The Great Pumpkin Riot of 2014.

If you don’t read the news you 1) should really consider a different major and 2) need to know that white kids rioted at the annual Keene New Hampshire pumpkin festival for no reason at all this Saturday.

That’s right. The Keene Sentinel reported numerous injuries and dozens of arrests following a night of clashes with area police and town-wide property destruction that included street fires and flipped cars.

The Sentinel spoke with Steven French, 18, who was visiting from Haverhill, Massachusetts. He said the riots were, “wicked.”

“It’s just like a rush. You’re revolting from the cops,” French told the paper Saturday night. “It’s a blast to do things that you’re not supposed to do.”

The great pumpkin riot of 2014 might not go down in history, but one recent riot will be noted for years to come.

In Ferguson, Missouri, people rioted after Daren Wilson, a white police officer shot unarmed black teen,  Michael Brown, six times, killing him on the sidewalk. The shooting ignited racial tensions that had been smoldering just under the surface of American life for decades.

People in Ferguson had been and continue to protest peacefully, demanding justice for Michael Brown, but one night of looting overshadowed dozens of demonstrations and marches. The media spin was enough to cast a criminal light on the Ferguson protestors.

Fox news didn’t hesitate to call angry black protestors thugs and criminals. But back in Keene, Fox quoted a Grad student as saying, “I watched thousands of kids pile into a backyard and kind of go crazy.”

For those of you keeping score at home:

Black protestors=violent criminals

Drunk White College Kids=kind of crazy

If this class has taught us anything, it’s that the media has a way with words and images. Below is a quote from Bill O’Reilly on the Ferguson riots followed by a simple rewording of his statement to frame the pumpkin riot.

Fox News Pundant Bill O’Reilly made the following comments about the riots in Ferguson, Missouri:

Outrage in Ferguson

Outrage in Ferguson

“That’s just disgusting. One of the worst things that we saw was that looting of the liquor store where there was actually a guy with a gun shooting the lock off the door. This is really beyond the pale. These people, are they protesting police violence? Are they protesting the death of this young man? No, they’re not. They’re stealing stuff, they’re looting stuff. They’re thugs. So I think everybody has really got to put this into perspective,” said O’Reilly.

Now, let’s just change a few words:

Bored white kids in New Hampshire

Bored white kids in New Hampshire

That’s just disgusting. One of the worst things that we saw was the smashing of pumpkins and we actually saw a guy throwing bottles at police officers. This is really beyond the pale. These people, are they protesting police violence? Are they protesting the death of a young man? No, they’re not. They’re flipping cars and lighting bonfires. They’re thugs. So I think everybody has really got to put this into perspective.

Italian freelance journalist, Tomaso Clavarino, said in a RT story about the Ferguson riots, “Malcolm X reminds us that the media is a key instrument of subjugation, because it determines which acts are respectable and which are extreme and thus illegitimate.”

 

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About jasonkotoch

This blog is my workspace for Intro to Multi-media Reporting.
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One Response to The Great Pumpkin Riot of 2014.

  1. nicoledotzenrod says:

    Changing O’Reilly’s words about Ferguson to the riots at Keene State was a really powerful way to show how people in the media talk regarding different races. Comparable to the articles we read that were written about American problems in the way we talk about the Middle East, it’s a really eye-opening way to illustrate the impact of word choice. As journalists it’s definitely important to keep these things in mind when we cover stories.

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