Trump Campaign Misrepresents 2014 Image Of Ukraine Protesters As Violence In US

Screengrab / Kyle Griffin / Twitter

PMH

The image can be found on Wikimedia Commons. Photographer Mstyslav Chernov has confirmed the photo is his from 2014.

Business Insider reports that a Trump Campaign advertisement apparently comparing “public safety” to “chaos & violence” actually depicts Ukraine in 2014, rather than current American public unrest as implied.

  • First published and July 21, the advertisement juxtaposes two photographs. One is of President Donald J. Trump speaking with law enforcement and bears the label “public safety”; the second photo portrays a group of people apparently attacking a police officer on the ground. It is labeled “chaos & violence.”
  • However, the second image does not depict public violence in America, as the average reader might assume. The photo is actually from 2014, taken in Ukraine during a pro-democracy uprising against former President Viktor Yanukovych.
  • The Guardian explained in 2019 that Yanukovych was overthrown during a series of pro-Western and pro-democracy demonstrations in which his forces killed more than 100 people, many by sniper fire.
  • Yanukovych has since been declared guilty of treason by the current Ukrainian government and allegedly asked Russia’s Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine.

Mstyslav Chernov took the photograph and confirmed to Insider that the image used in Trump’s advertisement is his. He added,

Photography has always been used to manipulate public opinion… The only way to combat this is through education and media literacy. When people learn to independently distinguish truth from lies, then the number of manipulations will decrease.

  • Insider explains that Trump has used “inflammatory language” to describe the numerous demonstrations against systemic racism and police brutality that have ensued across the country since May.
  • Protests have continued for almost two months in Portland, Oregon, where federal officials repeatedly clashed with demonstrators, using tear gas and impact munitions in the altercations.
  • Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf broad-brush described protestors as “violent anarchists” in spite of media reports from CNN asserting that the protesting in Portland is “overwhelmingly peaceful.”
  • “Rather than widespread chaos,” CNN explains, “the epicenter of daytime and nightly protests has largely been relegated to the city block housing the federal courthouse” where federal agents are located.
  • And Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler claims that the federal presence escalated the situation and provoked further violence, squandering an earlier opportunity to restore broad peace when the mood was cooler.

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