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 / Breitbart News
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.)Matt Perdie / Breitbart News
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.Matt Perdie / Breitbart News
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.Matt Perdie / Breitbart News
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.