CNN changed a chyron during a segment early this week on the violent protests in Wisconsin over the weekend, removing the word “violent” from the chyron—even though the protests were, in fact, violent.
During a live broadcast on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer,” the network aired the following chyron:
8PM CURFEW ORDERED AFTER VIOLENT PROTESTS OVER POLICE SHOOTING OF UNARMED BLACK MAN IN WISCONSIN
Several seconds later the chyron was taken down and was then put back up on the screen after the network removed the word “violent” from it:
8PM CURFEW ORDERED AFTER PROTESTS OVER POLICE SHOOTING OF UNARMED BLACK MAN IN WISCONSIN
Someone at CNN didn’t like the violent protests in Wisconsin being described as “violent” (observe the chyrons) pic.twitter.com/oDN5V2muUN
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) August 25, 2020
A New York Times column from earlier this year, after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, argued that when protests remain peaceful, they lead to progressive reforms, but, when they turn violent riots, they end up leading to calls for law and order—to the benefit of Republicans.
The protests had turned into a violent riot by that point because the state’s governor, Tony Evers, had announced that he was deploying the National Guard to Kenosha:
Pursuant to Section 321.39(1)(a) of the Wisconsin Statutes, the governor ordered into state active duty members of the Wisconsin National Guard deemed necessary to support to local law enforcement and first responders in Kenosha. Any Guard members called to active duty may only be used to provide support to local law enforcement and to protect critical infrastructure and cultural institutions necessary for the well-being of the community, and to provide support to first responders such as the Kenosha Fire Department. The National Guard may not be used to impede the ability of people to peacefully protest or impede the ability of the media to report on this situation.
“I know folks across our state will be making their voices heard in Kenosha and in communities across Wisconsin. Every person should be able to express their anger and frustration by exercising their First Amendment rights and report on these calls to action without any fear of being unsafe,” Evers said in a statement. “This is a limited mobilization of the National Guard focused on supporting the needs of local first responders to protect critical infrastructure, such as utilities and fire stations, and to ensure Kenoshians are able to assemble safely.”
Maj. Gen. Paul Knapp, Wisconsin’s adjutant general, added: “Serving our fellow Wisconsin citizens and assisting civil authorities during times of need is one of core missions in the National Guard. Our Citizen Soldiers and Airmen are well-trained and prepared to assist in any way we can in an effort to preserve public safety.”