After members of a rightwing militia—many armed with assault rifles—seized the headquarters of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon on Saturday afternoon, observers questioned the corporate media’s treatment of the event, pointing to a double standard in coverage compared to other recent protests.
The Oregonian reported Saturday that Ammon Bundy, the son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who was the leader of a notorious standoff over cattle grazing rights last year, had “joined with hard-core militiamen Saturday to take over the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, vowing to occupy the remote federal outpost 30 miles southeast of Burns for years.”
The occupation—protesting the prosecution of two Oregon ranchers, Dwight Hammond Jr. and Steven Hammond, who are to report to prison on Monday for arson—followed a march through the town of Burns.
According to The Oregonian:
But despite the extreme nature of the demonstration, both media and law enforcement response appears muted, according to critics on social media and beyond.
This isn’t the first time the Bundys have seemingly benefited from such a double standard.
In November 2015, watchdog site Media Matters pointed out that while Fox’s coverage of campus protests against racial discrimination was—at best—dismissive, its reporting “looked drastically different when those protesting have aligned with the network’s conservative agenda.”
Media Matters’ Olivia Kittel wrote:
Critics highlighted the hypocrisy on Twitter with the hashtag #OregonUnderAttack: