We need to have a chat about headlines.
In the pre-internet newspaper days, headlines could afford to be a little more truthful. Not that they always were of course, but the headline itself wasn't the make or break situation we now have online. Now it's all about clickability.
So, The Washington Post had this headline on Tuesday:
"White-supremacist rally cost D.C. at least $2.6 million, preliminary estimate shows."
Now which is going to get more clicks in this context – white-supremacist? Or Antifa? White-supremacist is the better bet because the average American probably doesn't have a clue what Antifa is. Antifa itself barely knows what it is.
For starters, how can you even call the white-supremacist thing in D.C. on Sunday a "rally"? Several estimates put the attendance at 24. There are home-school pep rallies that attract bigger crowds than that. The Washington Post generously listed the attendance as "fewer than 40 supporters."
Now, this is not a defense of the white-supremacist low-lifes who showed up, but apparently, they were peaceful. It was the hundreds of Antifa members who actually skirmished with police and therefore required a large police presence. Long after the rally was over, Antifa lit smoke bombs and firecrackers, and threw eggs at police. Then they knocked over trash cans and yelled at police to get out of their cars and "meet us in the streets."
The Post article explains that the $2.6 million price tag was for staffing and overtime for D.C.'s 3,900-member police force: "…law enforcement responded with a massive presence to keep the white supremacists physically separated from thousands of counter-protesters."
The misleading part of the headline, is that the bulk of the police effort – and expense – didn't have to focus on the puny racist rally at all.
Okay, I get it, but once you arrived and saw there were only twenty-something white-supremacists, couldn't you have sent a few of those 3,900 officers home and saved yourself a million bucks or so?
$2.6 million is insane for such a non-event. But the reality is, and the misleading part of the headline, is that the bulk of the police effort – and expense – didn't have to focus on the puny racist rally at all. Instead, it had to focus on keeping the anarchist thugs in ninja suits from tearing up the city. There's your headline.