Odd that the Bundy story didn’t preoccupy the press as much as a Trump sneeze
By Bob Dorn
Mainstream media largely failed to come up with breaking news of the arrest of the Bundys and a significant number of their cohort this week.
It was a failure that may have been intended. For weeks after January 2nd—when the cowboy sons of Nevada’s Cliven Bundy took over the Malheur bird refuge in Paiute Indian territory—the major outlets of television and traditional press just seemed to look the other way.
Did we learn where and how the negotiations between the FBI and the cowboy fantasists were taking place? Why did they run so late in the game stories about what laws were being broken? Normal journalistic behavior wasn’t much in evidence, unless you look at what the local press in Oregon was doing.
There it was a different story. The small presses and radio stations were covering city hall meetings where the Bundys freely traveled so they could convince local residents of the righteousness of their cause. Those stories indicate most residents wanted them out. Some videos appeared online. Information was out there, it just wasn’t skylined and spotlighted by the nationals.
Odd that the Bundy story didn’t preoccupy the press as much as a Trump sneeze.
Here’s a quick look at how we learned the Bundys and their Boys had their shootout with the FBI in which one of them was killed.
Local radio stations were carrying the news by midday.
Daily Kos had tweets up by 5:53 the same day saying one of the Bundys’ top dogs was still at the Malheur refuge, vowing to fight if the FBI used force to round up the rest of the dogs.
I watched Lester Holt on NBC nightly news at 5:30 p.m. and there was nothing. CBS and its drone anchor, Scott Pelley, had nothing.
By 9:55 p.m. CBS had posted an online story by Associated Press.
The day after the story, January 27, The New York Times had nothing on the front page of its online edition, except for a reefer click line that takes the reader to a gallery of 5 pictures from its archives, including one of the dead cowboy terrorist Lavoy Finicum, and 6 mughots of some of those arrested. There was no story.
A sister paper of The Times, The Boston Globe, did better, showing the story as its lead story of the day. The Chicago Tribune did as well.
The LA Times used a general transportation story for its top of the page, and referred to the Bundy story with a click box.
Google News took the story more seriously, using the LA Times story that the paper had downplayed.
Surely it’s true this is a quick and slight survey of the coverage.
But all national coverage came well after—the day after—local sources were reporting the story. It almost seemed like the national people were hoping no one had noticed the arrests. Sort of like the reverse of journalism; look away from the story so you can say there is no story.
Surely there will be books out on the Bundys, and maybe some reprints of books on similar militant, radical, nativist, racist, white and privileged gun nuts whom our law enforcement normally handles with more care than 12-year-old kids waving a toy pistol in a snowy portion of a Cleveland park.
We’ll know eventually how many or how few gun cowboys were with the Bundys and why they were able to travel freely to city hall meetings outside the territory they occupied. And we’ll know what changed the minds of the FBI and brought about the roadblock that caught the 10 people last Tuesday.
But it’s pretty clear the national press has no interest in saying why it couldn’t give us breaking information on this story.