! All in all, that didn't sound very twee.

Even before we read that AP report, we were beginning to get the impression that reports of violence were being sanitized by our tribal orgs. As we say that, remember the question we asked:

We weren't asking if you thought attacks of that type were a good idea. We weren't asking if you thought the "pigs" were getting exactly what they deserved.

We were asking  a different question. We were asking if you thought the Post and the Times, and our cable news orgs, were fully reporting this conduct.

More and more, the Age of Trump has become an age of total press corps tribalization.

We all know that their news orgs have lways behaved this way. More and more, we get the impression that our news orgs. are behaving the very same way.

Tomorrow: Same general idea!


  1. "and he even says that he's black."

    Must Somerby say this with a snide implication that there is any doubt?

    1. Somerby is a racism denier.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Under the tribal narrative that we must abolish the police because all cops are KKKlan, he's snidely making the point that very few of our tribe are allowed to know that there are black cops. In fact there are 108,000 of them that we woke white liberals must strive to make unemployed, once we finish with our immediate task of burning down all the police stations.

    4. Everybody is aware there are black cops.

      We do not need an army of militarized cops. We do not need to spend over half of our city's budget on cops and their weapons. We do not need cops but for the rarest of situations. The idea is to replace armed cops and their aggression, and yes often racism, with trained experts that know how to appropriately and maturely handle the needs of society.

    5. “We do not need cops but for the rarest of situations. The idea is to replace armed cops with trained experts.”

      Great! We'd all love to see your plan. It would be nice to listen to these mature experts try to sell such a plan, too bad you decided that we’ll have to wait until you're done burning down all the police buildings and federal courthouses.

    6. Various plans have been proposed and can be found if one is curious.

      Protest is one of the processes through which progress is made, long a tradition in this country.

      Somerby does not like protest, but what Somerby does is not effective, while protests are.

    7. Gloucom X,
      Thoughts and prayers for the buildings.
      Discussing police buildings and federal courthouses being burned down is subject to politicization right now.
      Better to have a cogent discussion about it at some other unspecified time.

    8. "Thoughts and prayers for the buildings."
      Cute, did you come up that all by yourself?

      It's your ACAB cult that's obsessed with the presence of certain buildings and with destroying the evil within. Good luck with that. Attacking police buildings and the cops defending them into the wee hours of the night has never led to any "progress" that I am aware of. But I suppose there could be a first time.

      We do know that the student riots in California in the 60s led to the election of Ronald Reagan in 1966 and that the rioting and the protests in the 60s led to the election of Nixon in 1968 and his landslide reelection in 1972.

      There's no doubt Trump is hoping your cult will intensify its violent and destructive ACAB obsession. If you're lucky, you may even find yourself in a Trump campaign ad. Don't forget to smile for the camera!

    9. "Cute, did you come up that all by yourself?"
      Yes, thanks. It's a twist on a saying from the brave gun-humpers, who protected us all from the dust bunnies under their beds, when Barr sent government agents to Portland to terrorize American citizens.

  2. Here is the paragraph that Somerby does not highlight (from the police chief's op-ed):

    "Yet in the following weeks, thousands of people demonstrated peacefully in an awesome expression of First Amendment rights. The Police Bureau had little to no interaction with members of this group, because they did not allow criminal activity to impede their message."

    What you choose to highlight speak volumes about your intentions.

  3. Somerby wonders whether our news orgs are fully reporting the conduct that is.. being reported by “our” news orgs, the AP and the New York Times.

    And he gives no examples of “our” news orgs covering something up or not fully reporting on it.

  4. "Our tribal news orgs tend to drop the term "commercial-grade." The omission tends to make attacks of this type sound amusing and twee."

    Then Somerby goes on to quote an AP reporter who included the term "commercial grade".

