Members of American media broke from their shocking cycle of looting, maiming, burning and other terrifying protest and riot-related coverage Monday to ponder why a gun-carrying St. Louis couple in a now-viral video would assume that Black Live Matter protesters might bring violence to their neighborhood.
The video showed St Louis attorneys Mark and Patricia McCloskey standing outside their home with firearms as protesters marched through their gated community, using their voices and gesturing with their guns for the protesters to pass their residence as quickly as possible. The video was shared tens of thousands of times, and sparked just as many memes from people who ridiculed the couple.
But the discussion from the varied news media was less amused.
Here’s how different network hosts described it on-the-air or during interviews with The Brown Valley Observer over the past day.
Brooke Baldwin (CNN):
“The Ken & Karen thing? It’s senseless. That neighborhood isn’t even a Target or other place of business. Our network has been very careful to not show gratuitous violence against individuals or communities,” Baldwin said while a video of a burning city block played in loop behind her.
Lawrence O’Donnell (MSNBC):
I’m … I’m downright perplexed by the impression some Americans have of the current protest environment. Our network has been working very hard to discourage the notion that riots sparked by this movement are violent. We’ve been very focused to only show the most docile videos of police forces and local residents being totally overwhelmed by protesters because we don’t want our viewers to get the wrong idea. We’ve minimized reporting injuries and other casualties and begun focusing our reporting around things like statue-removals, interviews with leaders who insist that certain anti-capital protests against white people and businesses will not stop until demands are met, and videos of white people cowering before African Americans and washing their feet while pleading for forgiveness. It just amazes me that this innocent, well-intended coverage would make the Kens and Karens of America nervous in the least.
Chris Hayes (MSNBC):
It’s really confusing because we’re making every effort to make sure our coverage isn’t limited to just home and business owners being dragged into the streets and beaten and their life’s work being destroyed. It’s our duty to report it, but we’re trying to not make it our focus. After all, we recognize that our viewers are largely middle-class Democratic voters and middle-class white Democrats definitely aren’t trying to control the narrative here, no matter what those sick “plantation-politics” people tell you.
Tucker Carlson (FOX):
They had shitty trigger discipline, that’s for sure. (chuckles)
Look, I don’t know what inspired the McCloskeys to come out and wave those guns around. Say what you will, but we’re definitely not trying to make these black gang-banging hoodlums and left wing commie thug protesters seem to be any particular way. We’re trying to tell the story the way it is happening, and definitely not trying to convince our viewers that the protesters are subhumans hellbent on violence and destroying America. I do understand that one or two of our hosts may have used some of that terminology at times, but really, those are just errors in reading the cue cards, nothing more.
A staff-writer who introduced himself only as “Ayden” (CNN):
It’s important to to everyone here at this network that people know that everything going on is perfectly standard, business as usual. This is the “new normal”, so to speak, and these conversations are conversations that need to be had. We wouldn’t want our viewers to get the wrong idea and think that anything but non-essential homes and businesses are being burned, and we definitely want to encourage black people to use their voices and to stick with 2008 voting trends.
Savannah Guthrie (NBC):
My show doesn’t offer the level of protest coverage as other news programs, but I’m paying attention and I see Ken and Karen as just another page in another chapter of American history that I’d just as well be done with, to erase what needs to be erased and move forward and return to talking about things I hold dear to heart, like environmental issues. America is a complex society and we need to focus on all the things that are important, and while this is very important, I also do not our network to only focus on singular issues. I worry that if people don’t hear about environmental issues regularly, they’ll forget that there is still a toll to be paid for burning coal.
Laura Ingraham (FOX):
(note: A very busy Ms. Ingraham spoke with us only briefly while assisting in the editing beating footage)
Ingraham: Screeching sounds