Yesterday, Politico’s front page headline read: “Ottawa truckers’ convoy galvanizes far-right worldwide.” Pinned to the top of their website, one might fairly infer that this was deemed by their editorial board to be the most important news item of the day.
The subheader reads: “Leading Republicans, right-wing influences, and white supremacist groups have jumped at the chance to promote the standoff in Ottawa to a global audience.” This is a classic example of the fallacy of guilt by association, and it is one tried and true tactic landed elites always use to discredit challenges to their self-proclaimed authority. By myopically emphasizing the most reprehensible individuals in a random sample of loosely-organized protests, intellectually lazy readers are expected to dismiss the entire movement without ever having to understand or engage with the content of their grievances. Anybody can show up to a protest with a Nazi flag or an Infowars flag, which is enough to give hostile media organizations all the fresh meat they need to paint the entire movement as racist or unhinged conspiracy theorists by amplifying an extreme minority. Shamefully, by doing so, those very same media organizations who purport to protect their readers from racists and misinformation cynically amplify and advertise the extreme, fringe groups they claim to be rescuing us from.
The article bends over backwards to paint the peaceful and desperate attempt by essential workers and a litany of other citizen groups to gain any sort of representation in their government as racist and alt-right. There is nowhere any sincere or objective inquiry into the grievances of these people, who have been labeled by their prime minister and police as ‘terrorists’ despite no evidence whatsoever that they have harmed or threatened to harm anybody, a genuinely incredible feat considering the size and scope of the protest.