    Nowhere does Somerby discuss the very important issue of who is committing the violence. By leaving that discussion out, he implies that it is the protesters doing this stuff. By complaining that the tribal press is suppressing discussion of the violence, Somerby implies that it is the protesters committing the violent acts. Somerby does not talk about the many arrests of alt-right groups attempting to enter Portland in order to provoke violence and participate in it, hoping to provoke a civil war. Somerby does not discuss the arrests made of those committing violence, who those people are and what their motives are. He instead asserts, with no evidence whatsoever, contrary to the op-ed he quotes, that accounts of violence are being suppressed in discussions of the protests. He never considers that those accounts are not being discussed in reports about the protests because the protesters are not committing that violence -- it is other groups, people who are not BLM protesters, who are not interested in racial justice but rather in white supremacy and discrediting the BLMers, who are engaging in those tactics.

    It is fine if Somerby wants to focus on the violence, but he needs to be fair about who is doing what, and he is not fair at all when he implies that this is BLM violence that is being omitted from press reporting.

    And none of this justifies what Trump did by sending in troops to suppress legitimate protests, abducting protesters off the street who were engaging in no violence, taking them to undisclosed locations and failing to identify themselves or their organizations. That is police state activity and it has no place in a free nation, no matter what the provocation. If agents cannot tell who is a peaceful protester and who is a violent extremist, they have no business on the scene.

  5. NBC reported today on the violence being directed against public health officials, especially women who hold such jobs. They are receiving death threats, being followed home from their work, having rocks thrown at them, and being harassed by those who don't believe in science (e.g., the right wing). Their male colleagues are not being targeted the same way. These women are requiring security details to protect them from "contracts" being put out on them, to the point that they are quitting and retiring. Others are being fired for resisting the desire to "open up" by county commissioners and other political bodies.

    There is more violence in our society generally because people are angry over what is happening to them. This is reflected in domestic abuse and child abuse statistics, arrests for violent crimes up to and including murder, gun sales, and this public mob violence.

    Somerby never seems to care about what is going on in our society, but perhaps the reactions of the press are related to a desire to defuse animosities fueled by fear and anger. Somerby has no desire to investigate whether all accounts of violence are being suppressed by reporters; he just wants to attack the press for being tribal. Perhaps this is the way he expresses his own fear and anger. In any case, his attacks on the press are not helpful in a democracy which relies on faith in a fair and even-handed media. Further, his claims seem exaggerated beyond what is demonstrated by his paltry examples.

    When we hear someone like Somerby on a rant, we all need to ask "to what end" does this complaint lead? Somerby never seems to ask that about anything he considers.

    1. Free floating fear and anger is being targeted against specific figures because of the failure of leadership of our president. Instead of asking for unity in a fight against this virus, he is scapegoating and undermining those who are working to fight the pandemic. This provides an example that encourages citizens to do the same. People are more afraid because they see that there is no one capable of leadership at the top. They feel abandoned, on their own, with no one to help with their current and feared problems. They ask "what will happen to us?" and Trump shrugs and says "It is what it is...". If the press wants to bring people together instead of dividing them, they are perhaps the only ones reacting that way.

    2. Somerby has no desire to investigate whether all accounts of violence are being suppressed by reporters;

      His "desire" as expressed in the header of his blog is to highlight the failings of the mainstream press, So, no, he doesn't plan to investigate all accounts of violence.

      he just wants to attack the press for being tribal.

      Now, you're gettin' it.

      Perhaps this is the way he expresses his own fear and anger.

      Perhaps. How could you tell? Perhaps this is the way he expresses his dissatisfaction with the press.

      In any case, his attacks on the press are not helpful in a democracy which relies on faith in a fair and even-handed media.

      I'd say he would agree with you on the importance of the press.

      Further, his claims seem exaggerated beyond what is demonstrated by his paltry examples.

      Perhaps you could demonstrate that what seems to you actually obtains.

      When we hear someone like Somerby on a rant, we all need to ask "to what end" does this complaint lead?

      Who's "we," Sparky? Did you and your cohort of Anonymous Ignoramuses take another vote?

      I don't need ask "to what end?" I just ask whether TDH is correct or not.

