Right-wing media used violent rhetoric to sow disinformation in 2020

As Americans joined nationwide protests against racial injustice following the police killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd in 2020, right-wing media’s response was vicious and divisive. Conservative media figures painted Black activists as violent terrorists endangering the lives of its viewers and civilization itself, while outlets like Fox News celebrated white, right-wing vigilantes as heroes, the true victims of law enforcement. 

Fox fed its audience wildly inaccurate caricatures of protests in cities across the country, suggested that urban areas were being consumed by violence, and encouraged Trump to re-establish “law and order.”

While right-wing and white supremacist groups took advantage of the escalating situation to incite violence, far-right personalities focused on the police narrative that the protesters are violent to justify police's use of excessive force and violence against peaceful protesters, and they relentlessly hyped up the supposed threats posed by anti-fascists. 

Trump used this fearmongering to justify military action and attack his political enemies. The narrative that anti-fascists were behind the violence at protests caused panic in small towns across the U.S., where residents gathered to defend their homes from attacks that never happened.