It’s a sad day for American TV journalism when The Huffington Post is a more honest news outlet than ABC, CBS or NBC. On Tuesday, after Michigan union protests escalated into violence, HuffPo led with several stories, including one headlined: “Fox News Contributor Punched.”
That story was about how Fox News contributor Steven Crowder and others were attacked by union thugs during the protest against the new “right-to-work” law. ABC, CBS and NBC covered the protests but only ABC made mention of police having to deal with protesters. None of them mentioned the attack on Crowder or showed the videos of that attack and the thugs tearing down a tent with people in it, both widely available on the Internet hours before the evening news show broadcast. No network quoted Teamsters head Jimmy Hoffa predicting “civil war” between lawmakers and union members.
NBC anchor Brian Williams referred to it all meekly as “a boisterous day in the state capital.”
According to The Detroit Free Press, three people were arrested and “Capt. Harold Love of the Michigan State Police confirmed police used pepper spray on at least one demonstrator.” The article added that the union protesters “tore down a tent being occupied by Americans for Prosperity, a pro right-to-work group,” while chanting “Tear it down, tear it down.”
On broadcast news, the best they could all agree on was that the union thugs were some form of “angry.” On CBS “Evening News,” correspondent Elaine Quijano explained, “Union workers from across Michigan and other states voiced their anger at the Michigan capital.”
ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer” correspondent Alex Perez did slightly hint at the escalation, but showed nothing at all scary. “The anger boiling over, officers turning to pepper spray to control the crowd, at last 10,000 deep,” he told viewers as one man was shown rubbing his eyes. Anchor Sawyer referred to the law as one that supporters “believe could be an ominous sign for unions and worker paychecks everywhere.”
NBC “Nightly News” mentioned that there were at least police there at the protest, as correspondent Ron Mott admitted protesters operated under the “watchful gaze of police, some in riot gear.”
Even The Washington Post mentioned that “Former Rep. Mark Schauer (D-Mich.) was hit with pepper spray while protesting ‘right to work/ legislation outside the Michigan state capitol on Wednesday.”
None of that appeared on the evening news shows. That’s how reporters can control an agenda. Had journalists’ favorite villain the Tea Partiers beaten a liberal commentator, it would have led every newscast and would be talked about for days. Nor did they want to admit that union leadership was making threats and union thugs were carrying them out in vile and violent fashion.
But network reporters don’t want to show union thugs and conservative victims, especially anyone connected to Fox News. That doesn’t fit with their world view. Ain’t that a punch in the head – or several in Crowder’s case?
Dan Gainor is the Media Research Center's Vice President for Business and Culture. He writes frequently about media for Fox News Opinion. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.