The Mongols Motorcycle Club effectively communicated what the outlaw motorcycle club world is about more accurately in the CNN episode that aired October 7th, “This Is Life” with Lisa Ling, than any other mainstream media depiction EVER. The message communicated and received was direct and honest. Outlaw motorcycle clubs are not the Boy Scouts but that does not make them gangs or criminals despite law enforcement’s label. The Mongols took a risk that ultimately benefited everyone involved in outlaw motorcycle club culture.
Historically outlaw motorcycle clubs avoid the media for the legitimate fear of being manipulated and sensationalized. This has resulted in only one side (law enforcement’s side) of the outlaw biker narrative being heard by the general public. In a post-Waco world public perception is more critical now than it has ever been. Law enforcement nationwide has ramped up its focus and targeting of motorcycle clubs. The Mongols made the decision to speak up and refute the inaccurate stereotypes at a time the government has waged war on outlaw clubs. CNN, a highly credible mainstream news source, provided millions in the general public first hand proof that outlaw motorcycle clubs are not what law enforcement says they are.
The Mongols provided Lisa Ling unprecedented access, including a pack ride to a national run and interviews with members and prospective members. The Mongols didn’t try and depict outlaw clubs as mainstream do-gooders. If you intentionally step on an outlaw bikers toes then you might get f*#ked up. But the club is not a criminal enterprise or a gang despite acts of individuals. The alpha male dominated world is an outlet for brotherhood, community and family. A secretive society within society, but not equated to criminality.
The epidemic of law enforcement harassment and profiling was also clearly visible and commented on by Lisa Ling numerous times. Random profiling was discussed, captured on film, and exposed to millions of people previously unaware of this highly prejudicial pattern of selective enforcement targeting outlaw clubs based on stereotype.
And Lisa Ling communicated the most important thing about outlaw motorcycle clubs. She said, “These guys live to ride. I get it!” The pack is where it’s at and that’s the foundation of this entire community.
The Mongols Motorcycle Club stepped forward, took a risk, and proved that the motorcycle club world can and should play a critical role in telling our story to the media and the general public. Nothing is more persuasive than a mainstream media journalist from CNN seeing and experiencing firsthand that outlaw motorcycle clubs are not what law enforcement says they are. Sure, some might find the culture distasteful. But that does not mean outlaw motorcycle clubs are criminals. They are brotherhoods centered around motorcycling that refuse to not stand their ground.