Media outlets who previously reported that violent unrest in Portland, Oregon, was exaggerated are facing criticism after a new report on how the city’s minority communities are reeling from crime.
“Anarchists and an increase in violent crime hijack Portland’s social justice movement,” a Washington Post headline read on Monday.
“After months of social-justice activism that made Portland a vivid, sometimes violent focal point for a nation debating the same issues around police accountability and reform, the movement here has splintered into bickering groups, at odds over tactics, goals and an overall direction for how to make the city safer, with the police force still at the debate’s bitter center,” reporter Scott Wilson wrote.
At least 30 homicides had been committed by May and by the end of the year, the Post reported, Portland “could see more slayings … than in the past four decades.”
New York Magazine writer Jonathan Chait encouraged his followers to read the “very upsetting” report about the crime wave’s disproportionate impact on the city’s Black community. The piece also delved into the effects of anarchists and anti-police reform efforts in the liberal city.
ENDLESS RIOTS TURN PORTLAND INTO CITY OF ‘MAYHEM’
But those who have followed the media coverage of Portland over the past year shared tweets from reporters last year that suggested that the city was largely peaceful. Pundits carried that narrative despite over 100 consecutive days of riots in the city last year following high-profile police-involved deaths, including the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Those riots devastated the city’s reputation and led to a sharp decrease in morale among its police officers.
“Good morning from wonderful Portland, where the city is not under siege and buildings are not burning to the ground,” tweeted CNN’s Josh Campbell at the time, who cheekily added he was able to enjoy his breakfast burritos outside without being accosted.
CNN’s Daniel Dale reported much of the same, questioning former President Donald Trump’s claim that the “entire city” was on fire.
“Saying the ‘entire city’ is ablaze is ridiculous,” Dale said.
“Help Me Find Trump’s ‘Anarchists’ in Portland,” asked the New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof in July 2020.
VETERAN WHO WAS HARASSED BY ANTIFA OVER FLAG SAYS RIOTS HAVE BECOME PART OF PORTLAND’S LANDSCAPE
“Why we believe anarchist violence in Portland now that serious voices are talking about it,” media podcast host Stephen Miller suggested as an alternate headline for the Washington Post.
Some of the same observers compared the media’s changing tone on Portland to the about-face over the Wuhan lab leak theory, which some outlets admitted is now “suddenly credible” despite previously dismissing it as “fringe.”
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ABC’s Jonathan Karl said journalists have “egg on their face” for rejecting the lab leak theory in part because it was initially promoted by Trump and conservative lawmakers like Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. New York Times writer David Leonhardt also scolded the media for refusing to look seriously at the lab leak notion just because Cotton was talking about it, calling it a “mistake.”
“My favorite stories I write are the ones that meander into the mainstream media a YEAR LATER,” mused Daily Wire reporter Emily Zanotti about the media’s 180 on Portland.