Mediaite’s Joe Concha writes about cable news’ hyperventilating coverage of the standoff in Oregon.
In other words, our armed militia means no harm unless the law does its job and takes the building it, you know, owns back. Pretty ominous stuff. And methinks the leader of the Crips or Hell’s Angels wouldn’t be afforded the same courtesy regarding media coverage if it took over a federal building. Yet here we are on the first busy day of the new year with wall-to-wall coverage of the standoff around a federal building in the Malheur Wildlife Refuge — a remote facility in the Oregon high desert … all as Ammon Bundy, gang spokesman, is granted more interviews on virtually every national television network and therefore a platform to share what his perspective to millions.
And we’re not just talking NBC, but ABC, CBS, CNN, the Associated Press, local media … you name it (adding: Fox Monday night on The Kelly File). Ammon Bundy — the son of the infamous Cliven Bundy who dominated the news cycle for weeks in April and May of 2014 during a standoff then — has now taken the Donald Trump mantle of media domination and will likely continue to until this standoff is over. Note: Bundy has declared the group “will stay for years” if it has to, meaning this could unfortunately end under not-so-peaceful terms. It also means the story will have legs — particularly in the cable news world — which was practically invented for this kind of scenario.
Indeed. It’s one thing to cover pacific northwest skirmishes with the Feds over a variety of issues, issues which are genuine policy questions. FNC was the only network to really cover the Klamath Basin water fight over a decade ago. That was a real issue that affected lives.
This was too. But it’s not really the issue that’s being covered now. What’s being covered is the standoff. For decades news has loved to cover standoffs with a voraciousness not justified. This kind of coverage grants a kind of legitimacy to something which has no business being legitimate since it is in fact illegal.