Fox News and right-wing media circulate seemingly inauthentic “antifa poster” to fearmonger about police protests

As protests emerged around the country following the release of police body camera footage of officers fatally beating Tyre Nichols, Fox News and other right-wing media sources promoted an “antifa poster” whose authenticity has not been proved. The poster supposedly called for protesters to “burn it all down” and bring rocks and heavy objects to riots in New York City. 

The image was initially shared in a Daily Mail article, which called it “a shocking poster,” and on Twitter by user Rob O’Donnell, per disinformation researcher Caroline Orr.

On January 27, Fox News’ Jesse Watters hosted O’Donnell, who said he knows the poster was “put out by antifa” and it’s “calling for protests and riots at all police precincts across the city, to bring rocks, to bring pipes, to bring box cutters,” saying it’s “circulating in the underground of New York City.” 

Video file

Citation From the January 27, 2023, edition of Fox News' Jesse Watters Primetime

In the next hour, Fox host Tucker Carlson showed the poster, using it to suggest there is “an organized militia encouraging organized violence across the United States of America.” 

Carlson’s guest during the segment, former Detroit Police Chief James Craig, told Carlson the police should have “zero tolerance” for antifa protesters and chastised “Biden’s DOJ” for doing “absolutely nothing” about antifa, who he said are “threatening cities across this country.” 

Carlson also suggested the poster was evidence of a “criminal conspiracy” by antifa. 

Carlson’s commentary was circulated by right-wing blogs The Daily Caller and The Gateway Pundit, and promoted his segment with Craig.

Video file

Citation From the January 27, 2023, edition of Fox News' Tucker Carlson Tonight

With the poster on screen, Fox correspondent Christina Coleman said on The Ingraham Angle that “antifa put out this bulletin, calling for violence, even though Tyre's own family has called for peace.” 

The poster was also picked up by other right-wing outlets.

On Newsmax, host Lidia Curanaj said “a police source” sent her “a flyer that showed that antifa was organizing throughout the country” but did not show it on screen. She speculated that “a lot of times these horrible incidents, like what happened to Tyre Nichols, are amplified and used by other organizations in order to achieve their political agenda.” Later on the network, Curanaj repeated that the protests must have been planned ahead of time,  accused the protests of having “professional agitators,” and called on the media to “do their due diligence and actually investigate” the situation. 

The poster also appeared on far-right website The Post Millennial, in an article titled “Antifa vows to 'burn it all down' in NYC following death of Tyre Nichols,” which cites the Daily Mail as having obtained the poster. Neo-Nazi collaborator and Twitter personality Jack Posobiec shared the article on Twitter.

Right-wing commentary site Townhall shared O’Donnell’s tweet, including the image in a Friday night piece warning about “potential riots” in Memphis. 

Newsmax’s Justine Brooke Murray shared the poster on Twitter, writing, “ANTIFA terrorists plan to burn down New York tonight. They’re blasting THIS out.” 

Right-wing radio host David Webb on Twitter claimed the image showed that “violence is not a solution but it is a possibility.”