The Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) area of downtown Seattle, so named and occupied by armed “anarchists” and protesters, has been touted in local and mainstream media as a peaceful protest conducted in a carnival atmosphere. But it has turned out to be the opposite.
Police abandoned their station in the CHOP area after being mobbed by the protesters, thus allowing the group to declare it a “police-free” zone.
On the official instruction of the Seattle mayor, police on Wednesday, July 1, entered the zone to reclaim it.
During the last several weeks as CHOP had taken control of the area, there were two murders, an alleged rape, and numerous shootings.
“CHOP violently seized six blocks of downtown Seattle, guarded the area they stole with semi-automatic rifles and appointed a leader who called himself a warlord and the media spun it as a fun time with ‘free snacks,’” Washington Times columnist Tim Young told Fox News.
“That’s as insane as saying Boko Haram was just trying to start a dating service when they kidnapped nearly 300 women in Nigeria a few years ago,” Young added. “And those liberal outlets probably still can’t figure out why people call them fake news.”
“CHOP has become lawless and brutal,” Police Chief Carmen Best said on Wednesday in a written statement. “Four shootings—two fatal—robberies, assaults, violence, and countless property crimes have occurred in this several block area.”
A Seattle Times reporter, Evan Bush, helped to create an impression of an ambient atmosphere when he penned on June 10, “Free snacks at the No-Cop Co-op. Free gas masks from some guy’s sedan. Free speech at the speaker’s circle, where anyone could say their piece. A free documentary movie—Ava DuVernay’s “13th”—showing after dark,” adding, “Perhaps most important to demonstrators, the neighborhood core was free of uniformed police.”
Bush went on to describe the area as “Seattle’s quirky, lefty Capitol Hill,” even commenting on the delightful aromas arising from curbside cooking, “The streets smelled like the Fourth of July, as people seared hot dogs on curbside grills,” Bush wrote.
The next day, the Seattle Times backed up those comments by commenting the area had a “festival-like atmosphere,” with poets and street performers, and the paper reported about the free snacks and pleasant smells inside the zone, known as CHAZ at the time, on June 10.
“It’s obvious to media consumers that journalists put protesters above property. It remains to be seen how they would greet an occupation of the Seattle Times. It probably depends on which political agenda you’re pushing,” NewsBusters executive editor Tim Graham told Fox News.
“It’s also obvious that to cover something when you can glorify it as a ‘street festival’ and then stop covering it when people die, underlines why people dislike the fakery of liberal ‘news’ reporting,” Graham added, referencing three recent NewsBusters studies as evidence.
While the Seattle Times celebrated CHOP on a local level, some mainstream news media went even further.
“The networks had been actively trying to protect the encampment’s radicals from criticism. First, they turned a blind eye altogether, and when they had no choice but to cover the ‘Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone,’ as it was called at the time, they downplayed the craziness and provided cover,” Media Research Center news analyst Nicholas Fondacaro wrote after studying coverage of CHOP on ABC, NBC, and CBS’s newscasts.
“When the shooting and killing started, they tried to cover it up. They refused to report on the black teen who was shot and killed in the zone last Saturday. And there was no mention of the Sunday or Tuesday shooting at any point during the week,” Fondacaro wrote. ”It was those shootings that were the impetus for the businesses and residents to band together and sue the city for not protecting their rights and property.”
Seattle Mayor Durkan announced last Monday, June 29, that officials would end the police-free zone—however, CNN and MSNBC didn’t bother to report on it.
The news broke during the 7 p.m. ET hour, and Durkan said the violence displayed by some of the protesters was a far cry from the message thousands of protesters were trying to get across about police brutality and racial discrimination.
CNN’s 7 p.m. program, “Erin Burnett Outfront” made no mention of the news as it was happening.
CNN continued to ignore the news during its primetime programming, as there was no coverage on back-to-back editions of “Anderson Cooper 360” from 8-10 p.m. ET or during Don Lemon’s “CNN Tonight,” which aired from 10-midnight ET, reported Fox News.
MSNBC completely ignored CHOP altogether from 7-midnight on the day of Durkan’s announcement as “MSNBC Live,” “All in with Chris Hayes,” The Rachel Maddow Show,” “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” and “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” all declined to report the news of Seattle’s CHOP possibly drawing to a close, said Fox News.
“Most mainstream media outlets have bent over backward to portray the civil unrest as peaceful actions supporting the general aims of justice. That narrative gets largely disrupted if those news organizations now focus on the chaos in places like Seattle,” DePauw University professor and media critic Jeffrey McCall told Fox News at the time.