Protests, riots, and the news media


On Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014 the annual Pumpkin Fest was held at Keene State College in Keene, N.H., a celebration where the community tries to set a world record for having the most carved and jack-o-lantern-ed pumpkins.

This seemingly sweet event changed abruptly as some of the Pumpkin Fest goers lost control and began to riot throughout the entire event, destroying property and setting many objects on fire.

The news media started to compare the riot to the Ferguson protests and that became a concern to many who have been actively following the action in Ferguson.

The Pumpkin Fest riot and the Ferguson protests are not one of the same. There has yet to be a consensus of how the festival riots even began, let alone a leading cause to the belligerence. Therefore, the media should not have compared the two events.

Once the news media heard about Ferguson, they made out the angry protesters as “rowdy animals” without listing the cause as to why they were protesting in the first place, while the Pumpkin Fest protesters were often referred to as “mischievous college students” who drank too much. The news media seemed to down play these student’s destruction while making the Ferguson protests appear wild and without cause.

Is this because the news media only reports what they can view rather than getting the full story? An outside viewpoint would have appeared the same since law enforcement used force, rubber bullets and tear gas on both the protesters and the rioters. So to someone who did not know much about either event, they would have “looked” the same. But does that mean that they should be reported as the same?

Overall, the news media must start looking deeper into the story. If not, they will continue to compare apples to oranges.