What the Mainstream Media Got Wrong About San Jose’s Anti-Trump Rally

Last Thursday’s Anti-Trump Rally in San José made national headlines that were one-dimensional stories of defenseless Trump supporters victimized by violent protesters. Protesters at the rally found themselves all over the news portrayed inaccurately, so they wrote their own accounts to set the record straight with a more complete picture.

See What You Want to See, Hear What You Want to Hear

Mathew Gonzales

       The author, Mathew Gonzales caught a glimpse of himself on MSNBC when he protested at the rally. 

The day after Donald Trump brought his hateful rhetoric tour to San Jose, California, I woke up to a Facebook message from Alan Rappeport of The New York Times. He wanted to talk to me about what transpired the day before at the Donald Trump protest that I helped organize through my event titled "Manda Donald Trump a la chingada." I spoke with him over the phone for about 30 minutes. I explained to him that on my event page I was promoting a peaceful protest. I told him that the violence escalated when a Trump supporter punched a teenage kid in the face. It was after that when you see other scuffles breaking out. It was after that, you see the lady get egged in the face. What you did not see was that same lady flipping off and agitating the crowd by yelling "Go back to Mexico!" You did not see that on the "Breaking News" did you?

After I finished my conversation with Mr. Rappeport, the article broke a few hours later online and it also appeared in print the next day on Saturday June 4th. I think everyone knows that The New York Times is one of the most recognizable newspapers in the world. So I was pretty nervous as to what he was going to write about me. But I was confident that I made sure to stress that a lot of the people at the protest were demonstrating in a peaceful manner. I stressed that it was only a few bad apples on BOTH sides that turned the protest into the sh** show you saw on TV.

Then I read the headline:

“Anti-Trump Voices Amplify on Internet, With Violent Results” - New York Times

I was filled with disappointment when I read that title. I knew what that meant. I felt like I was in the wrong for wanting to practice my first amendment right. I felt like all the peaceful protesters were being generalized because they decided to also attend the demonstration. I almost felt responsible. But I quickly snapped out of it because I knew what was happening. I knew that newspapers needed to be sold. I knew that the story with a musician that is promoting peace is not going to be as good as the musician that is angry, and that wants to “do something about it.”

If there was any quote that I wanted Mr. Rappeport to use it would have been this one that I told him in our phone conversation:

“As an artist I try to use whatever voice I have in my community to speak against injustice. I firmly believe that the only way to bring about change is to lead by example. You can only change what is in your immediate surroundings. That is why I created the event in the first place. I hoped to inspire people to get up and get downtown and let Donald Trump know that his hateful rhetoric was not welcomed in our city.” - Mathew Gonzales

As soon as the article came out, I have been getting message after message of:

“Rot In Hell!”
“Go back to your Country Wetback!”
“I hope you die!”
“Go back to Mexico!”
“You are a riot inciter!”

It was a rough day for me after that article came out. I haven’t experienced that sort of hate directed at me ever in my life. I was not afraid. I became emotional. I did not sleep. Not because of what was being said, but because that hate still exists in this world. The ignorant hate that people had to experience during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s, and we are in Two Thousand F••king Sixteen!!

                                       Some of the comments left on Mathew's event page.

In all due respect, I have to point the finger at mainstream media for making this monster we know as Donald Trump. They are not doing this because he is saying anything of substance, but because it sells. The problem with the mainstream media is that they spin the story so that it is more appealing on TV or in print. The problem with mainstream media is that there is a lot of censorship and agendas involved with certain news networks or newspapers, so certain things can’t be said or published. They only show you one side of the story. And the biggest problem with mainstream media is that you only see what they want you to see, you only hear what they want you to hear.

The Media Took a Picture of Me, Then Made Up a False Caption
Daniel Zapien

        Photo used for ABC News of Daniel helping someone off of his friend's car after rallying around the car.

First off, I am born and raised in San Jose. My Abuelita and Abuelito are from Michoacan. Today, I have the responsibility to set the record straight on the media’s depiction of my city. During the protest I showed up in my friend’s car and we saw the protestors walking towards us. We were playing the song “F*ck Donald Trump” by Nipsey Hussle and YG. As they got close, I hopped out of the car and we all started dancing and chanting “F*ck Donald Trump.” That was when ABC News took a picture of me. I am the one with the white shirt. But the media just made up a description.

ABC News wrote:

"Rally attendees head back to their cars were egged, followed and intimidated by some of the protesters. At one point, a large group of demonstrators surrounded a Trump supporter, throwing bottles and spitting at him while he walked back to his vehicle."

This was followed by the above photo of me. Nothing could have been farther from the truth.

