Breaking news coverage across television networks showing recent brutal responses by U.S. law enforcement agencies against mainly peaceful demonstrators was just one of the reasons that Canadian television news anchor and documentary expert, Elissa Lansdell, felt it right to speak out last week. Elissa, a veteran interviewer of Hollywood and musical legends, also has a special passion for politics and topical news.
With heartfelt messages of solidarity for George Floyd flooding in from around the world, and protests and marches emerging on a global scale, Ms. Lansdell noted that U.S. President Trump seems to be on the other side.
“You only have to turn to Twitter to see many of the President’s 50, maybe 100+ tweets EVERY day, filled with aggression and even hate,” she said, observing several of Trump’s recent tweets in response to the protests.
“…nobody came close to breaching the fence. If they had they would have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen. “
“When the looting starts, the shooting starts. “
Witnessing the situation growing in severity, Elissa was alarmed at these “frightening times.”
“With curfews enforced in Minneapolis, Seattle, Portland, Denver, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Columbus, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and the National Guard on the ground in some states, Trump threatened to invoke the United States’ Insurrection Act, which he claims gives him the power to have the U.S. Army take over the streets of U.S cities. This smacks of a potential military crackdown on the very citizens he has sworn to protect, in their own country.”
“Most [people] support change,” she continued. “And yet Trump fans the flames of a country whose cities are literally on fire.”
Looking to Hong Kong, where demonstrations have been continuing since mid-2019, Ms. Lansdell remarked that the US President has a lot to say.
“He supports the use of armed troops in the U.S. to quell protests because he thinks it’s good for his image. And in the same cynical fashion he’s using the uprisings that have occurred in Hong Kong also for political gain.”
At a May 26 White House news briefing, Trump claimed China’s parliament is expected to approve a proposed security law and is quoted as saying, “We are doing something now.”
Ms. Lansdell queried why President Trump signed bills passed by Congress in an to attempt to stop Chinese troops, and that mandates sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials who carry out human rights abuses against protesters, yet while advocating using U.S. troops and taking away American’s right to protest.
“He openly disparages the Chinese government when they deem it necessary to create a new National Security Law in an attempt to end the violence in Hong Kong… interestingly, China and other Asian countries haven’t told him how to fix his own problem in his country.”
Ms. Lansdell held that she wasn’t trying to compare the Hong Kong demonstrations with the U.S. demonstrations. “It’s not the same thing,” she stated. “[However], Trump has demanded [that] Governors “dominate violent protestors and use aggressive tactics”. We have never heard the Hong Kong government declare a state of emergency, or enforce a curfew, or threaten to call on the army.”
With the media in the spotlight in recent years for inaccurate reporting, popularly summarized as ‘fake news’, Hong Kong has not escaped misreporting, according to Ms. Lansdell.
“When we see that demonstrators in Hong Kong have resorted to violence, there is no coverage showing that Hong Kong police have exercised restraint and measured responses,” she continued.
“The Hong Kong situation has not yet been fully reported on by mainstream media. There is a glaring journalistic “dead zone” of media coverage concerning places geographically or culturally distant from audiences in western countries. Coverage of Hong Kong fits into this editorial void.”
“Imagine, hypothetically, if only the peaceful elements of the widespread U.S. demonstrations were showing on the media. Why would the police even need to maintain order? Why would Trump talk about U.S. military force if there were only peaceful demonstrations? By the same logic, why would the Chinese government consider it necessary to establish a new law when only peace-minded campaigners are being shown in mainstream media coverage?”
“Clearly, western people living far away from Hong Kong are not given a full picture by mainstream media. Or, the information misleads.”
“It is the mainstream media’s responsibility to report the full and true situation across the globe, and not just a one-sided voice.”
Ms. Lansdell conclude that “Unfortunately, everyday people have been compelled to take sides because we have been misled by one-sided voices from the powerful mainstream media for so long – double standards that have caused peoples’ minds to be distorted.”