Salon - March 7, 2022
Fox News willed the "People's Convoy" into being. For weeks, the network hyped the "trucker" protest in the Canadian capital of Ottawa, spinning it as a grassroots uprising of ordinary Canadians angry about vaccine mandates and other Covid-19 mitigation policies. In reality, however, it was organized by far-right activists — almost none of whom are actually truckers — whose goal was to exploit pandemic anxieties to recruit more people towards a fascist cause. And that is, of course, why Fox News loved it. And that's why the network spent weeks not only glamorizing the occupation that made life hell in the city for weeks but openly begging their viewers to throw together their own version in the U.S. —except with more violence.
It's a testament to the network's power over its audience that soon there was a "People's Convoy" in the U.S., even though there aren't many vaccine or mask mandates for right-wingers to protest. A growing group of angry right-wingers, led by some big rig trucks, took road trips across the country, in theory to converge on D.C. to send this anti-mandate message. Without actual mandates to protest, however, it swiftly became clear that the real purpose of the convoy was to troll liberals and get attention. Quite literally, organizers declared their intention to be a "huge pain" to the residents of D.C., who have long been demonized in barely coded racist terms in the right-wing press.
Ultimately, however, the "People's Convoy" didn't have the courage of their flimsy convictions.
Despite massive amounts of self-aggrandizing hype and a fairly large, nearly all-white rally in Hagerstown, Maryland on Friday, the trolling truckers chickened out at the last minute when it came to actually entering Washington D.C. Instead, they're staying inside their trucks and circling around the Beltway before hiding out again in Hagerstown. The whole thing couldn't be a funnier symbol of the modern right, which likes to talk a big game about how tough they are, but in the end, are such scaredy cats that even being out of their cars in a bona fide city frightens them. ...
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