About those 'peaceful protests'...

A great deal of effort is being used to maintain the claim that protests are peaceful.

If an article begins with "The earth is flat," how many people will continue reading?   The reader might conclude that it would be a waste of time and that the author has some serious problems.  Credibility is paramount.  Propagandists know that every story must have at least a kernel of truth.  Progressives appear to be ignoring this axiom.

When MSNBC's Ali Velshi claims, "I want to be clear on how I characterize this.  This is a mostly a protest.  It is not generally speaking unruly," with fires raging behind him, he has no credibility.  Ellen Rosenblum, the Oregon attorney general, claims that the riots in Portland were "perfectly peaceful."  When Representative Jerry Nadler claims rioting in Portland is a myth he has destroyed his credibility.  Snopes has done its best to discredit a report that is unfavorable for the "peaceful protesters."

Richmond Police chief Will Smith held a press conference where he recounted how rioters torched a home with a child inside on May 31.  Smith claimed, "Protesters prohibited us from getting on scene.  We had to force our way to make a clear path for the fire department."  This is a harsh indictment of our "peaceful protesters."  Apparently, there is no need for it to be reported on by the "mainstream" media.  It is also something that needs to be discredited if possible.  This is a job for the Snopes website.

Snopes asks, "Did Protesters Set Fire to a Building with a Child Inside?"  The author points to "conflicting accounts" of what happened.  She concludes that the claim is "unproven."  Snopes zeroed in on an article in what is described as "the right-leaning news outlet The Washington Times."  The Times article quotes Chief Smith making the claim that "protesters" attempted to block the fire department.  Snopes then gives Richmond fire lieutenant Christopher Armstrong's account. 

According to Armstrong, "demonstrators" did not set fire to the house.  He related how a car fire spread to the house.  There is no mention of how the car caught on fire or how close to the house it was.  If demonstrators set the car on fire, and it was parked close to the house, it is reasonable to assume that it would spread to the house.  Armstrong disagrees with Smith's claim that protesters used vehicles to stop the fire truck from proceeding to the blaze.  He claimed that fire equipment was slowed en route by burning trash cans.  Who could possibly be burning trash in the road?

Snopes then quotes Armstrong's email:

There was a single protestor initially impeding our response however multiple individuals (amount undetermined) joined the single protestor in stopping the truck from after it was already stopped. At least two of individuals threw objects at the fire truck, shortly thereafter they all ran past the fire truck as Richmond Police Officers came around the corner as a response for our request for help.

Snopes concludes, "Because the Fire Department and the police chief provided different versions of events for reasons yet unknown to us, we rate this clam 'Unproven.'"  Many situations can be labeled fake news if every "t" is not crossed and every "i" not dotted.  The bottom line of this story is that there was a house fire.  There was a child in the house, and rioters attempted to block the fire department from reaching the fire.  I determined that Snopes did not prove its case because it concluded "this clam 'Unproven.'"  Where did this clam come from?  

John Dietrich is a freelance writer and the author of The Morgenthau Plan: Soviet Influence on American Postwar Policy (Algora Publishing).  He has a Master of Arts degree in international relations from St. Mary's University.  He is retired from the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.  He is featured on the BBC's program "Things We Forgot to Remember:" Morgenthau Plan and Post-War Germany.

Image credit: Fox News via shareable YouTube, screen shot.

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