The mainstream media is always on the lookout to generate sympathy for protesters against the government in every instance, regardless of the cause of the protests. The media is aware that the ordinary person is not fond of nonsensical protests because in the end, it’s the ordinary citizen who has to suffer the harassment such protests usually entail. Therefore, the mainstream media is always on the look out for positive stories.
One particular brand of ‘positive stories’ that is used time and again is the ‘protesters let ambulance through’ schtick. The objective here is to suggest that the protesters are extremely kind to have let the ambulance pass even though the protesters are the very reason the ambulance is finding it difficult to pass through.
The objective here is to emphasize the ‘humanity’ of the protesters and it is usually employed to whitewash protests that have been rife with violence. The visuals are meant to suggest that the protesters are not unruly, which they generally are. And somehow, during every protest, the media inevitably manages to find that one ambulance that somehow manages to pass through the protests.
Thus, on the 6th of February, the day of Chakka Jam by ‘farmer protesters’, NDTV shared a video of how they let an ambulance pass. It was meant to convey the large-heartedness of the protesters, ignoring the fact that the ambulance lost a lot of crucial time navigating through the obstacles the protesters had created.
NDTV managed to find such an ambulance during the anarchy and chaos on Republic Day as well. Again, it needs to be emphasized here that the ambulance was losing precious time while navigating through the obstacles created by the protesters but somehow, it is transformed into an instance of generosity by protesters.
NDTV managed to find one on the 8th of December Bharat Bandh as well.
NDTV had a protester-ambulance story even on the 28th of November.
And there is more from the 3rd of December.
But the farmer protests are not the first time that we are witnessing the use of ambulance propaganda. It happened during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the NRC as well.
And it’s not that only NDTV is involved in such propaganda, other media outlets are involved as well.
The ambulance made its way through Jamia students as well, the university which was at the heart of the violence and chaos that was observed during the anti-CAA protests.
Another thing to note is that according to the news reports on such ambulances, the protesters are always reported to have won hearts. Thus, considering all of this, it is pretty obvious that such stunts are heavily publicized in order to invent a positive image for the protesters and whitewash the violence they have unleashed.
However, given the overuse of the tactic, people have certainly caught on to the trick.