Fox & Friends spreads a debunked conspiracy theory about “bricks and pickaxes” near protest sites
Despite what Fox News and the NYPD commissioner say, construction materials found near construction sites are not linked to the protests
The Thursday morning edition of Fox & Friends peddled a conspiracy theory that piles of bricks and other construction materials are being left in urban areas, supposedly by loosely affiliated “antifa” groups, in order to stoke violence in the ongoing nationwide protests about police brutality.
However, BuzzFeed News has reported on multiple cases in which these construction materials were found and confirmed they were in these areas for a simple reason: They were part of ongoing construction projects. “In several cases, bricks were placed long before protests began in the US, or they are clearly linked to ongoing construction,” BuzzFeed reported. In one instance, a brick pile had been there since before the killing of African American man George Floyd by police in Minneapolis on May 25.
This disinformation campaign on Fox is being used to justify President Donald Trump’s effort to declare antifa groups a terrorist organization and the administration’s efforts to discredit the protests at large, as well as to ignore police escalation as a major factor in the violence that has broken out.
Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade first spread the conspiracy theory during Thursday’s broadcast.
In a later segment, co-host Ainsley Earhardt also read a tweet from New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea:
Co-host Steve Doocy added: “You know, bricks and rocks in those blue canisters don't — that does not look like any construction material that I've ever seen. The police officers feel that those things, however, were stolen from construction sites, then preplanned.”
In fact, Vice News reported on that very instance of debris in those blue containers: They were located right next to garbage cans, on a street corner near a construction site, “miles from any of the many large protests happening elsewhere in the city.”
The local city council member in District 47, where the materials were found, also tweeted that the containers might have been left there improperly by the real estate developer, but there was “no evidence of organized looting” in the area.
Fox & Friends also showed a clip from Sunday of what appeared to be a crowd spontaneously grabbing for one of those pallets of bricks that was already there. “We saw this a couple of days ago,” Doocy said, “where people take down the sides — and look at that, there’s a pallet of bricks.”
“Steve, they have a way of communicating,” Kilmeade responded. “They have a way to use weapons. They have ghost cars without plates — nice cars, too — full of pickaxes and other things to perpetrate crimes. This is not about George Lloyd — Floyd — this is not about racial justice, this is not about reforming law enforcement. It’s about going against America and trying to bring us down economically to try to change our system of government.”
Fox News has been pumping up conspiracy theories, including known hoaxes, alleging that the current protests and civil unrest over police brutality and racism are really being organized for the violent overthrow of society. A Fox guest recently asked, “How is it that bricks and bats and two-by-fours end up in these communities,” speculating that the presence of such everyday objects in American cities was being funded by liberal philanthropist George Soros, a frequent target of anti-Semitic smears from right-wing media.