Fox News is attempting to whitewash recent violent incidents at campaign events for Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump by invoking sexual assault to make Trump appear to be the victim; claiming that protesters are invoking violence simply by attending the events; and asserting that the instances of violence are nonexistent or overstated.
Violence Against Protesters Has Erupted At Multiple Trump Rallies
NY Times: “A Black Protester ... Was Sucker-Punched And Shoved By A Trump Supporter” At A NC Trump Campaign Rally. The New York Times reported on March 10 that videos on social media showed a black protester being “sucker-punched and shoved by a Trump supporter” at a March 9 Trump campaign event in North Carolina. The Times pointed out that the assault “was not the first violent incident at a Trump rally”:
A black protester being escorted out of a Donald J. Trump campaign rally on Wednesday in Fayetteville, N.C., was sucker-punched and shoved by a Trump supporter, several videos on social media show.
The protester, identified by The Washington Post as Rakeem Jones, 26, was being walked by sheriff's officers up an aisle at the Crown Coliseum, amid loud boos from the crowd, when a white man in a cowboy hat stepped toward Mr. Jones, punched him in the face and shoved him off-balance.
It was not the first violent incident at a Trump rally, nor the first with racial overtones. Another African-American protester, a female student at the University of Louisville, was pushed and jostled at a rally in Louisville this month and called “leftist scum” and racial slurs. [The New York Times, 3/10/16]
Mother Jones: Trump Rally In MO "Turn[s] Violent ... In A Growing Pattern Of Routine Violence At Trump Gatherings." Mother Jones reported that “at least one protester was bloodied” at a March 11 Trump rally in St. Louis:
A Donald Trump rally in St. Louis on Friday became the latest campaign event to turn violent, joining multiple others this week in a growing pattern of routine violence at Trump gatherings.
At least one protester was bloodied at the St. Louis event, and some were taken away in plastic hand ties by police officers. St. Louis Today's Junius Randolph and MSNBC's Trymaine Lee were among the journalists on the scene at the rally, and they captured the day's chaos. [Mother Jones, 3/11/16]
NY Times: Trump's Campaign “Abruptly Canceled” His Chicago Rally Due To “Security Concerns As Protesters Clashed With His Supporters.” The New York Times reported on March 11 that Trump's campaign “abruptly canceled” a planned rally in Chicago due to “security concerns as protesters clashed with his supporters”:
With thousands of people already packed into stands and music blaring to warm up the crowd, Donald J. Trump's campaign abruptly canceled his rally here on Friday night over security concerns as protesters clashed with his supporters inside an arena where he was to speak.
Minutes after Mr. Trump was to have taken to a podium on the campus of a large, diverse public university just west of downtown, an announcer suddenly pronounced the event over before it had begun. Hundreds of protesters, who had promised to be a visible presence here and filled several sections of the arena, let out an elated, unstopping cheer. Mr. Trump's supporters, many of whom had waited hours to see the Republican front-runner, seemed stunned and slowly filed out in anger.
Around the country, protesters have interrupted virtually every Trump rally, but his planned appearance here -- in a city run for decades by Democrats and populated by nearly equal thirds of blacks, Latinos and whites -- had drawn some particularly incensed responses since it was announced days ago. [The New York Times, 3/11/16]
Fox Hosts Invoke Sexual Assault To Portray Trump As The Victim Of The Violence
Andrea Tantaros: Saying Trump Shouldn't Have Picked Chicago To Hold His Rally Is Like Saying “She Shouldn't Have Worn The Dress.” On the March 14 edition of Outnumbered, co-host Andrea Tantaros said that attempts to shift the blame to Trump for holding a rally in Chicago are akin to saying “she shouldn't have worn the dress” and blaming the victim after a woman is sexually assaulted:
ANDREA TANTAROS (CO-HOST): Sandra, over the weekend you heard people say, “He shouldn't have picked Chicago,” your hometown. “He shouldn't have picked Chicago.”
