Over the weekend it is likely you saw the video from Angela Marsden, a California restaurant owner who was exposing the rampant hypocrisy taking place in Los Angeles regarding shutting down businesses. Marsden laid out the major discrepancy she, and countless other business owners are facing by a power-mad and uncaring government apparatus. Beyond just the politicians playing favorites with big business at the expense of their own citizens, now the press is also playing along.
NBC News used Marsden’s video in a news piece for a recent broadcast, although it severely altered the content. Once it is explained why, the outrage should only be dialed up even higher. On the Sunday edition of The Today Show there was a segment from reporter Meagan Fitzgerald about the nationwide issues surrounding Covid restrictions and lockdowns. In the segment, Fitzgerald ran portions of Marsden’s video, but it was heavily edited down, with some very telling aspects omitted.
First we need to revisit the original video.
Bar owner in Los Angeles CA is livid to see that mayor Garcetti has approved an outdoor dining area for a movie company directly across from her outdoor dining area (which was shut down) pic.twitter.com/jkUP2CWg35
— Jake Coco 💙🇺🇸🎶🐻 (@jakecoco) December 4, 2020
Marsden is walking outside her restaurant, The Pineapple Hill Saloon And Grill. Marsden had already complied with prior restrictions imposed on her business, making arrangements for outdoor seating to serve patrons. She had a pair of large exterior tents with picnic table seating, spaced further apart than the mandated 6 foot distance. But new closures delivered by Governor Gavin Newsom, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti declared Marsden’s outdoor seating was now banned.
In her single-take, unedited video Marsden points out how in the same parking lot a series of similar tents had been erected, with seating inside and other arrangements. This was for a Hollywood production taking place nearby. The multiple tents were set up for catering to be provided to the cast and crew. These were approved and permits had been issued by the city. Not fifty feet from those catering tents were situated Marsden’s nearly identical arrangement, which was shut down as a health risk.
This wildly hypocritical double-standard was shared across social media, and many news networks picked up on it, including Sunday Today. The edits made to Marsden’s plainly revealing video not only altered her messaging but it also bypassed one important detail. After three brief clips of the restaurateur’s message Meagan Fitzgerald framed her words, via voice-over: “Businesses and livelihoods hit hard. But the toughest toll of all, is losing loved ones.” Then, to drive home the dismissive nature of the report, we are served a still photo of a coffin at a funeral.
But more is taking place than simply downplaying the significance of Pineapple Hill Saloon’s struggles. Fitzgerald, in her report, never even alluded to the crux of the original video, that a Hollywood film set was allowed to operate mere feet from the closed down business, and the reason becomes obvious now that details emerged. That filming location was for the primetime television show ‘’Good Girls’’ — an hour long comedic drama showing on NBC.
So here we have a major network news program engaging in the practice that the press normally is scornful over — heavily-edited video — and doing so seemingly for the purpose of protecting the image of the parent company. Fitzgerald’s slashing edits make Angela Marsden’s words appear as an emotional overreaction in the face of a grave threat, all while ignoring the reality that her network was granted permission where the gentry is seeing its liberties restricted.
Just to underscore the journalistic malpractice, note that Fitzgerald had to tag the presence of Covid deaths directly after the comments made by a desperate business owner, in order to suggest misplaced priorities, yet there was no such emotional manipulation regarding the actions of her own network. This business owner needs to close down, or people will die, is the message. Network primetime comedy shows, however, are far too important to be restricted in similar fashion.