Cliven Bundy Ranch Dispute: Huge Difference Between Coverage by Conservative and Liberal Media


The Cliven Bundy ranch dispute has gained a lot of attention but is getting hugely different coverage from conservative and liberal media outlets.

Bundy is involved in a dispute with federal authorities over cattle grazing northeast of Las Vegas in Nevada.

He says that he has the right to graze his cattle on open range, which currently includes a portion of desert that houses the endangered desert tortoise. His right comes from his Mormon family settling and ranching in the area since the 19th century, he says.

Federal authorities say that cows are trespassing on the arid and fragile habitat and note that Bundy lost federal court cases challenging the roundup and that he was ordered by a federal judge last October not to interfere in any roundup.

Bundy, who represented himself in the court cases, has vowed to do whatever it takes to protect his property. He has characterized the dispute as a “range war.”

Conservative outlets such as Fox News, the Blaze, and InfoWars are highlighting Bundy’s argument and claiming that the government is overreaching with armed federal agents and use of force in the case.

“Nevada Rancher Threatens ‘Range War’ Against Government,” reads one Fox headline. “Cliven Bundy Calls on Sheriff to Start Arresting BLM Feds” reads another article, from InfoWars.

Liberal outlets, meanwhile, are painting Bundy as a lawbreaker who deserves what he’s getting and playing down any use of force.

“The federal government moved some cows and Nevada’s governor isn’t happy about it,” read one headline from the Washington Post. “Cliven Bundy: right-wing extremist domestic terrorist lawbreaker,” reads another article, from Daily Kos.

See an update from The Associated Press that seems to illustrate both sides below.

Stun gun used on rancher’s son in cattle roundup 

LAS VEGAS—Tensions have escalated between protesters and federal police who used a stun gun on a son of a Nevada rancher fighting a roundup of cattle that he claims have historical grazing rights northeast of Las Vegas.

No serious injuries were reported and no arrests were made, but family members told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that rancher Cliven Bundy’s 57-year-old sister also was knocked to the ground during a confrontation Wednesday involving dozens of protesters and several U.S. Bureau of Land Management rangers.

The son, Ammon Bundy, told the Spectrum of St. George, Utah, that he was hit with stun charges twice.

He acknowledged that he climbed on a dump truck, suspecting that it contained cattle that had been killed during the roundup.

Amy Lueders, Nevada state BLM director, would not discuss details of the incident during a conference call with reporters late Thursday, saying only that it is under investigation.

“Public safety is key to this operation,” Lueders said, who described the episode as a “very isolated incident.”

The incident on State Route 170 followed the arrest Sunday of another Bundy son, Dave Bundy. He was released Monday with a citation accusing him of refusing to disperse and resisting arrest.

A video posted to the Internet showed protesters waving signs and shouting and law enforcement officers holding yellow stun guns with barking dogs straining at leashes near trucks involved in the roundup.

The BLM and the National Park Service have shut down an area half the size of Delaware while hired cowhands using helicopters and vehicles gather about 900 cattle that officials say are trespassing.

Rancher Derrel Spencer speaks during a rally in support of Cliven Bundy near Bunkerville Nev. Monday, April 7, 2014, 2014. The Bureau of Land Management has begun to round up what they call “trespass cattle” that rancher Cliven Bundy has been grazing in the Gold Butte area 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, John Locher)

Krissy Thornton, right, and Burgundy Hall protest with others near Bunkerville, Nev. Wednesday, April 9, 2014. The group is protesting the Bureau of Land Management’s roundup of what they call “trespass cattle” run by Cliven Bundy in the Gold Butte area 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, John Locher)

Kellie Houston, niece of Cliven Bundy, cries after speaking at a public meeting in the Moapa Valley Community Center in Overton, Nev. Wednesday, April 9, 2014. The meeting was about the roundup by the Bureau of Land Management’s of what they call “trespass cattle” run by Cliven Bundy in the Gold Butte area 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, John Locher)

Contractors for the Bureau of Land Management round up cattle belonging to Cliven Bundy with a helicopter near Bunkerville, Nev. Monday, April 7, 2014. The Bureau of Land Management has begun to round up what they call “trespass cattle” that rancher Cliven Bundy has been grazing in the Gold Butte area 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, John Locher)

Cattle belonging to Cliven Bundy are rounded up with a helicopter near Bunkerville Nev. Monday, April 7, 2014. The Bureau of Land Management has begun to round up what they call “trespass cattle” that rancher Cliven Bundy has been grazing in the Gold Butte area 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, John Locher)

Bundy, whose Mormon family settled, farmed and ranched in Bunkerville since the 19th century, claims branded and feral animals on the range are his — and that he has the right to graze his cows on open range.

Lueders blamed Bundy for the events.

“Mr. Bundy is breaking the law and has been breaking the law for the past 20 years,” she said.

“We are engaged in this because of a single individual … who has refused to abide by the law of the land,” Lueders said, adding that Bundy’s actions “do a disservice to the thousands of law abiding ranchers in the West.”

The showdown is seen as a flashpoint in a longstanding battle over state and federal land rights predating the Sagebrush Rebellion of the 1970s and ’80s.

The government says the cows are trespassing on arid and fragile habitat of the endangered desert tortoise. They note that Bundy lost federal court cases challenging the roundup and that he was ordered by a federal judge last October not to interfere in any roundup.

Bundy, who represented himself in the court cases, has vowed to do whatever it takes to protect his property. He has characterized the dispute as a “range war.”

Shows of force by heavily armed federal agents and the creation of a protest corral labeled a “First Amendment area” drew complaints this week from Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval and GOP U.S. Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada.

The tactics have also drawn attention from militia members vowing to protect Bundy and his family.

Ryan Payne and Jim Lardy, self-described members of a militia group from Montana, told the Review-Journal that they arrived Tuesday to place themselves as a barrier between tyranny and oppression.

Bearing holstered handguns they said they always wear, Payne, 30, and Lardy, 49, said their goal was for no one to be harmed and for Bundy’s property and rights to be protected.

Stephen Dean, 45, an artist from Utah, said he made the trip with a video camera in hopes of heading off another Ruby Ridge or Waco, referring to deadly confrontations involving federal agents in Idaho in 1992 and in Texas in 1993.

Photographers were on hand when BLM rangers shot Ammon Bundy several times with stun guns and Cliven Bundy’s sister, Margaret Houston, said she was knocked to the ground by a BLM officer.

The Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service released a statement saying the confrontation developed when a protester crashed an all-terrain vehicle into a BLM truck driven by a contractor and protesters converged on the area.

The statement alleged that peaceful protests of the roundup that started Saturday had “crossed into illegal activity,” including blocking vehicles, impeding cattle movement and “making direct and overt threats to government employees.”

“These isolated actions that have jeopardized the safety of individuals have been responded to with appropriate law enforcement actions,” it said.

Meanwhile, federal officials reported that 352 cows have been collected. State veterinarian and brand identification officials are expected to determine what becomes of the impounded cattle.

 

Category: US Politics US News


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