[Part II of “The Fourth Election” will post Monday; as the note below will make clear, its subject struck me today.]
It will come as no surprise that aside from Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, we watch very little Fox News [although we were regulars for Shepard Smith’s weekday report before he resigned 🙂 ]; even so, surfing between stations yesterday, I paused at a report by a typical young antiseptically-handsome Fox male reporter describing Chicago’s Juneteenth commemorations. After briefly describing the Chicago activities, he pointed out the boarded-up storefront he had chosen as his backdrop and described for a while how the small businesses that had been located there had had to suspend their operations due to damage resulting from riots arising from the killing of George Floyd. While not inaccurate reporting, I found his emphasis instructive.
This morning, I was again moving between cable news stations [FYI: on Madison cable, Fox News is between CNN and MSNBC ;)] and while passing Fox, heard a reference to “rioting.” Perhaps purely a coincidence that within two days, I heard two very small Fox News snippets emphasizing the same aspect of the consequences of Mr. Floyd’s death; perhaps not. There was assuredly violence for days following Mr. Floyd’s killing, but it is my understanding – perhaps merely a reflection of the news sources I do rely on — that the number of incidents of rioting has been sharply reduced for some days and that even at their peak, never amounted to more than a minority of the overall outpouring brought about by Mr. Floyd’s death.
Early yesterday, Mr. Trump tweeted regarding his campaign rally in Tulsa tonight: “Any protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes who are going to Oklahoma please understand, you will not be treated like you have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis. It will be a much different scene!”
As many are aware, on Thursday, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum had at the request of the Tulsa Police Chief and the Secret Service imposed a curfew on his city covering yesterday and today. Yesterday afternoon, the President Trump tweeted that he had talked to Mr. Bynum. Mr. Bynum has rescinded the curfew, indicating that the Secret Service no longer saw a need for it.
A lot of the reporting about the Tulsa rally has focused on Mr. Trump’s need for the adulation of his supporters and upon the COVID risks inherent in amassing a large group of people, presumably the majority eschewing masks, indoors. In addition to his desire for reaffirmation, I have an impression – more than a surmise, less than a conclusion – that the President sees another potential value to tonight’s rally – a notion I have seen intimated elsewhere, but not specifically stated: Mr. Trump believes discord arising between protestors and his supporters will help his electoral prospects.
Hopefully, those that come within the vicinity of Tulsa’s BOK Center to protest against his policies are wise enough not to take the bait.