One day after a rally put on by the violent far-right group was met with protests by anti-fascist activists, Fox & Friends Sunday ran two segments fearmongering about anti-fascist activists (“antifa”).
In these two segments, Fox News correspondent Griff Jenkins downplayed the death of Heather Heyer and claimed that Heyer was affiliated with antifa; Jenkins would go on to suggest that new laws were needed in order to prosecute such anti-fascist protesters in Oregon as domestic terrorists. Jenkins would go on to portray all 13 arrests yesterday in Portland as being related only to antifa, even though violent gang the Proud Boys and other far-right extremists demonstrated as well (reports are still unclear as to who was arrested for what). And while Jenkins highlighted Andy Ngo, he did not mention that Ngo was caught yesterday misleading about a hammer attack.
In the first segment, Jenkins claimed that Heyer’s death “fueled” antifa’s opposition to President Trump. Jenkins failed to mention that Heyer was part of a group of counter-protesters organizing against white supremacist groups marching in Charlottesville. (Fox & Friends Sunday at the time defended those neo-Nazi protesters, with host Pete Hegseth saying “There’s a reason those people were out there.)
Jenkins, though, downplayed Heyer’s murderer’s violent intentions, and the extremity of his white supremacist views, calling him a “far right protester” who “ran over Heather Heyer.”
In the second segment, Jenkins again downplayed Heyer’s murder by excluding her killer’s intention and affiliation with white supremacy, merely stating that she was “killed by a far-right protester driving a car.”
In fact, Fox News tried a similar tactic a year ago on the first anniversary of the Charlottesville protests. At the time, Mark Pitcavage, a senior research fellow at the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Center on Extremism, told Media Matters that “Antifa is a subject that’s worthy of exploration. It’s not a subject that’s worthy of exaggeration or hyper-sensationalism … There have been a number of serious incidents where they really assaulted people over the years. … But white supremacists have committed hundreds of murders over the last 10 years -- aggravated assaults, kidnappings, and terrorist attacks. There’s no comparison.”
This comes as Fox's link to white supremacist violence is under the microscope. The manifesto left by the El Paso shooter closely mirrored white supremacist rhetoric often heard on Fox News. And that was not the first time that a mass shooter echoed conspiracy theories from Fox News and right-wing media, either.