TANTAROS: It's almost like, she shouldn't have worn the dress. You know, it's his fault for selecting Chicago. That's the same logic of that argument. [Fox News, Outnumbered, 3/14/16]
Eric Bolling: Blaming Trump For Violence At His Events Is “Like Blaming ... The Girl If She's Wearing Too Short Of A Dress For The Rape.” On the March 14 edition of The Five, co-host Eric Bolling claimed that blaming Trump for the violence at his events is “like blaming ... the girl if she's wearing too short of a dress for the rape”:
ERIC BOLLING (HOST): Protest is protected speech. But they're not allowed to do what they did on Friday night. They shouldn't go into -- or they can't go into an arena, that was paid for, rented by a group and then shut down free speech. That's impinging on Donald Trump and the pro-Trump people's right to free speech. So they've gone from protests, I don't know, non-violent protests, to they changed the rules. They went inside. And I would say they would be inciting the violence by going inside and doing what they did, shutting down the free speech. It's disrupting the peace, and I think that's a crime -- if I'm not mistaken, that's a crime. But blaming Donald Trump for violence that occurs at or outside of one of his speeches is like blaming the -- you know, the old blame the girl if she's wearing too short of a dress for the rape. How is it her fault if she's doing something that does something to someone else, how is it Donald Trump's fault if there's a protest and two people get into it outside a protest? I think it's the same thing. [Fox News, The Five, 3/14/16]
Fox Host Claims Democrats Provoke Violence Just By Showing Up At Trump Events
Brian Kilmeade: Trump Protesters Attending His Rallies Are Like Yankee Fans At A Red Sox Bar -- “You're Going To Get Beat Up.” On the March 15 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade compared protesters at Trump rallies to Yankees fans going to a Red Sox bar, asserting that if “you're screaming for the Yankees in a Red Sox bar, you're going to get beat up.” Kilmeade added that “technically that's wrong, but you should not go into a Red Sox bar as a Yankee fan”:
BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): The thing is, these people who show up for Donald Trump rallies are there for Donald Trump. The people that cause the uproar are against Donald Trump. So the question is if you have supporters, and to me they get excited because their candidate tells them to go crazy, if they leave a Donald Trump rally and start wrecking, you know, destroying the Starbucks down the street and the drive-thru at Burger King, that's an issue.
STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): Which they've never done.
KILMEADE: Which they haven't done. What they do is they come together. And what my analogy, is if you're at a Red Sox bar and you're a Yankee fan and you're screaming for the Yankees in a Red Sox bar, you're going to get beat up. And technically that's wrong, but you should not go into a Red Sox bar as a Yankee fan. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/15/16]
Fox Hosts Say Violence At Trump Events Is Overstated Or Nonexistent
Sean Hannity: “I Don't See Any Violence At Trump Rallies.” On the March 11 edition of Hannity, host Sean Hannity said, “I don't see any violence at Trump rallies”:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): 2016 GOP front-runner Donald Trump canceled a campaign rally in Chicago earlier tonight amid security concerns. Now this after violent agitators hijacked what was to be a peaceful campaign rally.
We have statements that actually prove this fact -- and we've been watching our own coverage here on Fox -- and some people with Bernie Sanders, Moveon.org put out a statement that Mr. Trump, Republican leaders who support him, his hate-filled rhetoric should be “put on notice” after tonight's events. They actually said that -- that these protests are a direct result of violence that occurs at Trump rallies. Well, I don't see any violence at Trump rallies. And I have been watching and flipping the dial tonight, and somehow people have been trying to flip this on you, some of your competitors and, frankly, some pretty ignorant so-called journalists have been trying to do the same thing. As if you stating your political opinions is responsible for this. [Fox News, Hannity, 3/11/16]
Neil Cavuto Asks If "We Are Overstating" Incidents Of Violence At Trump Events Because “His Events Carry Huge Crowds.” On the March 11 edition of Your World, host Neil Cavuto pointed out that Trump's rallies “carry huge crowds, often tens of thousands in a crowd” and asked if “we are overstating some incidents that are small by comparison” and if “media disproportionately focuses on these disruptions”:
NEIL CAVUTO (HOST): Well, you have to ask yourself whether all of this is to be believed or not, is it hurting the image of Donald Trump? We should preface here that his events carry huge crowds, often times tens of thousands in a crowd. So, are we overstating some incidents that are small by comparison?
CAVUTO: But how would that be any different from a Hillary Clinton rally, in which she espouses views that bothersome, and Black Lives Matter, who tried to disrupt her campaign, or Bernie Sanders' campaign? Do you think that the media disproportionately focuses on these disruptions, and not the others? [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 3/11/16]