Last month, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo raised more than a few eyebrows when he argued on his show that protests do not have to be “peaceful,” despite the U.S. Constitution specifying that citizens have the right to “peaceably” assemble.
“Now, too many see the protests as the problem,” he said “No, the problem is what forced your fellow citizens to take to the streets – persistent and poisonous inequities and injustice. And please, show me where it says that protests are supposed to be polite and peaceful. Because I can show you that outraged citizens are the ones who have made America what she is and led to any major milestones.”
“Be honest, this is not a tranquil time. They’re not here to make power, or you or me, comfortable. They’re here to yell, criticize, blame, and shame. You don’t have to like it. But why not focus on remembering the reason for the pain that fuels their purpose?” he continued. “Police are the ones who are required to be peaceful, to de-escalate, to remain calm. They are, in fact, trained to do exactly that. So, when one kneels on someone’s neck for a long time and other police don’t stop obvious deadliness, that’s the problem.”
Cuomo said this at the height of the riots, during which cities across America were burning at the hands of violent Antifa and BLM activists. Nearly two months later, Cuomo said on Monday that he was quoting the now-deceased civil rights icon John Lewis.
“Now, I was borrowing from Brother Lewis when I said, ‘Who says protests are supposed to be peaceful and quiet and polite?'” Cuomo said. “I know it says ‘peaceful’ in the First Amendment, but if you just go in and sing your songs and go home, nothing changes. And that’s what he was encouraging.”
As noted by Fox News, Cuomo went on to differentiate between “good trouble” and “bad trouble,” arguing that the latter is rioting to hurt and destroy while the former is the Black Lives Matter movement. He also said that focusing on the riots over the protests is “bad trouble at work.”
Cuomo and other members of the mainstream media have repeatedly emphasized that the BLM and Antifa riots are just a small fraction of what the protests actually are. For this, many critics have accused the media of a double standard. Fox News host Laura Ingraham argued on Monday that the media would not be so charitable if, perhaps, riots frequently erupted in the streets when pro-lifers led a protest outside of an abortion clinic.
“Imagine if thousands of pro-life Christians decided to surround a federal courthouse in Texas where pro-abortion rights cases had recently been decided,” she said on “The Ingraham Angle.” “Now, imagine if some of these protesters were peaceful, but others came to cause real trouble. Imagine if they threw bottles of cement, bricks, and shot fireworks. Imagine if they used lasers at federal officials who were protecting the building. Imagine they made Molotov cocktails and set cars on fire and that they did this night after night after night.”