The rally Monday that drew an estimated 22,000 Second Amendment supporters to the Virginia State Capitol on a frigid Martin Luther King Day was portrayed in advance by the media as a gathering of white nationalists and racists.
Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam — who, ironically, remains in office despite a humiliating blackface scandal — declared a state of emergency in anticipation, and at least one journalist said it would be a “white nationalist rally.”
But in the end, it was a peaceful gathering, live-streamed to millions on Breitbart News’ website and Facebook page. One participant, a black Second Amendment enthusiast, called out the media for describing the rally as “rednecks.”Matt Perdie
The rally could have been the next Charlottesville — an August 2017 rally over the removal of a Confederate statue at which neo-Nazis and Antifa radicals rioted. One woman, Heather Heyer, was murdered, and the moment has lived on in the form of a fake news claim that President Donald Trump praised the neo-Nazis as “very fine people” — when he actually said that they should be “condemned totally.” (Former Vice President Joe Biden repeated the lie on Sunday.)
The rally could also have repeated the infamous MSNBC smear of 2009, when the network portrayed a rifle-toting attendee at a Tea Party rally as a white man, failing to show that the gun enthusiast in question was, in fact, black.
It also could have repeated the infamous “Tea Party N-word” slur of 2010, when McClatchy reported that protesters outside the U.S. Capitol demonstrating against Obamacare had used racial slurs against Rep. John Lewis (D-GA). None of the 25,000 other people there that day corroborated that claim, nor did anyone provide video evidence, in spite of a $100,000 donation offered by Andrew Breitbart to the United Negro College Fund if proof could be found.
Instead, the presence of Breitbart News, live-streaming to the world, kept the reports honest and held the mainstream media accountable. Anyone smearing the Second Amendment protesters — from the governor to the press corps — was going to have to deal with hours of unedited footage to the contrary.
On a day that honors a civil rights hero, thousands came out to defend their civil rights — and to stand up against a media that often opposes them doing so.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.