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man reading burning newspaper

And the failure of the local news.

In Austin, there is a live streamer who has been getting a huge backlash for being a non-bias journalist. Hiram Gilberto has been out over the summer documenting the protests and marches happening in Austin. The backlash comes for several reasons.

  • Counter-protesters have been using Hiram’s live streams to find the locations of protests, to come out and harass them.
  • People on the side of the oppressor have been using Hiram’s feeds to identify protesters and dox them.
  • Police have been using Hiram’s feeds to intercept protesters in marches, to block their way or harass them. He hasn’t complied with that.
  • Activists have asked Hiram not to show faces without permission or record the protester’s plans/route. He hasn’t complied with that.

Hiram repeatedly has said to his live feed and to the protesters, he is non-bias and is there to just document. The response has been several Black leaders saying they don’t want non-bias media there. When I first heard this, I raised an eyebrow. However, by listening to their reasons and hearing their experiences, I understood it more. 

Hiram’s non-biased media coverage has directly put many of the protesters in harm’s way. Harm from racist, far-right, counter-protesters and harm from law enforcement officials robbing them of constitutional rights. If non-bias media hurts people of color, can it still be considered non-bias?

woman in white t shirt holding brown wooden board

#502livestreamers

Do you know what’s going on in Louisville, KY? Have you heard? Did you hear there have been protests and marches there every single day for 124 days? Did you know that many of those marches have had hundreds and even thousands of people? And did you know that 99% of the time there has been no violence, no looting, and no vandalism?

Perhaps you haven’t heard anything about Louisville at all. Or perhaps you’ve heard about the looting and riots. If it wasn’t for the 502 Live Streamers, the truth would never be told. 

Why? Because the local news stations, have reporters out there all day, every day, recording for 14 hours. Yet, the only thing they ever play on the news is the 10 minutes when a few stragglers broke off from the march and set a trash can on fire. Local residents have repeatedly called these non-bias media sources out for their bias. Failing to report on the thousands of people out there daily and only reporting when a small group does something, feeds into the racist narrative being pushed in the country right now that Black Lives Matter is rioting and tearing up cities. It’s not true. 

The 502 Live Streamers are out there every single day, live streaming the movement. Unlike Hiram, these guys are widely accepted at these events, because it’s the only way the truth is getting out.  

Check out the #502livestreamers for yourself: Riotheart, Maxwell Mitchell, Tara Bassett, Mathew Ballard, and Jason Downey.

What is the 2020 Civil Rights Movement about?

America is a racist country. America was built on a system of white supremacy. The justice system is biased and racist, as are so many other American institutions. Healthcare and education, just to name a few. 

Because of racist institutions, Black and brown people have a very different American experience than their white counterparts. If you are unaware that or don’t know what’s happening, then you aren’t paying attention.

In every major city in America, millions of people have been watching and protesting for a fairer and more equal society. Every day.

Did you know that there was a civil rights movement happening in America today?

If you didn’t know that, you aren’t alone. There are millions of Americans who are completely unaware that these protests are going on. There are millions more that think there have been riots and looting, despite the fact that the large majority of these protests have been peaceful.

Millions of Americans don’t know that peaceful protests all around the country have been met with police brutality and violence from the right. Why? Why don’t they know?

There is no such thing as non-bias.

In 2020, a person is either racist or anti-racist, there is not an in-between. If a person says they are against racism but fail to call out racism, oppression, or hate, they are complicit.

Racism is not a political issue. It’s a human rights issue.

protesters holding signs

How does non-bias media hurt people of color?

On July 25, 2020, a group of local Weatherford residents scheduled a protest at the local Confederate statue. They were met with hundreds of angry racists who both verbally and physically assaulted them. It was all caught on video. Living Blue in Texas wrote about the incident and within 12 hours, we were bombarded with hate mail, death threats, and trolls on social media. 

Despite the countless video which showed what happened, many of the hate mails and trolls called it fake news and lies, citing an article in Goodday Mineral Wells, which didn’t show the violence and racism that happened in that courthouse square. If you look at the article now, it has since been updated. 

On the morning of July 26th, while sifting through hate mail, reporting threats of violence to the FBI, and banning an army of trolls from the Living Blue in Texas Facebook page, I fired off an angry email to Goodday Mineral Wells about their bias. I wound up speaking to the reporter by phone, who was a really nice person. She was out there, taking pictures and reporting on the story before the second group arrived and the violence broke out. That happened after she left, so she didn’t know about it. In turn, they updated their story and later reported the peaceful protests that Progressives of Parker County later had. 

If it wasn’t for my article, which was later picked up by the Star-Telegram and WFAA, and it wasn’t for my email, the narrative would have remained it was a peaceful, non-racist incident. That narrative would have been wrong. Not only would it have been wrong, but it would have allowed this incident where Black leaders led a group to the Weatherford square to peacefully exercise their first amendment rights, to happen again. And again. If we fail to recognize incidents like this, we also fail to prevent them from reoccurring.

Gainesville, TX.  

If you’ve been following this blog, you know that we’ve been covering the weekly protests in Gainesville, headed by PRO Gainesville for the removal of the Confederate statue on the courthouse lawn. You also know that many of their protests have been met with armed militia, who have threatened them, pointed weapons at them, called them racial slurs, and spit on them. 

The Gainesville Daily Register has been at nearly every protest. They’ve covered nearly every protest, and has referred to the racists on the other side as “counter-protesters.” While I will say lately they have changed their tune lately, in their opinion section, all of their coverage of the protests, when there has been armed opposition, has failed to report on the racism and the threats the Black leaders of Gainesville have faced. 

No other local media, besides the Dallas Observer, has covered the protests in Gainesville. 

When Gainesville organizers have reached out to local media about covering this issue, they haven’t responded. One local news station’s reporter even told them that unless there was violence or some type of drama, their editor wouldn’t let them cover it. 

protester holding a sign

All around Texas. 

There are protests in Dallas, Austin, Houston, and other towns happening daily. Unless you follow one of the groups organizing these protests or one of the few independent journalists covering them, you probably don’t even know they are happening. 

Why isn’t local media or mainstream media covering the hundreds of protests happening all over Texas and America every single day? Because they’re peaceful, boring, and won’t boost ratings. 

The Revolution isn’t being televised because unless someone breaks a window or sets a trashcan on fire, civil rights and Black liberation isn’t interesting enough for local news to cover. That is the bias of non-bias media.

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