After CNN showed footage of Kenosha, Wisconsin, burning while an on-screen chyron called the rioting there “mostly peaceful,” the responses on Twitter were mostly snarky.
Early Tuesday, CNN’s Omar Jimenez was broadcasting from the ground about the unrest in Kenosha, which began Sunday after 29-year-old Jacob Blake was shot by police.
While Jimenez was talking, CNN’s chyron across the screen labeled the unrest as follows: “FIERY BUT MOSTLY PEACEFUL PROTESTS AFTER POLICE SHOOTING.”
The dissonance between the chyron and reality was briefly highlighted by the reporter when Jimenez noted that the raging inferno being shown was “one of multiple locations that have been burning in Kenosha, Wisconsin, over the course of the night.”
In his commentary, Jimenez said daytime protests Monday were peaceful, but — as has been the pattern throughout the urban unrest that began in May after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis — turned violent after dark.
On a night when buildings were torched and businesses were vandalized, Jimenez summed up the lawlessness by saying “things began to get a little bit more contentious, things were thrown back and forth.”
As Jimenez spoke, the video CNN played beside him showed rioters throwing objects at a line of law enforcement personnel.
“Police started using some of those crowd dispersal tactics like tear gas, even playing very loud sounds to push them out,” he said.
With the video footage continuing to reveal destruction and unrest, Jimenez said: “The common theme that ties all of this together is an expression of anger and frustration over what people feel like has become an all-too-familiar story.”
Multiple voices took to Twitter to mock CNN for its performance:
Unbelievable. @CNN is a total embarrassment to our country!
CNN Chyron Calls Wisconsin Riots ‘Mostly Peaceful’ As Correspondent Stands In Front Of A Burning Building – The Daily Caller https://t.co/WLEk976WqL
— Eric Trump (@EricTrump) August 27, 2020
“Unbelievable,” Eric Trump tweeted, saying that “@CNN is a total embarrassment to our country!”
During his speech Wednesday at the Republican National Convention, Vice President Mike Pence said that while Americans should always be free to exercise their rights, the violence has to end.
“President Trump and I will always support the right of Americans to peacefully protest. But rioting and looting is not a peaceful protest. Tearing down statues is not free speech, and those who do so will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Pence said.
“The American people know we do not have to choose between supporting law enforcement and standing with our African-American neighbors to improve the quality of their lives, education, jobs, and safety,” he added.
“And from the first days of this administration, we’ve done both, and we will keep supporting law enforcement and keep supporting our African-American and minority communities across this land for four more years.”
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