by WorldTribune Staff, June 2, 2020
On May 29, the leftist blog “Vice News” got the ball rolling on the conspiracy theory that much of the rioting across America was being driven by the far-right.
Vice said that “far-right extremists are showing up with guns to the protests against police brutality that have exploded across the country” and “others are egging on the violence from behind their computers.”
With zero evidence that such a thing was occurring, the major media and many Democratic politicians took the ball and ran with it.
The morning after Vice floated the conspiracy theory, Minneapolis Democrat Mayor Jacob Frey claimed his city was “confronting white supremacists, members of organized crime, out-of-state instigators, and possibly even foreign actors to destroy and destabilize our city and our region.”
Minnesota Democrat Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan claimed: “There are white supremacists there. There are anarchists. There are people who are burning down institutions that are core to our identity.”
Michael Graham, political editor at InsideSources.com, noted: “This message was immediately amplified by members of the media.”
Graham cited MSNBC’s Joy Reid, who posted multiple tweets about the “white nationalists involved in the protests” and reported as fact that the rioting was “already documented as coming from white nationalist groups.”
During an interview with Reid, Minnesota Democrat Attorney General Keith Ellison “shared the tale of a shadowy figure with an umbrella who, he said, might be evidence of white supremacist plotting,” Graham noted.
University of Miami political scientist and conspiracy theory expert Joseph Uscinski said that “What Joy Ann Reid was saying was probably in line with both her and her network’s ideology and world view, as well as their audience’s.”
Not surprisingly, other major media outlets fell in lockstep and began featuring “reports of white nationalists” involved in the rioting spreading across the country.
When Attorney General William Barr made a statement blaming much of the violence on Antifa organization, The Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart complained: “The Attorney General failed to acknowledge the white nationalists involved in the protests, as warned by every Minnesota official who has spoken today.”
Writing for American Greatness on May 31, Debra Heine noted: “On CNN Sunday morning, after several nights of Antifa and Black Lives Matter-fueled violence in multiple American cities, anchor Jake Tapper asked President Trump’s national security adviser if white supremacists were using the unrest to start a race war.”
“What can you tell us about any of the far-right groups that might be trying to use this as a predicate to prompt a race war as Vice News reported?” Tapper asked national security adviser Robert O’Brien.
O’Brien didn’t take the bait, telling Tapper: “This is being driven by Antifa. They did it in Seattle, they’ve done it in Portland, they’ve done it in Berkeley.”
O’Brien went on to call the Antifa rioters “a destructive force of radical” militants who are “burning American cities.”
Donald Trump Jr., on his website, pretty much debunked the whole conspiracy theory with one headline.
Reuters had reported that “At least 13 Biden campaign staff members posted on Twitter on Friday and Saturday that they made donations to the Minnesota Freedom Fund,” a “group that pays bail fees in Minneapolis.”
Trump Jr.’s headline: “Why is team Biden bailing out ‘white supremacists’ from jail”?
As Heine noted: “While it’s certainly plausible that a handful of right-wing extremists are exploiting the situation to cause mischief, it’s patently obvious that the vast majority of the violence is being perpetrated by left-wing agitators.”
Meanwhile, PBS NewsHour White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor faced heavy backlash for insisting that there was “no evidence” that any of the rioting is being perpetrated by “anarchists.”
On Sunday, President Trump urged Democratic mayors and governors to take stronger action against who he described were “anarchists” that have caused havoc in recent days.
“Get tough Democrat Mayors and Governors. These people are ANARCHISTS. Call in our National Guard NOW. The World is watching and laughing at you and Sleepy Joe. Is this what America wants? NO!!!” Trump exclaimed on Twitter.
Alcindor responded to Trump’s tweet in an attempt to fact-check him.
” ‘These people are anarchists,’ President Trump says without providing any evidence,” Alcindor said.
Critics blasted the PBS journalist for her suggestion that none of the rioters were anarchists.
“I was there last night when fires were burning in NW. Your tweet is not factual,” RealClearNews reporter Philip Wegmann told Alcindor.
“It’s an absolute disgrace that the taxpayers pay this activist’s salary. This isn’t journalism, and the American people shouldn’t subsidize it,” author James Hasson wrote. “Like, FFS. There was a story today about people lighting homes with children inside on fire and then blocking fire engines from responding. They’re burning family-owned businesses and beating up elderly women. How much more evidence do you need, @Yamiche?”
“They’re literally spray painting the anarchist A surrounded by a circle in cities across the country,” columnist Ryan James Girdusky pointed to another example.
“Just woke up after watching hours of churches getting burned, stores looted, journalists assaulted, a female store owner getting pummeled by ‘protestors,’ and I gotta say this tweet here…is FANTASTIC! and keep in mind, you’re paying for this fine work w your taxpayer dollars,” political consultant Trey Radel wrote.
“So glad my taxpayer dollars are funding such smart and brave journalism from PBS,” Donald Trump Jr. quipped.
Then there is another riots conspiracy theory making the rounds among leftists — it’s Russia.
Obama era national security adviser Susan Rice said of the riots on CNN: “I’m not reading the intelligence today, or these days — but based on my experience, this is right out of the Russian playbook. But we cannot allow the extremists, the foreign actors, to distract from the real problems we have in this country.”
In his interview with O’Brien, CNN’s Tapper also mentioned the conspiracy theory that foreign adversaries [Russia] were trying to stoke the violence via social media.