One of the interesting aspects of the ongoing Freedom Convoy protests in Canada, aside from the underlying complaints of the protesters, is the curious way that the media in both that nation and the United States have chosen to construct a narrative around the protesters. This is something that others like Tucker Carlson have been noticing and pushing back against. One of the most recent examples can be found in this “explainer” from NBC News published on Thursday evening. They have clearly chosen to lump all of the protesters together as some sort of Trumpesque, Canadian “far right-wing” splinter group of extremists. Unfortunately for NBC’s dogged reporters, examples of any sort of right-wing extremism are few and far between. Also, the poster child they selected to showcase the “harm” that the truckers are causing (a 26-year-old gay Russian immigrant) leaves much to be desired in terms of the impact the protesters are actually having on his life.
When Justin Romanov fled to Canada from Russia nearly a decade ago, he found a safe haven. As a refugee who had been repeatedly beaten by police in Moscow for protesting in support of LGBTQ rights, he felt safe enough to build a life — finding a partner and buying a house just outside Ottawa.
But over the past two weeks, Romanov, 26, said he has seen a different side of Canada, with an unprecedented demonstration in the country’s capital. The hundreds of truckers and protesters rallying outside Ottawa’s Parliament Hill and demanding an end to Covid-19 vaccine mandates have made him and many others in the city afraid.
“I just don’t feel safe to be there,” Romanov, who travels downtown every day to work as a food delivery driver, told NBC News. “I do not feel safe in downtown Ottawa right now because I have a feeling if people will learn that I’m a refugee and a gay, I’m afraid of some trouble there and to be honest, I am a little bit disappointed that this protest (is) still happening across Canada.”
That heartstring-plucking tale is a perfect fit for the MSM because it exactly parallels the media’s characterization of the “harm” caused to liberals by conservative speech in the United States. Mr. Romanov “doesn’t feel safe” with all of these protests going on. He doesn’t even suggest that anyone has attacked him or even verbally confronted him. He’s just “afraid” that someone will find out he’s gay and presumably come to beat him up or whatever.
There are a couple of problems with this line of attack by NBC News. First of all, nobody is out there protesting against gays or lesbians. Nor are they protesting legal immigrants like Romanov being in the country. They’re protesting the COVID mandates. Now, if he had complained that he was losing work in his delivery driver job because the convoy has shut off deliveries of products that he carries or that the store shelves were bare because cross-border commerce has ground to a halt, he would have a legitimate complaint worth airing. But that angle isn’t good enough for the narrative. There has to be some fear of “harm” from the far-right wing.
As far as all the talk of malevolent forces infiltrating the convoy goes, NBC makes a spirited effort to find examples. They point to “the rare, but still disturbing, presence of Confederate flags and flags bearing swastikas.” I’ve been poring through all of the pictures and videos coming out of Ottawa and I’ve seen precisely two idiots with those types of flags. Even NBC is forced to include the word “rare” in the description, but it still received prominent billing.
Another “frightened” resident is quoted as saying that the protests definitely have a “far-right underbelly.” Returning to Romanov, he describes the protests as, “a small minority of white people who have radical ideas.” I suppose we can just ignore for the moment the fact that Romanov himself is almost painfully white.
So that’s the characterization that most of the media have chosen to run with. The original protests against the vaccine mandates have been coopted by right-wing radicals and underneath it all, Donald Trump must surely be to blame for this somehow. Meanwhile, a Canadian judge has now ordered the truckers to go home.
Dozens protesting Covid-19 rules continued to block the entrance to the Ambassador Bridge between the United States and Canada late Friday, hours after a judge ordered them to leave…
After the judge’s order, police warned that anyone blocking streets or helping to block streets could be arrested. It was not immediately clear when or if law enforcement officers would be sent in to remove the demonstrators.
The protesters are still there. This was obviously a bluff. They don’t have enough jail cells or even enough police in the province to arrest that many people. But the response by the government at both the federal and provincial levels has become increasingly threatening and caustic. People are starting to notice this. It’s gotten bad enough that even Bill Maher went on the air and compared Justin Trudeau to Hitler. I know, right?