Reporting on Operation Gridlock in Colorado is Misleading at Best

by Michael Saad

Operation Gridlock in Denver started it all. And no, I’m not referring to the stay-at-home protests. Several other states, including Michigan and Texas, had already protested before Colorado had theirs on April 19.

I’m talking about the “healthcare” vs “right-wing” craze that’s going around the news circuit. Long story short:

  • protesters out protest the stay-at-home orders mandated by their governor.
  • people dressed in scrubs stand in the street in a ceremonial act to “block” their path.

But not really. They move into the path of traffic when the light turns red, then move to safety when the light turns green – all in the name of photography.

Then, media outlets around the world turn it into a Robin Hood fairy tale about how the brave medical workers are saving us from the diabolical protesters.

scrubs roadside westword
via screenshot Westword

We may never know if the Denver “healthcare workers”, in probably the most viral stay-at-home standoff, are really even healthcare workers. If the scripted journalism that occurred in Virginia on April 22 is any indication… they were probably not.

It seems that the hero media-pawn of 2020 is the healthcare worker and it doesn’t matter what their actual job is, how much time they have on that job or, apparently, if they even have a job.

news 9 nothing changes
“If there was a reason that they weren’t actually health care workers, which I do not think is the case, I don’t think it really changes anything,” said McClaran. “It’s a powerful message about nurses standing strong.”
not sure real healthcare time
via screenshot TIME

I have nothing against Alyson McClaran, the photojournalist that snapped the pics, but her never getting the feeling they weren’t healthcare workers is not an indication that they were healthcare workers.

I do take issue, however, with the media that ran with the story that the 2 counter-protesters are, in fact, healthcare workers and nurses and trying to make what occurred look like something more than it was.

crooks and liars badass
“A Couple of Badass Nurses Blocked Denver Protesters” from Crooks and Liars

In fact, they did back down.

The “standoff”, wasn’t really a standoff like the media has portrayed it. It was a couple of unknown, masked people standing in the road during red lights and moving away on green lights.

After the light turned green, police officers asked the two counterprotesters to move out of the roadway and they complied, a spokesperson for the Denver Police Department told BuzzFeed News. They were not cited.

McClaran said that the police officers were “nice enough” to let the counterprotesters peacefully protest in the middle of the road during the red light.

via BuzzFeed News

In a video posted on Facebook by Eric Hansen, you can see these scrub-clad people are sure enough standing in the middle of a Denver road.

These badasses are letting the camera presence elevate their ego to a level that’s usually reserved for someone with authority. What I see when I watch the clip below, is one of these traffic disrupting “badasses” breaking the law, but nobody wants to talk about that.

via Facebook Eric Hansen

A person commits criminal mischief when he or she knowingly damages the real or personal property of one or more other persons…

Colorado Criminal Code § 18-4-501 Criminal Mischief

Accidents happen. If, when the truck was moving along, the guy brushed against the vehicle and accidentally made the flyer fall off – it would have been an accident.

However, in this instance, scrubman got agitated at the dissident driver because his perceived authority as a “healthcare worker” wasn’t being recognized, so he intentionally reached for the posterboard that was affixed to the SUV and ripped it off that man’s vehicle.

In doing so, he violated 18-4-501.

voz wire protesters

My issue is not with the media covering these “healthcare heroes”, it’s that they are ignorantly portraying them as “healthcare anything” for the sole purpose to gain support – without even verifying they are, in fact, healthcare workers.

They are protesters, just like the other side, they are protesting for something they believe in.

I do find it ironic, and a tad bit hypocritical, that a protester can protest people being out in the open – when they themselves are out in the open to protest. What gives them magical permission? Do they think they are better, smarter, more prepared to handle a virus no-one knows really anything about?

If I were to don a purple dinosaur suit, would that make me Barney? No. It would make me someone who likes to play dress-up when I go out.

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