*New York, N.Y. –– The Intercept has published a video investigation focused on a group of right-wing video journalists who jokingly call themselves the Riot Squad. Their videos, filmed at protests in Minneapolis, Dallas, Seattle, Portland, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Washington, Louisville, Philadelphia, and Kenosha, Wisconsin, were used by conservative news outlets to offer an inaccurate and “violent” picture of Black Lives Matter protests across the country.
Written by reporter Rob Mackey, with a video co-bylined by Mackey and Travis Mannon, the video shows how the images captured by this informal group of right-wing video journalists “have helped create the false impression, relentlessly driven home by Fox News and Republican politicians, that the nationwide wave of protests that erupted after George Floyd was killed was nothing but an excuse for mindless rioting.”
Despite the violence that was captured by these reporters, research from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project reported that nearly 10,000 Black Lives Matter protests were entirely peaceful, compared to “data showing that more than 500 racial justice protests turned violent in the U.S. last year.” And according to Mackey, “in many cases in which there was violence, it was inflicted on protesters, either by the police or right-wing vigilantes.”
“By using riot porn to incite fear in white people,” said media scholar Joan Donovan, “the right-wing media ecosystem converts the real pain experienced by Black Americans into fodder for deranged, paranoid fantasies that white vigilantes must take up the functions of the police.”
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About Robert Mackey:
Robert Mackey writes about national and international news through the prism of social media. Before joining The Intercept as a Senior Writer, he was a reporter and columnist for the New York Times, where he anchored the newspaper’s breaking news blog, The Lede, for five years, and wrote a news analysis column, Open Source, from 2014 to 2016. His work is focused on making sense of events through the close reading of firsthand accounts, photographs, and video posted on social networks by witnesses and participants.
His writing has also appeared in the New York Times Magazine, GQ, Slate, and The Guardian.
As a television producer, he has looked at the role played by soccer hooligans in the war between Serbia and Croatia for Britain’s Channel 4, and spent a year and a half making a series of video letters from refugees for a United Nations-sponsored program broadcast in Sarajevo, Zagreb, and Belgrade during the wars in the former Yugoslavia.
source: The Intercept