    3. Correct about what? He is just asking questions.

    4. Well, to be fair, he is also making insinuations, casting aspersions, and then saying “anything is possible.”

    5. Exactly my point, Somerby is coy about his narrative and as such gives plausible deniability to his fanboy. Dangerous, were he influential.

    6. Somerby doesn't want people believing everything they read, but I don't think I need Somerby's advice. For instance, I certainly don't believe his blog is to highlight the failings of the mainstream press.

  6. "We all know that their news orgs have lways behaved this way. More and more, we get the impression that our news orgs. are behaving the very same way."

    Ha-ha, dear Bob, thanks for the laughs.

    If by "their news orgs" you mean Joseph Goebbels', then yes, and it's well beyond "more and more" - you're already there.

  7. Would the Times have published that op-ed if the Portland Police Chief were white?

    Has the News section of the Times described the violence the same way a this op-ed did?

    Conservatives have long known about the violence, including various specific details, because we read reports from local, independent reporter Andy Ngo. Ngo is even non-white, but he's conservative, so his reports are ignored by the liberal and mainstream media. BTW Ngo is the reporter who was beaten up by Antifa and put in the hospital a little while ago. That's another event that received less media coverage than it deserved.

    1. Conservatives know about the violence because they are perpetrating a bunch of it.

      How does Ngo know that it was antifa who beat him up? Antifa is not an actual organization and doesn't exist except in the minds of conservatives. Some guys beat him up and he has labeled them antifa.

    2. @3:03 the liberal Vox reports Ngo's attackers as Antifa

      I answered my second question by looking at the Times search engine using "Portland" and "violence". Based on the headlines that come up, there's very little reporting of Portland violence in the news section of the NY Times.

    3. Why would there be in the NY Times? Did you try any local Portland newspapers, where local crime is reported?

      Antifa doesn't exist as an organization or an entity. It is made up by the right. He couldn't have been attacked by a member of an imaginary organization.

      Here is what your source says: "It was an attack by counterprotesters on the conservative journalist Andy Ngo that reportedly sent him to the hospital."

      It wasn't Antifa who attacked him, but (their term) counterprotesters who were against the Proud Boys, an alt-right group holding a rally.

      Later in the article, Mark Bray (who studies Antifa) is quoted: "Antifa does not have a central command structure, and its members are typically anonymous."
      In other words, it doesn't exist as an organization and it has no identifiable membership. Earlier, Beauchamp argues that the right has invented Antifa in order to say that the left has its militant wing just like the right does. But just because an occasional anarchist or communist dresses in black and smashes something up doesn't make him an antifa member -- he is a kid engaging in violence at a rally or protest. The remainder of the article is about how the left and right have used the incident for their own purposes.

      Try the Portland Tribune.

    4. DinC, are you listening to yourself? The event “received less media coverage than it deserved”, but you found a whole article about it in the “liberal” media. Damn that liberal media and their failure to report stuff like this..

    5. If a liberal reporter had been sent to the hospital by a right wing group, that would have been big national news, and deservedly so.

    6. The Andy Ngo incident received a lot of media coverage.

      Andy Ngo is a Republican grifter that supports violent Republican groups like the Proud Boys and Patriot Player. When a Patriot Player knocked out a woman protestor and put her in the hospital, Andy Ngo tweeted the footage and doxxed the woman. This was not long after a violent Republican group beat a protestor and put him in the hospital. Later Andy Ngo put himself in the middle of counter protestors to violent Republican groups, took a grazing punch to his eye and got doused with milkshakes. His injuries were minor, and a few days later he was on all the cable news shows, no marks on his face but a request for funding that wound generating $200k for himself.

    7. Andy Ngo is not a reporter, he is a professional instigator and grifter.

    8. The media (and the world) need way more pictures and videos of Andy Ngo being punched in the face.

    9. David belongs to the Church of the Perpetually Aggrieved Conservatives. He has to be perpetually aggrieved else who would not be able to justify the complete and total corruption of his party enabling them to maintain the tyranny of the Minority controlling our lives.

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