This is the top story from our daily newsletter published on November 16, 2020. To have this and more delivered directly to your inbox scroll down and enter your email or click here to sign up. Photo credit: Ted Eytan from Washington, DC, USA CC 2.0
Top Story: “Tens of thousands of people clad in red, white, and blue rallied and marched in support of outgoing President Donald Trump in Washington on Saturday afternoon to protest supposed voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election,” a trio from USA Today reported. “But as night fell, skirmishes between protesters and counterprotesters broke out across the city.” Here’s how the altercations were covered by both sides:
On the Right: Stephen Sorace of Fox News’ news team said, “In scenes captured on video, small groups of Trump supporters who attempted to enter the area around Black Lives Matter Plaza, about a block from the White House, were confronted by several hundred anti-Trump demonstrators who had gathered there. Trump supporters who approached the area were harassed, doused with water, and saw their MAGA hats and pro-Trump flags snatched and burned, while counter-protesters cheered. Videos show anti-Trump demonstrators shouting at families, sucker-punching people in the street, and harassing an elderly woman carrying a Trump flag. Two young Trump supporters were reportedly doused with liquid substances and hit with eggs, a video showed. In another clip, a protester can be seen rushing up behind a woman – who was reportedly a Trump supporter – and punching her in the head before running off. Other videos show counter-protesters marching in the streets and tossing what appeared to be fireworks into an outdoor seating area of a restaurant while diners were seated.”
On the Left: Caleb Howe of Mediaite characterized the combative climate slightly differently. Howe wrote: “Supporters of President Donald Trump protesting in Washington on Saturday spotted a live MSNBC report taking place, and quickly approached and began shouting ‘fake news’ at reporter Ellison Barber, who became alarmed as they pursued her and her crew. Barber was reporting from the street, describing the scene and saying that the event was organized by The Proud Boys.” Barber said: “The crowd here is chanting ‘fake news, fake news… Not fans of ours, as you can tell. Which, that’s fine as long as they give us a little space… It’s hostile here, at least for us,” she continued. “They’re following us and chasing us as we walk further back.” Howe wrote: “As she finished her report she said ‘this gives you a sense of the crowd here. They have no intention of accepting the election results. And as you can tell from the jeering right now, not fans of ours, either.”
Flag This: It’s actually heartbreaking to highlight both accounts above but the point is to demonstrate the role echo-chambers play in our perception of reality. Who attacked who was the question, and based on the news you consume, the answer will vary. This is so insanely detrimental to our national discourse that it’s no wonder people from different political stripes are having a hard time engaging in respectful discussions with one another. Furthermore, social media allows both news organizations and individuals to carefully curate clips from events like these to re-confirm existing narratives. This is just one example of why the partisan divide feels increasingly intense right now.