Introducing "Activism, Uncensored": A Collaboration With News2Share

Special report from videographer Ford Fischer, on a joint BLM 757/Boogaloo Boys rally in Virginia Beach

Ford Fischer of News2Share is an independent videographer, previously profiled in “Meet the Censored.” If you follow news at all, you’ve probably seen his work, which regularly appears in mainstream outlets. He specializes in shooting scenes of public activism, depicting everything from a woman in Oklahoma City dragged out of a Trump rally for wearing an “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirt to footage of Richard Spencer in the Emmy-award winning PBS film, “White Right: Meeting the Enemy.”

People in Ford’s line of work often travel long distances, chew up advance time arranging interviews, spend days in the cold or the sun or the rain walking alongside marchers or running around cities chasing rumors of street unrest, or listening to people of all political persuasions opine at length into mics — only to go home at night and watch rival news outlets use footage similar to their own to report something different from what they just saw and heard.

The press as a business depends on simple storylines, but they’re not always there. Not all antiwar activists are alike, not all militias are alike, and not everyone who claims to represent a larger movement really does (overseas reporters get this one wrong all the time, at times seemingly by design). Sometimes what looks like a confrontation between groups is actually a collaboration. Turnout can be made to look bigger or smaller than the reality, and 99% of an activist’s comments might be discarded in favor of the one or two lines that fit the easier narrative.

TK has decided to team up with News2Share for a new regular feature called “Activism Uncensored,” which will attempt to give context to mainstream coverage of public protests and demonstrations big and small. Oftentimes shooters like Fischer know activist groups better than most, because they’ve had to follow them over periods of time, and learn to distinguish between monolithic national organizations and more idiosyncratic groups that may all march under one name, but vary wildly from chapter to chapter, region to region.

In this first installment, about a joint action of armed “BLM 757” and Boogaloo activists in Virginia Beach, we see an example of groups depicted as adversaries who in fact were acting in cooperation. Typically Ford lets his footage speak for itself, but in this series (he plans to be in the Midwest next), we’re asking him to add whatever history he knows about the scenes in question, including how they might have been covered, mis-covered, under-covered, and so on. In an effort to avoid simple storylines, the people interviewed will get to speak a little longer, the scenes will roll a little longer, and we’ll try to give you a broader picture, rather than just a piece.

Thanks to Ford and News2Share for working with TK. We hope to add more contributions from diverse sources in the future.