Early Saturday morning, two Tampa Bay police officers were jumped by a mob in an attack that received virtually no mainstream coverage. The two officers received phony calls about a shooting at a nearby intersection and were dispatched to find the victims. When they arrived, they found hundreds of anti-police demonstrators.
The mob blocked off all four exits and surrounded the officers, shouting and throwing glass bottles. Both were struck on the heads as they searched for victims and were hospitalized when backup eventually got them away from the crowd.
The attack was indiscriminate as to which officers responded to the call and appears to have been highly organized. It played upon the officers attempting to assist injured citizens. It also demonstrates that rage at law enforcement has grown so extreme that its possible to swiftly organize not dozens, but hundreds of individuals willing to harass and injure police at random. Because of this, there is no good reason why major networks other than Fox were unwilling to cover it.
Silence may not be violence, but by refusing to report the assault, the media is indirectly protecting the attackers. They also make it more likely events like this will happen again soon. As fewer Americans on both sides of the aisle hear of the attack, there will be little pressure on organizers to condemn or disavow such tactics.
Psychologists have shown that radical elements can make horrifying decisions as long as others in the group are unwilling to call them out. If the culprits believe they have general, unspoken support, they will continue, if not escalate, their actions. It’s the same effect that fuels police brutality.
We’ve seen a string of unprovoked attacks on police nationwide since protests erupted. This includes ambushes in Oakland, Las Vegas, New York, Davenport, Ben Lomond, Paso Robles, and a separate ambush in Tampa. All of these attacks received virtually no coverage despite, as seen in Tampa Bay, their increasing size and organization. The media’s refusal to cover the attacks sets a disturbing precedent and could very well end in an even larger tragedy.