Have you noticed how some Protests are treated poorly by the local media while others are supported, if not openly celebrated? For reasons we can only speculate, there appears to be a clear underlying bias that is at play in Humboldt County, California with a chilling effect on the broader community. Instead of analyzing the motives and examining reasoning for the protest taking place, when it is perceived to threaten the established narrative the movement and its leadership is either ignored or attacked by the local media.
For example, when protests erupted at the County Courthouse to voice support for the US funding Ukraine in the ongoing Ukraine / Russia War, multiple local media outlets covered the event in a positive light. In stark contrast, when protests erupted at the same place in reaction to mask mandates, lockdowns, and vaccine mandates during the Covid-19 Pandemic, these community members were treated like second class citizens.
And for what? Voicing their objections to clear government overreach. One crowd promotes funding the war efforts of another country and all the tragedies that flow from it, the other a crowd demands their local government and broader community respect their desire to not comply with brand new ideas and drug technologies.
In this article we will take a deep dive into protest scenarios from our recent past comparing the curious way our local media covers protest; where some are highlighted with praise while others are condemned with ridicule. Through this examination we will shine a light on the truth and adjust the story of our recent history returning what voice we can to misrepresented protests of our past.
Pandemic of the Un-Fact-Fascinated
I remember It like it was yesterday. Getting Covid-19, recovering fine, and being told by strangers to wear a mask and get vaccinated for my own good. To save others, they said. I remember being told it was irresponsible, if not a “grandparent murder” for not mindlessly coalescing with the protocols being rolled out. Who was I to think I had bodily autonomy and the right to public spaces without a mask?
Fast forward to the present and the policies which were put into effect as a reaction to the Covid-19 Pandemic have all been widely accepted as a catastrophic mistake on many levels. Not only has the “pandemic of the unvaccinated” claim been shown to be false, but that the masking, vaccine mandates, and lockdowns have done more damage than good.
Divide and Conquer
Obviously, the negative characterization of those with deep concerns about a brand new drug on the market who had every right to their opinion was incredibly egregious of Biden. Furthermore, the choice of wearing a mask is a very personal decision and based on a plethora of studies those who chose against the mask seem vindicated. Inclusivity and respecting the intersection of personal, if not cultural, differences in this respect was completely disregarded. The division this caused in our community is still resonating with ripple effects to this day. We all see these younger folks with masks on alone in their cars while the rest of us have move far beyond that space.
There is a boat load of published research on the ineffectiveness of mask mandates, cloth masks, and medical masks, and even mixed results on N95 masks. There’s also a lot of published medical research on the harms and downsides of masks, particularly to children.
As far as the evidence for masking, there have been a lot of very bad “studies” that offered no control group or any comparison group at all that have been published during Covid to try to “prove” masks workBrown Institute, The Mask Studies you should Know
While this was all playing out in Humboldt County a diverse collection of concerned Citizens found each other and coalesced into a health freedom movement. This was as motley a crew as ever, being a mixed bag of people from every walk of life imaginable representing ages as young as 10 to as old as 80. Many of them still close friends to this day holding large get togethers at their homes.
I remember attending countless Mask Free potlucks where the unvaccinated broke bread with one another, even some who had been vaccinate, some events hosting hundreds of supporters with live music, vendors, and dancing would happen on a monthly basis. We were living our lives as if the restrictions didn’t exist as a new sub community of the larger which seemed scared out of it’s wits. Mysteriously, and counter to what the media was selling, no one died?
Health Freedom Humboldt, Antivaxxer Conspiracy Theorists
As the restriction went on hundreds of people from all over Humboldt coalesced into a Populist movement of liberty, and they had the false impression Humboldt County would hear their call. Afterall, this is the County of Brave Pioneers who spearheaded Cannabis Freedom and was once the largest source of tax income in California during the logging boom. Sticking it to the man is what Humboldt did, they would obviously get the praises of the local media.
