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Local news once again fails to provide substantive coverage of White Supremacist groups and those opposing them

October 25, 2020

The local news coverage today of the demonstrations in Allendale, Michigan were indicative of how the news media functions and how it fails the public in terms of providing people with the necessary and critical information to participate in public life.

Look at how MLive framed this story in their headline, Lots of guns, but simultaneous West Michigan rallies by opposing groups stays peaceful.

This headline is not only misleading, it provides no real context. Sure the article, provides perspectives from both demonstrations, those with the American Patriot Council and those with Justice for Black Lives. The article also presents information centering around the person of Ryan D. Kelley, the founder of the American Patriot Council, who has organized anti-lockdown protests in Lansing and Grand Rapids, along with pro-Confederate statue gatherings in Allendale. At several of those events, there were people in attendance that were also arrested in the plot to kidnap Gov. Whitmer. The American Patriot Council an Ryan D. Kelley are claiming that they have not connection to those who plotted the action against Gov. Whitmer, but it is clear that at a minimum, the American Patriot Council has created a climate that has nurtured the anti-government actions taken by those that attempted to kidnap the Governor.

However, the problem with the MLive article is that it provides no context for why Justice for Black Lives (JBL) asked for armed security people to come to Allendale on Saturday. The main reason is that JBL heard that the American Patriot Council had invite people from Detroit and other communities, specifically other armed groups to attend their march on Saturday, thus JBL wanted to make sure that people would feel safe by having their own security people in place.

The local TV news stations also played up the whole – there were two opposing views, but no major problems – angle for their coverage. WOOD TV8 focused on Ryan D. Kelley an the calls to have him remove from the Allendale Planning Commission, with a brief mention about demands to remove the Confederate statue in the park.

The online post from WZZM 13 gives a misleading headline, which read, Nationwide Freedom March in Allendale brings out city and county neighbors with opposing views.

The channel 13 story also centers around the controversy with Ryan D. Kelley, with marginal reference to sign and flag differences in the two protests. However, to say that this was a nationwide freedom march is a bit misleading. The American Patriot Council claimed that there were other similar marches happening in a few other communities in the country, but WZZM 13 doesn’t verify this. Also, it wasn’t so much a freedom march as it was a Pro-Trump rally. Lastly, channel 13 stated that both sidesemphasized the same points: faith, government, and the right to freedom of speech.” I’m not sure what was said at the American Patriot Council organized event, but at the Justice for Black Lives event the major themes were on justice, voting, removing Kelley from office, White Supremacy, Colonialism and solidarity. 

WXMI 17 was the worst, in that they had information posted about what was going to happen with both protests, with inflated numbers for the so-called Freedom March, and then they sent you a video on the two rallies that was unedited, with little commentary and poor audio.

Once again the local news media has failed to provide substantive coverage of current events and to present information that would expose hate groups. This is a point I made two weeks ago, about how the news media has been complicit with White Supremacists, because of how they have reported on issues over the past 6 months. The coverage of yesterday’s actions in Allendale, only confirms that dynamic.

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