Update (2/16/22): Four people who were arrested in connection with the border blockade in Coutts, Alberta have now been charged with conspiracy to kill members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. RCMP Chief Superintendent Trevor Daroux told a news conference that the threat was directed “toward RCMP members,” adding, “We worked very closely with our [prosecutor's office] in ensuring we had the evidence going forward to lay the charge and put it before the courts.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has invoked emergency powers to quell the far-right truck convoys which have threatened both the Canadian and U.S. economies, and also appear to be presenting a violent threat against law enforcement. The reaction from Fox News should seem familiar – after all, this is just the second time in two years that Fox has promoted and then covered for a right-wing insurrection.
A year ago, right-wing media outlets helped former President Donald Trump rally supporters for his attempted coup — after which Fox personalities embarked on a ceaseless propaganda campaign, lying about far-right involvement and the presence of guns, presenting an alternate reality in which there was no violent attack at all, and downplaying each new development that showed the serious threat the United States had really faced from within.
Now that Fox has helped to energize the illegal occupation of a large chunk of a foreign capital city and the attempted economic sabotage of border crossings, it is already returning to its old bag of tricks at the first signs that the convoy has spun into serious illegality.
The most troubling aspect of the convoy movement has been the instigation of blockades at U.S.-Canada border crossings, most prominently at the Ambassador Bridge connecting Ontario to Michigan, which led to shutdowns at U.S. auto plants after assembly components shipped from Canada got stuck across the border. (The bridge was successfully reopened over the weekend, following over two-dozen arrests. There is a continued police presence at the site.)
The blockades actually began weeks ago, however, at a relatively remote site on the Alberta-Montana line, causing both an interruption of commerce there and a serious disruption of local services and education in the village of Coutts, Alberta.
Early reports of attempted vehicular assaults against police then escalated into the arrests of 13 participants on Monday. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is now considering charges of conspiracy to commit murder regarding a group at the border that was allegedly planning to use its weapons against police officers if there were an attempt to break up the blockade.
The RCMP also released a photo of a collection of guns, ammunition, and body armor allegedly confiscated from the blockade participants:
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported Tuesday afternoon that the Coutts blockade has successfully been dismantled, and traffic is now moving in both directions.
Earlier, Tuesday morning’s edition of Fox’s America’s Newsroom featured a brief mention and display of the photo by Fox correspondent Alexis McAdams, who has been reporting from the truck convoy in Ottawa — though McAdams also reassured viewers that the truckers in Ottawa “say they’re actually policing their own convoys out here to make sure nobody has any weapons at this time.”
Following McAdams’ appearance, co-anchors Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino spoke with Joe Warmington of the right-wing Toronto Sun, who had previously alleged during his Fox News appearances that Confederate flags and other racist symbols seen at the Ottawa convoy were “most likely props that were put in to try to quell this thing,” adding that “obviously you don't know for sure, but I think it's kind of textbook to do something like that.”
Warmington denounced the Canadian government’s response to the convoy movement as “a police state,” and brushed off the report of the confiscated arsenal at the Alberta blockade as just a bunch of rural hunters.
“I guess you can try to spin it into a bunch of hunters out in Alberta that had their guns,” Warmington declared. He continued, saying, “They were, you know, in one place because they didn't want to have them in their trucks like they usually do — and say that's an insurrection. But you know, it’s going to fall apart in court just like everything else has.”
Warmington also expressed shock that laws could be enforced against people on his own political side, decrying a video clip of Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland warning that trucks being used in blockades would have their corporate accounts frozen and their insurance suspended.
Warmington declared that “What she described there is kind of like a crypto-communism, you know, where you’re going to go in and seize things, and you don't have to have any reason to do it — just because you have a truck parked there.”
Freeland’s remarks made it clear that parking a truck at a blockade would be “the reason to do” such penalties.
The weapons seizure in Alberta previously got a brief mention on Monday night’s edition of Special Report with Bret Baier. Any mention of the weapons seizure, however, was totally absent from Fox’s prime-time coverage.
Fox host Tucker Carlson, who has run an entire propaganda series against the January 6 investigation, opened a segment on the latest development by falsely declaring that Trudeau “suspended democracy and declared Canada a dictatorship.” (Trudeau is just as accountable to the Canadian Parliament, where his Liberal Party does not even have a majority of seats and must work with other parties, as he was the day before he invoked emergency powers.)
Carlson then repeated a familiar maneuver, playing a selected video of protesters in Ottawa and declaring: “According to Justin Trudeau, everyone you saw in that tape is a terrorist, even the kids in their bouncy castles. Justin Trudeau has unilaterally revoked their civil liberties and authorized men with automatic weapons to haul them to jail.”
This was very similar to something Carlson has done before, when he played a selective video from the January 6 insurrection, in which participants had gathered in the hallways and were trying to speak with police, and then mockingly said, “That's one view of the so-called insurrection.” (He did not show other video clips or photos, such as insurrectionists crushing a police officer inside a doorway, beating another police officer with an American flag pole, or entering House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) office while armed with a stun gun.)
This time around, Carlson made no reference to illegal conduct, such as the blockades at border crossings — which he had previously celebrated for causing American workers to lose shifts at auto plants — let alone any mention of the reports of violence and weapons seizures in Alberta.
Sean Hannity also practically justified a violent response by blockaders against police: “The truckers have been peaceful. If this turns into something else because [Trudeau] is sending people in there directly to confront them, I can't guarantee that at that point, people won't defend themselves.”
Hannity never mentioned the arrests and weapons seizures from earlier that day, a key piece of information that made his discussion of convoys having to “defend themselves” more than a hypothetical question.