“Don’t Do That”: Reporters Tell Police Chief Not To Use The Term “Riot”

We have been discussing the long-standing effort of many in the media to avoid referring to “rioting” in states like Minnesota and Oregon. Even with rioting and looting in full view in the last couple nights, the networks continued to refer to protests or at most “protests turn violent.” It appears that Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon never got the memo. At a press conference, he was scolded for calling the widespread rioting a “riot” by reporters.

Gannon was briefing reporters when he used the “R word.” He was asked by a reporter “What was your decision to issue a dispersal order while they were peacefully protesting in front of the police station?”

Gannon responded by saying “Just so that everybody’s clear, I was front and center at the protest, at the riot.” That led to one person to object “Don’t do that” and another exclaiming “There was no riot.” The objections were reportedly made by the press members.

Gannon was not inclined to yield to the word police:

“It was. The officers that were putting themselves in harm’s way were being pelted with frozen cans of pop, they were being pelted with concrete blocks. And yes, we had our helmets on and we had other protection and gear but an officer was injured, hit in the head with a brick … so we had to make decisions. We had to disperse the crowd because we cannot allow our officers to be harmed.”

The scene was reminiscent of last year when Craig Melvin, an MSNBC host and co-anchor of “Today,” tweeted a “guide” that the images “on the ground” are not to be described as rioting but rather “protests.”  He noted “This will guide our reporting in MN. ‘While the situation on the ground in Minneapolis is fluid, and there has been violence, it is most accurate at this time to describe what is happening there as ‘protests’ — not riots.’” 

Conversely, there is a clear effort in the media to not refer to the Jan. 6th violence as a “riot” as opposed to “an insurrection.” The nomenclature reflects a tight control of how these stories are being framed by the media. The concern is that there is more effort in framing than reporting these stories by some in the media.

There is no question that the violence in Minnesota began as a protest and many engaged in peaceful demonstrations.  However, what occurred over the last two nights was clearly rioting as Chief Gannon stated.  The fact that people felt justified in telling the Chief to conform his own language to fit a narrative is astonishing.

The scolding of Gannon followed another reporter lashing out at Brooklyn Center City Manager Curt Boganey before he was fired.  because it would be “inappropriate.” A reporter immediately challenged him that  “What was inappropriate was killing Daunte Wright… You are working harder to protect a killer cop than a victim of police murder.”  Another reporter declared “racial profiling … happened in this situation. We are standing in solidarity and calling for the firing of this officer.”

There are growing calls for advocacy in journalism. This includes academics rejecting the very concept of objectivity in journalism in favor of open advocacy. Even Columbia Journalism Dean and New Yorker writer Steve Coll denounced how the First Amendment right to freedom of speech was being “weaponized” to protect disinformation. Censorship and advocacy journalism have become articles of faith for many in showing their commitment to racial and political reforms. The result however has been the steady decline in trust for the media.


146 thoughts on ““Don’t Do That”: Reporters Tell Police Chief Not To Use The Term “Riot””

  1. Clearly the Chief, being a LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER, was using the word “riot” as defined under Minnesota (and likely every other state’s) law. As defined by Minnesota law, a riot can consist of as few as three persons “disturb the public peace by intentional act or by unlawful threat to person or property”. Hard to fault a LEO or officer of the court for calling things as they are.defined by the law.

  2. Let me shorten all this: The rioters were a bunch of salt of the earth, mullet-head proles who actually believed the Pussy-Grabber-in-Chiefs claims that the election was fraudulent. They attacked the Capitol with great vengeance and furious anger, committed acts of violence against the Capitol Police who showed tremendous restraint in not mowing down the lot of them.

    The rioters who have been identified – sometimes from their own social media – are in deep kimchi and many are going to jail for quite some time.

    This was an embarrassing display of violent ignorance by the same 50% of America who voted in Trump.

    And Tucker Carlson says what he’s paid to say.

    He’ll jump out of an airplane soon enough.

  3. The media is “a riot” or: a rye otter.
    An otter who drinks rye can speak on CNN.

    1. I might also add, Mr Scudo, I like your choice of icon. It reminds me of the Buster Brown shoe advertisements I liked as a child.

  4. Such terms as “rioting” and “looting” are passé. The cognoscenti now use the terms “socially responsible conflict engagement” and “socially responsible property redistribution,” respectively. Please show proper sensititvity and decorum, and refrain from using such racist terms as “rioting” and “looting” for events in urban areas subject to Democrat Party leadership Those terms are only acceptable in the nonracist context of characterizing certain applicable adverse actions taken by white people or other such privileged undesirables. Thank you.

  5. Turley: “[There] has been the steady decline in trust for the media.”

    I agree. And your employer, Fox News, has led that decline.

    1. Seig Us No Heils Comrade Collective and your socialist scum non opinion with your Pravda-esqe anti Constitutionalist un American Comments

  6. “Even with rioting and looting in full view in the last couple nights, the networks continued to refer to protests or at most “protests turn violent.””

    Can they even be considered journalists anymore? Most legacy news sites are Democrat Pravda.

  7. It is the same thing with the N word. Anybody who lives in the real world knows that there are Blacks and that there are N Words. The only thing they share is skin tone, But we are not supposed to use the Nword because it is racist or something. But actually it is because the word is too descriptive of that type of person. And the whole Critical Race Theory thing will not hold up once you admit OPENLY that Nwords do truly exist. Because Nwords implies a certain lack of culture and morality and is its own reason for why certain people stay in poverty generation after generation – basically trashy behavior.

    This was good article from years back on it – https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a162/esq1206blackessay-108/

    So, the same thing with “riot” – if we do not call it a riot, then it isn’t.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  8. Words are powerful and amazing! For instance, by merely declaring that I am a female, it is so, and you had better accept it as such. And if you question my newly discovered “femininity”, the hall monitors from the social justice warrior patrol will make it their business to find, doxx and destroy you for such heresy.

    I think a similar phenomena exists here. By not using the word “riot”, it magically transforms whatever occurred into an expression of love and joy in the fight for social justice.

    Same with not permitting the discussion of such hateful concepts as black-white IQ difference, crime rates and academic achievement. They just magically fade away into the ocean of social justice and cease to exist.

    This forced use of language reminds me of the old South Pacific cargo cults. And it doesn’t change the reality of what is really happening. Forcing people to say 2 + 2 = 5 does not make it so.

    The emperor has no clothes!


  9. Well if Steve Coll says it it MUST be true. He’s the Dean after all.

        1. Vietnam was a mostly peaceful war compared to WWII or the Civil War if you weren’t there or only relied on a college professors opinion . Little different for we the participants.

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