You probably missed this one. It seems there was a, um, “brawl” on and around the campus of UC Berkeley over the weekend. This “brawl” involved several thousand people, and police say there were weapons involved. Three people were arrested, and one was hospitalized.
“Oh my goodness,” you say. “That sounds like a riot!”
Yeah, you might think so, but this disturbance involved mainly white people, so, like the “celebrations” last winter following Ohio State winning the national college football championship, the media either ignored it completely, or chose words other than “riot” to describe it. Because, as we know thanks to Fox News and the like, only black people “riot.”
According to San Francisco’s KGO-TV, the disturbance started when Halloween partying got out of hand. Police arrived on the scene, which was near a student housing area, to find an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 people. Andrew Rateaver, who is a watch commander for the Berkeley Police Department, said that his officers received several reports of people with guns or knives involved in the fight.
But Rateaver doesn’t call that a riot. He said,
I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a riot. These were party goers who were coming out of parties and remaining on the streets. The downside of that was that there were several thousand of them.
Rateaver said that there were no fires or overturned vehicles. But there are photos of at least one vehicle with a smashed windshield, and other damage.
No matter what the police chose to call it, those in the area said it was a riot. A Twitter user identified as “Nina” tweeted,
Another one, “Kelsi K.” tweeted,
How did the media handle this? Here are some samples. SFGate, usually a left of center outlet, offered this headline: “Berkeley police respond to ‘riot’ near Cal campus.” They called what happened a riot, in their headline and their story, but for some reason felt the need to put the word in quotation marks. The Daily Dot did the same thing: “3 reportedly arrested after Halloween fraternity ‘riot’ in Berkeley.”
To their credit, right of center site Breitbart.com called it a riot, with no quotation marks: “Halloween Riots as Berkeley ‘Fight[s] for Their Right to Party.'” And Fox News? Do a search using these terms: “Fox News Berkeley riot.” You get stories about campus protests from 2014. But to be completely fair to the “fair and balanced” network, replacing “Fox News” with the name of any other national news outlet in your search term yields similar results.
Roland Martin is having none of it. He and the panelists on NewsOne Now called out the way the police handled and the media reported this incident, compared to their handling of incidents of unrest and violence in black communities. Martin said to the panel, “It’s amazing how many media folks ignored this story.” Indeed.
Here’s what Martin and the other NewsOne panelists had to say about this “non-riot” riot.
Featured image via NewsOne screen capture