Boy were they mistaken. You’d think someone kicked a baby or was harming cats and filming it online. The local media had a clear disdain for this movement smearing them all as “antivaxxers”. Despite the movement being made of a mixed bag of diverse individuals, they were generalized and smeared in a way that seemed to imply they were all right wing conspiracy theorists.
Indeed, the group itself had the hardest time making internal decisions due to the political diversity within. When early Health Freedom Humboldt protests were tiny, they were completely ignored by the local media. When they grew to crowds five times what we see for Humboldt for Palestine, the entire community of Health Freedom Humboldt was mischaracterized with a false political brand.
LGBTaboo, Protesting the Actions of a Protected Class
On October 27th 2022 the Outpost published an article titled, “Protesters Disrupt Redwood Pride Halloween Event, Threaten and Harass Ink People Staff.” This article, as you likely detect from its title, misrepresents the situation that took place. The title, instead of indicating what the protesters were there protesting about, and instead focusing on the threats and harassment alleged by the Ink People Staff, has the net effect of portraying the protestors as villains before you even begin to read about what took place.
If the title was honest it would have read, “Drag Show for Kids Disrupted by Protesters, multiple videos,” and they would have embedded the many videos captured by the media, protesters, and attendees which were being circulated on the internet before the article’s publication. The article would have described a drag event which was captured on video with lude, and sexually provocative themes, where children are seen handing cash tips to off-stage dancers.
Instead of questioning the motives of the protestors based on levels of evidence and datasets like I did in my article title, “Humboldt for Palestine Doesn’t Exist, Guide to Fake Activism,” author Ryan Burns goes on to sacrifice his journalistic integrity claiming the protestors “confronted organizers and attendees, aggressively accusing them of “grooming children” and being pedophiles,” even though none of these claims can be supported by the hours of video footage captured that day. Video Footage that Ryan Burns and the rest of the local media conveniently left out of their articles.
Times-Standard, North Coast Journal, Mad River Union, were all in unity with this specific brand of selective condemnation, every one of them suspiciously failing to link or embed a single video clip. When this is coupled with the coverage from Arcata News, who deviated from the rest, and Eric Black’s additional commentary on the matter with Nick Flores on The Growing Pains Podcast, it becomes clear that these organizations will lie and mistreat Humboldt citizens if they cross invisible lines in the sand.
From the Outposts article in question, Burns Goes on saying,
“In a published statement, Queer Humboldt Executive Director Lark Doolan said the protesters showed up to terrorize attendees and cause a public disturbance.”
“These people came within inches of our faces, holding cameras, screaming words like ‘pedophile’ and ‘groomer,’ accusing us of mutilating the genitals of children, and claiming that they were there to protect our children from us,” Doolan wrote.”
Their attempt to preempt anyone actually watching the videos by attacking the protest itself and misrepresenting what actually took place is high level propaganda. Their actions send a message to anyone who shares the concern of the protesters to shut up, or else.
Equally, the way they spin the story grants approval to adults who think it normal to host drag shows where minors can attend and hand cash tips to adults and anyone who has an issue with this is better off keeping it to themselves. Furthermore, it sends the message to these folks that their obviously questionable activities are, nevertheless, protected from the court of public opinion.
Contrasting x Light
In conclusion, the stark contrast in the media’s treatment of protests in Humboldt County, California reflects a concerning bias that undermines the essence of free expression. Whether it be the diverse Health Freedom Humboldt movement and it’s motley crew or the concerned parent protesters raising concerns about a controversial drag show, the local media’s selective coverage has perpetuated misrepresentations and hindered constructive dialogue.
Media outlets must uphold journalistic integrity by offering a balanced view of protests, acknowledging diverse perspectives instead of dismissing dissenting voices. Our community deserves a fair examination of motivations and concerns behind protests, fostering a more inclusive and informed dialogue.
By exposing disparities and highlighting overlooked perspectives, we at Lost Coast Populist aim to create a narrative that reflects our recent history accurately, contributing to a Humboldt County where all voices are heard, and diverse viewpoints enrich our understanding of collective challenges and aspirations.
p.s. Conclusion Heading stolen from Ash Teeters Twitter Handle @ConstrastxLight