After a 400+ mile trek through the rain and high temps from Denver to Sturgis, my riding group and myself had finally put our kickstands down at the Buffalo Chip ticketing office to get our passes for the week of the 78th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Within five minutes of getting off of our motorcycles, an SUV full of 30-40 something year old men rolled by, and seemed pretty excited to see a group of younger women riding motorcycles to the rally. They mentioned that they were with CNN and were interested in talking to us about the rally and women in motorcycling. We obliged.
I told myself I'd never share this article, but I want to make a point about #FAKENEWS and all the articles we read daily on the internet.
Article: https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/05/politics/sturgis-biker-rally-supports-trump/index.html . The video reel is also available through this link.
They grabbed their cameras, put microphones on myself and a few others, had us introduce ourselves and state what we did for a living, and then started the questionnaire conversation. Cameras rolling in 3…2….1.
Bill Weir, the news aficionado from CNN, states in the video edit attached to the article that “we live in a media age where people choose their own facts,” just like he did when picking apart our conversation to benefit his news reel.
"Sturgis isn’t a political gathering, it’s a motorcycle gathering. It shouldn’t matter who you voted for when you’re here. Enjoy the rides, the views, and have a good time and forget about the craziness going on in our world."
"The news channel took our 5-10 minute conversation and twisted our words to benefit their hidden objectives — to get a rise out of Americans about MOTORCYCLISTS and their views on President numero 45."
There were five or so initial questions about women in motorcycling.
- “How long have you been riding?"
- "Where did you all ride from?"
- “How do you think men feel bout women riding motorcycles?"
- "Do you think that times have changed and women are welcome to the sport?”
- "Do you think the rally encourages women to be a part of it?"
- and so on.
And then, at the end of the conversation, a quick, “How do you think today’s Politics play into the Sturgis Rally?” question was thrown into the mix; A question that had absolutely nothing to do with the others, nor the reason we were asked to be interviewed. I answered the question with my opinion that I didn’t ride to Sturgis to talk politics and choose sides. Everyone at the Sturgis Rally rode from hundreds if not thousands of miles away for one common denominator: Motorcycles. Sturgis isn’t a political gathering, it’s a motorcycle gathering. It shouldn’t matter who you voted for when you’re here. Enjoy the rides, the views, and have a good time and forget about the craziness going on in our world. The feeling a motorcycle gives you as you ride across the United States reminds you of how beautiful and great our country truly is, and that sometimes we need that “unplug” of a motorcycle ride to recharge our batteries and remember what a great place our country is and can be. Naturally, that wasn’t the answer he wanted for his news reels. And I knew that. But I wasn’t going to get conned into discussing politics.
A few others in the group answered his questions the way they saw fit, and some of their answers were used in the articles, which were quite accurate concerning being opinionated. In today’s world, where we want to be free from judgement and harm, if you have an opinion against the grain of the general population, you’ll become an outcast in most situations. People will be afraid to comment, claim you as part of their tribe, or other ridiculous things if you stand abrasively against the majority opinion in today’s society. Shoot—I even was exiled by coworkers one night after they assumed who I voted for. They wouldn’t even allow me to voice my opinion, nor would they allow me to state who I actually did vote for. I was immediately a black sheep, all because I had an unpopular opinion, and because of that, they assumed I was a terrible human being (and even began assuming other beliefs of mine), meanwhile, I had never done or shown intentions to do a hurtful thing to any of them or anyone they knew. “God forbid someone disagrees with you, because you’ll get your head bitten off,” stated Mich, who’s photo (clearly taken off guard) is blasted in the news article. The photo they chose of my beautiful friend Mich was poor, and directly made her look like a phony and/or deranged person. Neither of which come close to describing her, her business ethics, or personal morals. She is one of the kindest souls you could ever meet, but by the CNN interview plugging her name and her amazing non profit (Moto FAM), the rest of the world may not value her opinion, and could devalue her business, as they begin to assume things based on the image portrayed.
Additionally, reading the article alone cannot make my eyes roll any further back in my head, as CNN paints a picture of the crazed "biker rally" to be filled with caucasian attendees only. "One can go hours -- or days -- without seeing a person of color in the crowds here at one of the world's largest biker rallies. In Sturgis, the definition of diversity is a white guy on a foreign bike," Weir claims. This could not be any further from the truth, and was only added to the article to stir the, "Trump and his supporters are racist!" pot. Look at this photo below. Yes, five out of six people are of caucasian decent, however Brandi, our dear and wild friend from Vegas who rode out on her vicla'd softail, does not match that stereotype. And neither do more than a handful of our friends who traveled to the rally. Are there racists in sturgis? Probably. But if you stand out on top of the deck of the Iron Horse Saloon or One Eyed Jacks in downtown Sturgis, you'll see every walk of life imaginable, in every color. Sport bike riders, customized bikes with neon lights galore, stock antique motorcycles, ladies with bling for miles stuck to their bikes, the list goes on. Sure, there are significantly more "white" people in Sturgis, but to describe it as a near ghost town for people of any other skin pigment....horse shit. My point is--this is total bullshit, and when it comes to people choosing their own facts, CNN had one goal by adding this to the story--to enable people to think that Sturgis is filled with white racists bikers. FALSE. Sure, there are probably some attendance (let's be realistic here), but do not throw all of us under that magic bus in this CNN Bob Ross painting.
The point to this rambling is that the news we read on a daily basis is ALWAYS opinionated and biased beyond belief. “Reputable” News Channels are the ULTIMATE sales corporations. They are there to instill fear, happiness, anger, and other feelings as they see fit for each situation into the general public. They profit from our reactions, and typically, their profits are increased when they get a rise from people, as the majority of us go straight to our keyboards and mouth off to our phone and computer screens when we feel angered. (Damn, I think they just did it to me too with this article!) President Trump dubbed CNN as “Fake News” during his election campaign. And honestly, I can’t say he is wrong. The news channel took our 5-10 minute conversation about women in motorcycling and twisted our words to benefit their hidden objectives — to get a rise out of Americans about MOTORCYCLISTS and their views on President numero 45.
The general population is already not a huge fan of motorcyclists and their lifestyle (as you can see from the decline in motorcycle sales over the last decade, and if you have any family members who don't ride). “Their exhaust is loud.” “They’re reckless” “They’re scary.” “They’re all in biker gangs.” …we could go on forever about the stereotypes portrayed in our two wheeled world. Now, look at how the general population potentially views motorcyclists and politics — we’re all crazy racist MAGA Fanatics that hail the almighty Trump... And women motorcyclists favor Hillary! (Eye roll — not a single one of us mentioned the words “Hilary” or “Clinton” during the conversation, whether that was our real opinion or not).
Watch the bait, you never know how they’re going to hook and sink you with your words. Can I speak for others interviewed in this reel? Absolutely not. I wasn't there. But I know what was said in my group, the intentions, and it was not meant for a political debacle.