Issues & Insights
Photo: RBG. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

The ‘Mostly Peaceful’ Lie Gets A Thorough, Well-Earned Debunking

I&I Editorial

Both Democratic officials and their sycophantic media acolytes have used the slippery phrase “mostly peaceful” to describe the riots that have torn apart America — so much, in fact, that it’s now a cliche. But new reports show just how big a lie “mostly peaceful” truly is.

Just this month, as a CNN reporter stood in front of a burning car in riot-torn Kenosha, Wisconsin, the network’s chyron at the bottom of the screen said “Fiery but mostly peaceful protests after police shooting.”

Sorry, they were not “mostly peaceful,” or any of the other false euphemisms used to describe the violent anarchy erupting in cities across the country. Clearly, this is another case of journalists caught in a lie by their very own video images.

Many other instances of such journalistic gaslighting have emerged in recent months. For an interesting and comprehensive roundup, read Christine Rosen’s “Mostly Peaceful: The Birth of an Excuse,” originally published online in Commentary magazine.

But not only have we had the sometimes laughable instances of a journalist standing in front of rioting, burning and looting and then describing it as “mostly peaceful” — the equivalent of describing the Titanic’s first voyage as “mostly uneventful” — now we also have data-based studies that show just how violent these “demonstrations” have been.

A paper published by the Bridging Divides Initiative at Princeton University found that 93% of more than 10,600 demonstrations this summer were peaceful. Those include tiny gatherings of a handful of people with signs.

Of those protests, the study noted, 7,750 were linked to Black Lives Matter.

But as Byron York showed on Twitter, the Princeton study proves the the opposite of its claim: “Princeton University group studies 3 months of Black Lives Matter protests. Intent is to show they are ‘overwhelmingly peaceful.’ But report reveals nearly 570 violent demonstrations — riots — in nearly 220 locations spread all across country.”

Nearly 600 riots in the space of three months can hardly be called “largely peaceful.” It comes out to about six riots a day, on average. And 48 of the nation’s 50 largest cities have been hit with riots.

Yet, that’s not the only new study to reveal the violence of the supposedly peaceful demonstrations. A new report indicates that the financial damage to property, homes, businesses and infrastructure from the rioting has been enormous.

Axios reported this week that, based on data from the widely respected insurance industry data cruncher Property Claims Services, the George Floyd riots alone have now become the most costly in U.S. history. From May 26 to June 8, a period of less than two weeks, insurers expect some $1 billion to $2 billion in claims due to mob activity. That doesn’t include losses taken by those who weren’t insured, or were underinsured.

As PJ Media’s Tyler O’Neil noted, “This total eclipses the $775 million (in 1992 dollars) — $1.4 billion (in 2020 dollars) — paid out after the Los Angeles riots following the acquittal of the police officers who brutalized Rodney King. Other riots in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s did not reach $500 million in 2020 dollars.”

It’s not the money so much as the lives affected. Some 26 people have died from just the George Floyd riots, most of them black. And some 700 buildings were destroyed, representing lost businesses and jobs, many of which were owned and held by black Americans.

Democratic politicians have disgraced themselves and their party by their cheerleading and acquiescence to the violent demonstrations that have increased divisions in the country. Only recently, when Democrats’ own internal polling showed them they were losing votes, did Joe Biden step up, but barely.

He called the protests “utterly American,” but only mildly condemned the “needless destruction.”

Of course, the worst culprits are the media. They have once again abandoned all pretense of fairness and political neutrality, in favor of a rancid extreme-left bias and a more-or-less open alliance with the Democrats against everyone else, including working-class Americans and the Republican Party.

The big media that portrayed these Marxist-inspired demonstrations and riots will not recover from this. Their pathetic performance in covering one of the major events of our time can’t be forgiven. The media should be ashamed. Sadly, they’re not.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

We Could Use Your Help

Issues & Insights was founded by seasoned journalists of the IBD Editorials page. Our mission is to provide timely, fact-based reporting and deeply informed analysis on the news of the day -- without fear or favor.

We’re doing this on a voluntary basis because we believe in a free press, and because we aren't afraid to tell the truth, even if it means being targeted by the left. Revenue from ads on the site help, but your support will truly make a difference in keeping our mission going. If you like what you see, feel free to visit our Donations Page by clicking here. And be sure to tell your friends!

You can also subscribe to I&I: It's free!

Just enter your email address below to get started.


I & I Editorial Board

The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.


  • Nice to have the data to back up what we all saw with our own eyes. Believing the Lyin’ Eyes of the media is never a good choice. Would those moron “reporters” standing in front of burning buildings have had the same reaction if it were their houses going up in flames?

  • Let’s be honest here. These aren’t “protests” at all. They are carefully orchestrated acts of violence provided cover in the form of hundreds of Democrat volunteers to provide a smoke screen into which the criminals can blend in and disappear. They were funded and organized long before George Floyd committed suicide by overdose, as witnessed by the facts that there were bricks and rocks pre-positioned conveniently for professional disruptors bused into these cities with only a day’s notice – impossible without prior preparation.

    The Democrat party has spoken loud and clear – they are perfectly happy to use violence to silence us and to use our fear to take power. Deny them, belittle them, reject them.

  • Not to mention when the insurance companies figure out how much they have paid out and thus what the new risk profile for inner city properties has become , then the renewal premiums will recover retroactively what has been paid out . And of course many of those policies will simply not be renewed at all : good luck next time .

About Issues & Insights

Issues & Insights is run by the seasoned journalists behind the legendary IBD Editorials page. Our goal is to bring our decades of combined journalism experience to help readers understand the top issues of the day. We’re doing this on a voluntary basis, because we believe the nation needs the kind of cogent, rational, data-driven, fact-based commentary that we can provide. 

We Could Use Your Help

Help us fight for honesty in journalism and against the tyranny of the left. Issues & Insights is published by the editors of what once was Investor's Business Daily's award-winning opinion pages. If you like what you see, leave a donation by clicking on donate button above. You can also set up regular donations if you like. Ad revenue helps, but your support will truly make a difference. (Please note that we are not set up as a charitable organization, so donations aren't tax deductible.) Thank you!
%d bloggers like this: