In June of 2020, Matt Gertz examined Fox News lies about the nonviolent Black Lives Matter protest in Lafayette Park that would be met with tear gas before President Donald Trump's photo-op outside St. John's Episcopal Church that Fox cheered on:
This was a sick and twisted attempt to gaslight the country based on a bullshit semantic effort by the U.S. Park Police, which issued a statement claiming that it had deployed “pepper balls” and “smoke canisters” to clear the square but that “no tear gas was used.” But “tear gas” isn’t a specific chemical compound. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains, it’s a blanket term for chemical agents used for riot control that cause temporary respiratory distress, which encapsulates a variety of compounds including Mace and pepper spray.
The Park Police also claimed that they only responded after “violent protestors” had thrown “projectiles including bricks, frozen water bottles and caustic liquids.” Reporters who were there say that didn’t happen, there doesn’t seem to be any video evidence of it, it contradicts the Justice Department’s explanation that the park was cleared as part of a previous decision to expand the White House perimeter -- and even if it was true, it still wouldn’t justify tear-gassing the entire crowd.
To defend the Trump administration on these grounds -- including by farcically arguing a distinction between “tear gas” and “gas that causes tears” -- requires either mind-numbing stupidity or fervent and unyielding pro-Trump zeal.