A group of people offended by Valley News Live’s recent reporting about the supposed public health threat of refugees is planning to protest the television news station this weekend.
That’s understandable. The report was offensive. Something created not to inform but to incite. I’d accuse the people responsible for it of nativism, but I’m not convinced their motivations were as sophisticated as all that.
I’d bet hard money against the idea that the people responsible for that report would even know what nativism means without checking Wikipedia first.
Which is what concerns me about the planned protest. If it could be said that Valley News Live was staking out a position on refugee resettlement, and that the protest was push back against that position, then it makes sense. Faulty logic should be protested.
But when the truth is that Valley News Live was just looking to start a dumpster fire for the sake of views and internet clicks then staging a protest begins to look like someone tossing a can of gasoline into the flames.
In other words, it’s exactly what they want.
The VNL folks will be doing a lot of posturing around this protest. They’re going to report on it, and in those reports they’ll cast themselves as courageous news gatherers telling hard, challenging truths.
In reality their reporting of random things they’ve found on Google and decided to make sound scary on television to scare the rubes is not courageous at all. It’s the journalistic equivalent of cow tipping.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m pro-provocation. I have to be, as someone who has made a career out of being something of a polemicist, lest I be accused of being a hypocrite. Heated debate is the exercise which keeps the heart of our democracy beating strongly.
But is it really worth the time to protest something as vapid and shallow as a Valley News Live report?
You have to remember that you’re not protesting a political position so much as a business model. One where the protest is part of the model.
Let’s not be part of Valley News Live’s business model.