MSNBC host and Emmy nominee Ali Velshi faced an avalanche of online criticism after he described the ongoing Minneapolis unrest as “not, generally speaking, unruly” while reporting live from a burning neighborhood.
Ali Velshi was in Minneapolis, Minnesota to cover the violent uproar over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after his brutal arrest by four police officers days prior.
Giving his take on the situation, Velshi said that the unrest was a lot “calmer” than the day before, while showing news anchor Brian Williams the scenes of destruction in the area. A standoff with police did happen, but it looked “very different” last night, he insisted.
I want to be clear on how I characterize this. This is mostly a protest. It is not, generally speaking, unruly, but fires have been started and this crowd is relishing that.
The ‘not unruly’ part of the coverage sounded particularly odd given that the reporter, once nominated for an Emmy Award, was standing in front of a burning building, with protesters chaotically running around.
People online were enraged by Velshi’s choice of words as video of the coverage made the rounds on social media. Some suggested that “either he has no idea what a protest is or doesn’t have the guts to report the truth,” while others pulled no punches, calling the report “fake news artistry.”
Commenters on Twitter doubted that bringing in the National Guard was a sign that the violence has been brought under control. Footage of local police fleeing the 3rd precinct was also shared to challenge Velshi’s characterization.
As the story developed, MSNBC host Craig Melvin said the network is avoiding the word ‘riots’ while reporting from Minneapolis. While the situation on the ground is “fluid,” it is “most accurate at this time to describe what is happening there as ‘protests,’” he tweeted.
President Donald Trump blasted the Minneapolis mayor for what he called “a total lack of leadership.” If city authorities fail to quell the mayhem, the military will be sent in to do so, he said.