Now the news would not show the positive energy of people dancing in the streets like our ancestors who would dance around a fire. In this dance there were Black and Brown unity, Whites, Asians, Natives, and all the other colors of the human palette coming together against the hate spewed by Trump. There was no violence at all. In fact, even when we started to notice dents to the roof of the car, we asked people to get off and everyone obliged happily and laughed, understanding that this was the only car we have. They then began chanting “F*ck Donald Trump” and went on with the protest walking down San Carlos Street.

But the media did not highlight that part of the protest, the side of San Jose people voicing, nonviolently, our political beliefs. On top of that, the media definitely did not show all the Trump supporters taunting the peaceful protestors like the woman who was seen all over the media egged and crying, who seconds before stood there for minutes yelling "Go back to Mexico!" with her middle fingers up while recording on her phone.

Now violence is never the answer. But the media did not show the Brown Beret activist telling people to be peaceful. Or the Trump supporter talking sh*t to all the protestors and four young Latina women who told the crowd not to take the bait when people were being called “wetbacks” and told to “go back to Mexico.” Oh no, the media just wanted to depict San Jose as a bunch of savages.

Of course we all know the game that is played by media to boost ratings, or try to sell the most sensational story, but before you start going off on the subject, that you do not know about, please figure out how to talk to the locals. It’s 2016, we all have social media, and can always set the record straight.

We Are Not "Thugs" 
Ashlie Andrade

What I learned from Thursday’s Trump protest was how truly deceiving the media can be. Many of us who came out to the protest saw the unity in our community here in San Jose. But to those of you who only watched the same five clips, you didn’t get a chance to see that. You had to read distorted headlines such as “Ugly bloody Scenes of Trump Supporters Being Attacked” in the Washington Post. But don't believe everything the media is saying or showing. Their job is to attract readers, views, and subscribers and what sells more than a headline reading something like “disheveled mob inciting violence on innocent supporters”?

What was not captured was Trump supporters pepper spraying the crowd, antagonizing protestors with racial slurs, and walking through the crowd with raised fists. Where is the media coverage on his supporters and their actions? I’ve seen videos that seem to be more sympathetic with Trump's racist bigot followers, than the peaceful protestors who are being yelled at by a once closeted racist who nows feel empowered by Trump's propaganda to come out in the open and spew hatred to immigrant and minority communities.

The reality is most of us who attended were protesting peacefully and when we did see these outbreaks of violence (myself included) we broke them up. There was one specific incident where I saw a few younger kids taunting a Trump supporter, then physically assaulting him. I ran over to break the situation up and told the youngsters to “keep this the people’s protest, don’t let them take it away from us.” The supporter then proceeded to tell me, “Well, then maybe you should tell your little homies to stop starting sh*t.” As if I were the voice of the people who were initiating this violence.

These handful of isolated incidents which were captured are being played against us and our city. And while violence is not a true representation of our city, the unity and camaraderie that was not captured is the truth of San Jose. We are a city who prides ourselves on our history, culture, and community. And to those of you who gave the media what they wanted, I understand violence, but am not condoning it. I knew they would they use it against us, but this protest was the people taking back the streets and fighting the opposition by letting him know we will not stand for his ideology. This right here is what unity looks like, this is what the fight against a vote for the illusion of white America looks like, and this is my community. We are not “thugs”, we are students, musicians, artists, LGBTQ activists, writers and more. This is what it is like when the minority becomes the majority.

Mathew Gonzales is a San Jose Producer/Musician for over 16 years. Projects he currently works with are SueanatronAnya and The Getdown, and Philthy Dronez. 



Ashlie Andrade is a San Jose artist and teacher. She currently teaches art to youth at a local community center.


Daniel Zapien is a San Jose native photojournalist who has worked for DeBug for over 5 years.  
This article is part of the categories: Community  / Immigration  / Politics  / San Jose//South Bay 
This article is part of the tags: Donald Trump  / Dump Trump  / Media Bias  / Protest 


You're a hero in my book man, we all know what really happened, we know SJ, we know it's people and their struggles. You may be misquoted, misrepresented and the world may misjudge you but you're fighting against hate and intolerance.

Thank you for clarifying the situation. Mainstream media did make us look bad with the article they wrote. I needed an article to back up the bad comments made towards San Jose and the anti trump crowd. I Thank you for your work, we are with you and the cause all the way!

Mil gracias and keep up the great work!

I am so sorry you have had to experience the media. I know how the media only sells what they think and know what people want to read. Somehow someway there has to be a way to get the truth out of what really happened for example put the picture of the so called poor lady that was egged and how she instigated trouble put that picture out all over Facebook all over Social media to be shared shared somehow get the truth out there. You're really a good person by not showing the names of the people that sadly told you such ugly things I can understand why they were marked over but they really needed to be exposed so they could hear from San Jose instead of them being protected. I am glad you have told it like it was and hope that many many read this and get the real story of what really happened.. What happened and how it was spread is so very angering!!

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