Did Some Trucking News Reports Get It Wrong About Recent Trucker Protest?
Little Rock, Arkansas – Organizers of the “Stand As One” slow roll convoy in Indianapolis last week are pleased with the outcome of the event, but you would never know it judging from some of the reporting in the establishment trucking media.
Following the “peaceful protest,” of which no accidents were reported or tickets issued, some trucking news outlets ran headlines which read, “Trucker Protest In Indianapolis Fizzles,” and “Trucker ‘Slow Roll’ To Protest ELDs Attracts 78 Drivers, Far Short of The 400-500 Police Prediction.”
Comments on social media in reaction to the latter headline and news story seemed to echo the report’s narrative. One commenter wrote, “Huge embarrassment.” Another wrote, “Shouldn’t that be some kind of epiphany to them?”
So, if one came to a conclusion about the success of last week’s “slow roll” based on these reports, one would have to conclude it was a disappointment, much like the aforementioned commenters did, right?
Well, did the organizers of the Indy “slow roll” deem it as a flop, as these headlines and coverage would suggest? We asked Bryan Hutchens, one of the actual organizers of the Indy “slow roll,” if he shared the same pessimistic view.
“I believe the slow roll was a success,” Hutchens, who is a co-founder of Black Smoke Matters, a group which participated in the convoy, told Transportation Nation Network (TNN). “We had more media attention than we ever had before.”
As TNN reported last week, a glut of media attention was focused on the event. Hutchens said it was the most media coverage the movement has ever received in a single day.
“We’ve got everything from truck magazines to local news stations,” Hutchens told TNN shortly after completing the approximate 2-hour convoy around Indy. In fact, one Indianapolis news outlet live-streamed the convoy from above in a news chopper.
Amber Furry led the effort to reach out to the news media in the weeks and months leading up to the Indy “slow roll.” She told TNN, “I hammered the news media. That was the most crucial thing.”
“If you are going to report news saying you are for the truck driver then you have to report completely. You can’t just report one side of it.” – Bryan Hutchens, co-organizer of Indy “Slow Roll” convoy
Organizers promoted the Indy “slow roll” as a “media blitz” from the beginning. A simple and quick online search for videos and news coverage related to the event reveals a host of articles and videos that have received hundreds of thousands of views so far.
SLOW ROLL PROTEST PICS (thread): Here’s what the truck driver’s protest looked like when it passed me on I-465 WB near U.S. 31. Click the link for more info on this story:
— Kevin Ratermann (@Kevin_Ratermann) February 21, 2019
So what about those predictions by law enforcement projecting as many as 500 trucks? Hutchens said though event organizers had communication with police about procedures and protocols to ensure everyone’s safety, an expected number of participants was never discussed.
“We had contact with the police but we never gave them a number,” he said. “I don’t even know where that 4oo to 500 came from.”
If the primary goal of the “slow roll” was to generate media attention to the causes of the movement, which include more grievances than just the electronic logging devices (ELD) mandate, then in the estimation of any objective observer, the event was much more of a success than it has been painted to be, Hutchens believes.
Hutchens told TNN the problem is the trucking media outlets running these stories are not even reaching out to organizers before publishing reports as fact. “They are not reaching out to anyone who participated to get a true gauge on what happened,” he commented.
“If you are going to report news saying you are for the truck driver then you have to report completely. You can’t just report one side of it,” he continued.
Co-founder and president of TNN, Raelee Toye Jackson, said its instances like these why Transportation Nation Network was formed. “Truckers deserve better from their media,” she lamented. “We believe in reporting the facts free from the entanglements found in the corporate-driven establishment trucking media, which can sometimes be aligned against the interests of many working truck drivers.”
Jackson said TNN will always strive to “inform, entertain, and most of all, encourage” the trucking community. “Our team at TNN believes that if we serve truckers with passion, truthfulness and appreciation for their contribution to our way of life, then truckers will embrace what we’re doing and reciprocate that gratitude.”
TNN has extensively written about this movement and will continue to cover both sides of the arguments surrounding it. “Our approach, unlike some others, is to report the entire picture, not just cherry-pick the facts in order to further an agenda,” Jackson said. “Truckers are professionals and can better make decisions that are best for them, their livelihoods and families if given the complete story.”
As for Hutchens, he once again reiterated he believes the group’s message is beginning to get out and momentum is building to the 4-12-2019 planned shutdown. “Our numbers are continuing to grow and it’s bringing these groups closer together,” he said.