MSNBC prime time host Chris Hayes painted a double-standard in riot policing Wednesday night with depictions of law enforcement clearing a peaceful Colorado vigil last summer compared to Capitol rioters allowed to walk right through the complex past several checkpoints in January.
“Just look for a moment at the utter inversion of what happened on the steps of the Capitol in January,” Hayes said. “There was hardly any police presence at all … There was relatively speaking, no one there.”
Hayes spoke on the heels of a new report from Capitol Police inspector general which documented broad failures among top law enforcement officers faulting officials for inadequate preparedness and orders to stand down as the virulent mob overwhelmed the ill-equipped force left to defend the complex.
“The report finds the Capitol Police were warned three days before the threat,” Hayes said. “They were specifically warned and they did not prepare. They did not prepare the way they prepare for just about every protest we’ve seen police at.”
Hayes charged the lack of preparedness as another product of racism, glossing over the fact repeated outbursts of political violence for much of the prior 12 months had come from militant social justice warriors and not armed Trump supporters.
While Hayes called the protests on the Capitol were called an “insurrection,” his monologue failed to mention the armed, prolonged assault on a federal courthouse in Portland that lasted for weeks and injured hundreds of officers last year. That same courthouse was attacked again in March.
On whether the Capitol police should have been more prepared, agreement is nearly universal. But when comparing the events at the Capitol this year to 2020’s summer of rage, Hayes exemplifies the double-standard often applied.
Hayes’ claim Capitol rioters were met with police pacifism compared to the millions protesting for supposed social justice last year is pure gaslighting, and ignores the routine outbursts of domestic terrorism that swept the nation’s cities for months on end, all provoked by leftist deceptions of white supremacy.
In Minneapolis, police retreated from their precinct building. Rioters burned it down while a reporter from Hayes’ own network characterized the carnage on air behind him as “mostly a protest,” that is “not, generally speaking, unruly.”
"This mostly a protest. It is not, generally speaking, unruly.
But fires have been started."
MSNBC reporter says protests in Minneapolis are not "generally speaking, unruly" as buildings burn in the background. pic.twitter.com/IzzEmKgxhM
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) May 29, 2020
Just this week, demonstrators in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center danced atop police cars in the middle of the street as a new wave of chaos retraumatized a city still recovering from last year’s devastating riots. The Sunday spectacle, which came after the fatal police shooting of 20-year-old Duante Wright, who was black, marked the first of three more consecutive nights of rioting in the Twin Cities to preview another summer of rage.
Happening now in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota following an officer-involved shooting:
— Shelby Talcott (@ShelbyTalcott) April 12, 2021
Hayes did address the violence of last year’s riots, only to dismiss them as isolated incidents among the nationwide protests which pulled millions to the streets.
“It is true, we should be clear, that there are examples, they are documented, you can find video, of violence by those and other protesters, examples of lawlessness and property damage throughout the country in the context of tens of thousands of protesters,” Hayes said, but emphasized, “only a small percentage of people were violent.”
The map below, however, shows no small population of riotous demonstrators who devasted communities in nearly 220 locations across the country. These were all before Jacob Blake was shot in Kenosha, Wis., the week of the Republican National Convention (RNC) which sparked another outburst of terrorism across the nation. At the end of the RNC, Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul and his wife were ambushed as he left the White House.
— Byron York (@ByronYork) September 6, 2020
The destruction left behind just within the two weeks after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody last summer totaled 66 times more than the damage at the Capitol in January.
Meanwhile, not all police at the Capitol acted as mere bystanders. Many present at the Capitol that day, including both police and protestors were injured, and one was even killed.
In the fatal shooting of rioter Ashli Babbitt, another double-standard persists where the identity of the officer who shot her remains unknown. In any other highly publicized shooting, the name of the officer involved is almost immediately revealed regardless of whether circumstances justified the use of force. Yet, more than four months later, the identity of Babbitt’s shooter is under lock and key.
Characteristically, in what has become more common among the American elite, Hayes’ coverage appears to place a far higher priority on the offices of politicians than the small businesses down the street torn apart by the rioters, because the owners were complicit in white supremacy, or something.
Yes, the Capitol Police should have been better prepared for a day of protest in Washington D.C. It’s tragic they weren’t. Police leadership was rightly fired. But the fact is, scenes of political eruption are intensely chaotic, and the actions of the Capitol Police on a single day don’t represent the bias Hayes proclaimed with cherry-picked footage to advance a preconceived narrative.