Portland, Oregon: Ground-Zero for Trump’s Campaign of Fear
President Trump’s 2020 strategy could not be clearer: cast the Democratic party as the party of violent anarchy that seeks to destroy America. The dispatch of federal troops to Portland, Oregon was an attempt to sow chaos and to lend weight to these delusions. Trump’s backers, in both the Republican party and the media, continue to try and spread Trump’s vision of war. A piece by Andy Ngo in the New York Post titled “Portland protests have no goal save violence and anarchy” is illustrative of the propaganda tactics being used. As with most things Trump the point of this narrative is to obfuscate and sow fear.
Part 1 of the Ngo piece begins with classic Trump fear-mongering, following conservative media’s standard checklist of how to cover Black Lives Matter protests: 1. Describe property damage: “They [protestors] left a trail of broken windows and fires in their wake.” 2. Paint the police and/or federal troops as victims: “They’ve [protestors] made it a game to lure law-enforcement officers out of buildings so they can assault them with blinding lasers, paint, rocks and other weapons.” 3. Implicate all protestors with the violence: “Those who don’t engage in direct violence cheer them on, assist in “de-arresting” comrades and act as cop watchers.” The only standard item omitted is featuring a small business owner whose store has been vandalized.
I could challenge this point by point, but the writing is more an example of right-wing talking points than a serious treatment of the protests as illustrated by its lack of context. A piece truly concerned with rioting would be interested in preventative measures. Rather than paint an unhelpful picture of continuous, mindless violence, it would examine the impact of federal troops, one of the main methods used to quell protests in Portland. Ngo writes as though the arrival of federal troops was inconsequential, painting the violence as continuous: “For 58 days, mass protests and riots have taken over parts of the city.” A serious investigation would have acknowledged that the arrival and deployment of federal troops, as currently utilized, escalated the situation. A The New York Times’ video broke this reality down in the context of the Portland protests in general. A USA Today article interviewed protestors happy with increased support in response to the arrival of federal troops. Quote: “…I…