Dem: Media glorifies white militants, demonizes black protesters
© Greg Nash

Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) on Tuesday blasted the media’s portrayal of the militiamen who have overtaken a federal building in Oregon, saying the armed white men are treated better by the press than black protesters of police violence.

Edwards, who is running for Senate and would be the only African-American woman in the upper chamber, said in a statement that the activists protesting the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of white police officers have been called “thugs, criminals and drug users” by the media.

“To the contrary, most of these protests and protesters have been peaceful, and organizers have sought and obtained permission to peaceably assemble in exercise of their Constitutional rights,” Edwards writes.

Conversely, Edwards argued that the armed white men who have taken control of a facility at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in rural Oregon have been portrayed by the media in a positive light.

“A group of armed men illegally occupying a federal building have been referred to as an ‘armed militia,’ or simply ‘occupiers,’ as though that behavior is acceptable in a nation of laws,” Edwards said. “What is happening in Oregon is not protest sanctioned by the Constitution, it is lawbreaking.”

Edwards, an African-American woman, is running to replace retiring Sen. Barbara MikulskiBarbara Ann MikulskiBottom Line Listen, learn and lead: Congressional newcomers should leave the extremist tactics at home The Hill's Morning Report — Pelosi to reclaim Speakership amid shutdown MORE (D-Md.) in the Senate. She has galvanized considerable support from progressive groups in the state who are eager to see more diversity in the upper chamber.

But Edwards faces a tough primary battle against Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who has the support of much of the Democratic establishment in the state.

A poll released in November showed Van Hollen taking 45 percent support over Edwards, at 31 percent.