Opinion

Annual hip-hop event turns into riot – media blames cops in spineless headlines

An oversold hip-hop concert turned into a near-riot Sunday when an angry crowd learned it wasn’t going to get the tickets it paid for and began throwing bottles at police trying to maintain security.

And the media is already blaming the cops.

Here’s a quick look at the headlines about Summer Jam 2015 in East Rutherford, N.J., “the hottest hip hop event of the year.”

“NBC: Police in riot gear swarm Summer Jam concert”

“Vibe: Police and concertgoers clash at Summer Jam”

“Asbury Park Press: NJSP fire tear gas into angry Summer Jam concert crowd”

(Note the headlines don’t describe Summer Jam as “hip hop” — that might give uninitiated readers too good of an idea of the demographics involved. They also don’t note that it’s an annual event, which means the cops have a pretty good idea what to expect from its audience.)

According to the actual coverage inside the headlines, what happened was fairly clear. Concert organizers sold more tickets than the venue could handle, a crowd got understandably angry, and some got out of hand.

According to NBC’s story:

State police said crowds of people tried to “illegally” force their way into the sold out concert and became upset when the gates were closed and blocked off. Police said crowds began climbing over fences and forcing their way through security personnel. The gates to the stadium were shut and troopers were called in to help maintain order, police said.

That’s not the impression any casual reader would get from headlines that say cops “swarm” – like there are hundreds of cops in riot gear buzzing around East Rutherford looking for concertgoers to clash with, maybe even fire some tear gas at for the hell of it.

Please. How about a look from people who were there?

People who’ve paid hundreds of dollars for a ticket they didn’t get have a right to be angry — they don’t have a right to climb over fences, force their way through security personnel, or throw bottles at cops, but idiot young people have a tendency to do idiot young people things.

Police commanders facing a bottle-throwing mob would be crazy not to have their men wearing riot gear.

It’s all unfortunate, and it’s all understandable.

But a lazy, sensationalistic media that distorts the situation is unforgivable.

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