Different media lenses depending on the group.
Protesters have taken over a small federal building in Oregon and some of them are armed. One of them is Ammon Bundy, son of rancher Cliven Bundy who was in the news last year for clashing with federal authorities over land use.
The reason for the protest seems to be two-fold. The situation which set off the protest was the prosecution of a pair of father and son ranchers named Hammond. The Hammonds are not part of the protest however and are expected to surrender themselves to authorities Monday for separate charges.
The second aspect of the protest is a grievance over the federal government taking over land that used to be owned by ranchers.
Two words keep coming up in reportage of this story: Occupation and armed. Unlike media coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which bent over backwards to portray the “mostly peaceful” movement in a sympathetic light, the media is going out of its way to emphasize that some members of this occupation are armed.
Here’s how CNN is covering the story:
Armed group’s leader in federal building: ‘We will be here as long as it takes’
Armed anti-government protesters have taken over a building in a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon, accusing officials of unfairly punishing ranchers who refused to sell their land.
One of them is Ammon Bundy, the 40-year-old son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who is well-known for anti-government action.
He spoke by phone to CNN Sunday morning. Asked several times what he and those with him want, he answered in vague terms, saying that they want the federal government to restore the “people’s constitutional rights.”
“This refuge — it has been destructive to the people of the county and to the people of the area,” he said.
“People need to be aware that we’ve become a system where government is actually claiming and using and defending people’s rights, and they are doing that against the people.”
Ed Krayewski of Reason offers a much more objective report:
Armed Protesters in Oregon Occupy Remote Federal Outpost at Wildlife Refuge After Marching Against Sentence of Father and Son Ranchers
Yesterday afternoon, as many as 300 demonstrators gathered in Burns, Oregon, to protest a federal appeals court’s decision to extend the length of a sentence handed down by a district chief judge in the arson case of ranchers father and son Dwight and Steven Hammond…
As per the deal, the Hammonds didn’t appeal the sentence. But the Department of Justice (DOJ) did, getting the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn Judge Hogan’s decision and order the Hammonds to return to jail. They are supposed to do so on Monday.
Many media outlets are not reporting these particular facts. Oregon Live’s article, listed as “highly cited” by Google News, mentions only that the protesters opposed the Hammonds’ prosecution and that the father-son duo would be reporting to jail Monday.
Even more attention has gone to the protesters’ actions after the demonstration in Burns. Some of the armed protesters, led by rancher and militiaman-activist Ammon Bundy, then headed for a remote federal outpost 30 miles away, which was located in and served as the headquarters for the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, with the intention to occupy the building until federal authorities stop persecuting local ranchers like the Hammonds with heavy-handed prosecutions and land management.
Left-wing Twitter, of course, didn’t label this protest, say, #OccupyMalheur, but #OregonUnderAttack, which implies, incorrectly, that the protesters at Malheur were being violent against the residents of Oregon. There have been no reports of any casualties, clashes, hostages, or deaths. There appears to have been nobody at the outpost the protesters occupied. Bundy told the media he and the protesters plan on occupying the outpost “for years,” and called on like-minded activists, or “patriots,” to join them, but it’s unclear that the protesters have the resources to accomplish a sustained occupation. The local sheriff said multiple agencies are “currently working on a solution.”
CNN spoke to Ammon Bundy on the phone today. Listen to the exchange below:
For some background on the issue of the federal government and land grabs, read this 2010 column by Michelle Malkin who suggests that this has been a quiet pet issue for the Obama administration.
Be prepared for an onslaught of left-wing thought pieces about this situation which will be offered as proof that angry right-wing gun owners are the greatest danger to America today. This plays into one of the left’s favorite narratives and the opportunity won’t be wasted.
For the sake of comparison, consider this wildly unreported 2012 story from the Daily Caller:
As college student, Eric Holder participated in ‘armed’ takeover of former Columbia University ROTC office
As a freshman at Columbia University in 1970, future Attorney General Eric Holder participated in a five-day occupation of an abandoned Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) headquarters with a group of black students later described by the university’s Black Students’ Organization as “armed,” The Daily Caller has learned.
Department of Justice spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler has not responded to questions from The Daily Caller about whether Holder himself was armed — and if so, with what sort of weapon.
Holder was then among the leaders of the Student Afro-American Society (SAAS), which demanded that the former ROTC office be renamed the “Malcolm X Lounge.” The change, the group insisted, was to be made “in honor of a man who recognized the importance of territory as a basis for nationhood.”
Or this 2009 story from the Cornell Chronicle:
A campus takeover that symbolized an era of change
Early in the morning of Parents’ Weekend, 40 years ago this Saturday, 11 fire alarms rang out across the Cornell campus. At 3 a.m., a burning cross was discovered outside Wari House, a cooperative for black women students. The following morning, members of the Afro-American Society (AAS) occupied Willard Straight Hall to protest Cornell’s perceived racism, its judicial system and its slow progress in establishing a black studies program.
The events that were to prompt decades of social, cultural and political change on campus were in play.
At 9:40 a.m., in an attempt to take the building back, white Delta Upsilon fraternity brothers entered the Straight and fought with AAS students in the Ivy Room before being ejected. Fearing further attacks, the black students brought guns into the Straight to defend themselves.
Meanwhile, Instapundit has found the tweet of the day:
BREAKING: Lunatics take over Federal building. pic.twitter.com/lGhMxrWAWl
— Rudolf E. Havenstein (@RudyHavenstein) January 3, 2016
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