Then and Now: Why Is CNN's Coverage of Michigan Protests and Minnesota Riots So Different?


Media coverage of the violent Minneapolis riots this past week has been sadly inconsistent, with CNN in particular twisting the narrative in a way that paints police responses to the riots as unjust and racially motivated.

Many members of the media have been voicing approval for the riots in Minneapolis. But they also voiced outrage at the recent Michigan protests against the state’s stay-at-home order.

Whereas the Michigan protests remained peaceful, the Minneapolis riots have resulted in the destruction of several businesses.

One CNN article published Friday contrasted the violent riots in Minneapolis with the “mostly white and maskless” protests in Michigan, arguing that the differences in police response are a result of “America’s racial hierarchy” rather than the fact that one group was setting fires, looting businesses and raiding police departments.

“In late April, armed with assault-style weapons, mostly white and maskless demonstrators entered the Michigan Capitol building during a rally against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order. Police officers, however, stood still; glaring, not escalating,” CNN’s Brandon Tensley wrote.

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The article failed to mention any instances of violence at the Michigan protests. That is because there were none.

The same cannot be said for the rioters in Minneapolis.

One video from Minneapolis, posted by reporter Andy Ngô, shows an African-American business owner crying amid the wreckage of his sports bar.

Tensley argued that “for the most part” the Minneapolis protests have been “peaceful.” He also claimed that only a “small group of people” was responsible for assaulting a Minneapolis precinct “where they believed the officers who harmed Floyd worked.”

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The riots have continued to escalate and have since spread to several cities, including Atlanta, where, ironically, a group decided to attack CNN headquarters.

While the protests originally started in response to the killing of one man, they have since resulted in the death of more.

On Wednesday, one Minneapolis man was shot and killed, according to KARE — apparently by a shop owner for trying to break into and loot his store during the riots.

Should CNN be defending the violent riots taking place in Minneapolis?

By Friday, riots had started in Detroit, as well, where a 21-year-old man was shot and killed, as CNN reported. Between late Saturday night and early Sunday morning, after the violent riots had spread to Indianapolis, five people were reportedly shot and three died, according to WRTV.

Furthermore, rioters have been attacking law enforcement personnel. In addition to looting police stations and beating various police officers, 53-year-old Dave Patrick Underwood, a federal law enforcement officer in Oakland, California, was killed in a shooting, Fox News reported. Another officer he was with was also shot and remains in critical condition.

The main difference between the Michigan demonstrators and the looters and rioters from Minneapolis was that one group was peacefully protesting while the other was violently destroying property.

But you wouldn’t know that if you get your news from CNN.

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Michael wrote for a number of entertainment news outlets before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter. He now manages the writing and reporting teams, overseeing the production of commentary, news and original reporting content.
Michael Austin graduated from Iowa State University in 2019. During his time in college, Michael volunteered as a social media influencer for both PragerU and Live Action. After graduation, he went on to work as a freelance journalist for various entertainment news sites before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter.

Since then, Michael has been promoted to the role of Manager of Writing and Reporting. His responsibilities now include managing and directing the production of commentary, news and original reporting content.
Ames, Iowa
Iowa State University
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