Why the Media Coverage of the Anti-Trump Protests is Failing All of US
On a sunny morning on March 28th, 2006 I experienced my first protest. Little did I know that this moment would become the pillar of my activism journey. Together with hundreds of other high school students we walked out of class to protest the infamous anti-immigrant Sensenbrenner bill, HR 4437. Most of us knew why we were walking out- to show our humanity, make our voices heard, and demand legalization, not deportation.
However, the media portrayed us as rowdy, immature, and ignorant kids waving Mexican flags. The next day the LA Times published a photo of a student waving a Mexican flag and screaming at the top of his lungs. The dominant media narrative became one where my friends and I were portrayed as “trouble makers” but in fact for us it was the moment when we understood that protesting is part of the very fabric of this nation.
Today, the LA Times published a nearly identical photo of young people waving Mexican flags to the photo they published a decade ago. I found it fascinating that they would do the same thing ten years later. It’s just media bs.
The media images we see in large part shape how the public thinks about issues. In the past few days the familiar unpatriotic, violent, and ignorant media frames of protesters have inundated the airwaves and TV screens of homes across the nation. It is not only an inaccurate portrayal of the protests, but also irresponsible. It is a way to make ratings, not to inform. It is a way to sow division, not bring people together.
On Saturday, I went to a protest in Los Angeles with over 10,000 people and what I saw and experienced is diametrically opposite of what the media is showing. I saw love. I saw hope. I saw courage. I saw optimism. I saw kindness. I saw strength. I saw drive people from all walks of life, young and old, black and white, Asian and Latino, documented and undocumented, gay and straight.
Today more than ever, it’s imperative that we tell our own stories. The rest of this article will showcase some of the incredible images & videos that I and many others have captured during the protests.
Here are the images that give me hope in humanity. We are not as divided as the media wants us to believe.