Special to WorldTribune.com
As anti-nation state progressive billionaire George Soros continues to fund the civil unrest that has plagued our country’s streets since the death of George Floyd in late May, media “fact checkers” are being deployed to tell Americans that they shouldn’t trust their own eyes. Because, you see, most leftist agitators are overwhelmingly peaceful.
These fact checkers just so happen to be Soros’s people.
Emily Bell is “Founding Director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia Journalism School.” She is also a member of the Board of Overseers for the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR), a magazine for professional journalists that serves as a media monitor. Bell is also a member of the Poynter Institute’s National Advisory Board. Poynter is another self-styled media watchdog that operates PolitiFact, a “fact-checker” regularly cited by dominant media sources that significantly rises in prominence during each major electoral season.
One would think that overseeing and advising two supposedly renowned arbiters of journalistic ethics and practices would surely inspire someone like Bell to carefully avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest. One would be wrong.
Bell is also a member of Soros’s laughably named “Independent Journalism Advisory Board” at his notorious Open Society Foundations organization.
And the Tow Center at Columbia Journalism School, which Bell runs, receives financial backing from Open Society.
The Tow Center carries water for Antifa. Coincidence, no doubt.
A June 2 article on “political symbols at demonstrations” was published by Tow just as the summer of rioting and looting in the name of “social justice” kicked off. The article ludicrously associated the Betsy Ross flag with “extreme right groups.” But to Columbia’s journalism mavens, there is nothing extreme about Antifa at all:
[President] Trump even tweeted that he is going to designate “antifa” as a terrorist organization. This is misleading. The antifa movement is a network of autonomous groups who believe in opposing fascism by direct action and “antifa” refers to an assortment of tactics rather than any single organization. Neither Trump nor [Attorney General William] Barr has offered any evidence that members of antifa-aligned groups instigated violence that led to arrests anywhere.
Lest there be any doubt about Tow’s effort to downplay Antifa violence, the article comes out and says it:
“[W]e strongly resist applying the term ‘extremist’ to members of antifa groups.”
Well, isn’t that something. CJR keeps the narrative rolling. An Aug. 31 article by Mathew Ingram, CJR’s “chief digital writer” and a former senior writer at Fortune magazine, declares that Antifa simply isn’t a thing:
Trump’s rhetoric on the Black Lives Matter protests, not just in Oregon but in other states as well, has been ramping up as the election draws closer, painting what he clearly hopes will be a frightening picture of them as ongoing orgies of violence orchestrated by the shadowy, malevolent group known as Antifa (despite the fact that no organization by that name exists).
Showing just what CJR considers authentic journalism to be, a June 12 piece cites CNN and NPR as proof that Antifa is not a genuine threat:
[A]s CNN’s Oliver Darcy reports, Fox News personalities and sites such as Breitbart and the Gateway Pundit are claiming (without evidence) that Seattle has been colonized by Antifa. Trump and his right-wing media allies have repeatedly blamed Antifa for fomenting violence after a cop killed George Floyd. So far, credible outlets have found scant evidence to support such claims.
Of course, U.S. taxpayer-supported NPR has received a huge chunk of Soros funding as well.
On June 7, again just as the summer of rioting began, NPR disgustingly conducted a fawning interview with an Antifa-aligned agitator titled “Antifa Supporter On How People Misunderstand The Movement.”
In the interview, Lacy MacAuley laments how misunderstood the group’s kind, loving hearts are:
MACAULEY: Antifascism is more like a set of practices and a philosophy than it is an organization. No, actually, we don’t have any kind of, like, big, giant hierarchy. It comes from your heart. It comes from your sense of justice. That’s real. That’s what’s real.
From here it is a short jump to justifying the violence. NPR is happy to do this under the guise of “expertism,” that favorite weapon of our ruling establishment. In September, NPR shamefully featured Mark Bray, a “historian” and lecturer at Rutgers University who is the author of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook. This book has been Bray’s entryway into mainstream media respectability.
Bray naturally brought up the specter of Nazi Germany in explaining Antifa’s willingness to use violence to combat the rising fascist threat in America today. “[Y]ou know, the lesson of the Nazis was not that people were too aggressive with them early on; it was that they waited until it was too late. And so the Antifa argument is that we need to treat all far-right and fascist groups as if they could be the seeds of a new genocidal regime,” Bray declared.
Of course, at no time during this lurid interview does NPR explain that Bray is openly sympathetic to Antifa.
“While Bray doesn’t participate in the group’s protests, he nonetheless considers himself an ally,” NBC News disclosed during a 2017 interview with Bray. Hmmm. Maybe NPR could have mentioned that just in passing? In the revealing NBC discussion, this professional Antifa comrade acknowledged that the group considers police to be a “clear cut” enemy and takes an indifferent view towards the destruction of property that so marred the Summer of George Floyd:
Yeah, property destruction is certainly part of the repertoire of what some of these groups will do to achieve their goals. Some say it’s violence, some say it’s not because it’s not against human beings, that’s a matter of opinion.
It should be no surprise that the Poynter Institute’s PolitiFact operation also relies on Bray as an enlightened source on Antifa. Besides having Soros working partner Emily Bell on its national advisory board, Poynter also receives direct funding from Open Society Foundations.
A July 2 PolitiFact article titled “What is antifa, and why is it all over my timeline?” parrots the Soros party line that the organization is a phantasm created by right-wing politicians. This official explanatory piece on Antifa relies on the Anti-Defamation League, a “hate watch” group that has seen its credibility plummet to the level of the thoroughly discredited Southern Poverty Law Center in recent years. From the article:
“For some people, it is easier to believe that a shadowy group of people are trying to undermine society than it is to accept that Americans are so angry and so fundamentally outraged at the state of the country, that they are willing to take to the streets,” said Oren Segal, vice president of the Center on Extremism at the Anti-Defamation League, in an email.
PolitiFact also dutifully trots out Bray, who performs his minimizing role in usual fashion, declaring that:
“It’s a little bit like feminism…. There are feminist groups just like there are antifa groups, but neither feminism nor antifa is a group.”
Keep in mind how dangerous Bray’s framing can be. In a 2017 “analysis” for The Washington Post that was a straight apologia for Antifa, he wrote the following:
Antifa are autonomous anti-racist groups that monitor and track the activities of local neo-Nazis. They expose them to their neighbors and employers, they conduct public education campaigns, they support migrants and refugees and they pressure venues to cancel white power events.
The vast majority of anti-fascist organizing is nonviolent. But their willingness to physically defend themselves and others from white supremacist violence and preemptively shut down fascist organizing efforts before they turn deadly distinguishes them from liberal anti-racists.
Bray is all but coming out and stating that Antifa’s violence is justified in the name of self-defense against fascism. Now guess who he considers to be a fascist? Here is the lead sentence of an article he just wrote on Sept. 22 at the leftist website Truth Out:
President Trump and his administration have taken several overt steps down the jagged path of fascism over the past week.
It’s not difficult to see where all of this is going to lead.
And as for fighting Nazis “before they turn deadly,” I guess that is what those violent thugs in Seattle were doing with the police precinct that they tried to burn down while officers were still inside in August. Hey, it was just a preemptive strike against fascism.
Again, lest there be any doubts as to PolitiFact’s willingness to whitewash Antifa extremism under the guise of “fact checking,” we’ll highlight the relevant text in this Sept. 10 article:
While antifa activists have used violence to achieve their goals in the past, experts say most of the movement’s organizing is not rooted in physical confrontation. Still, over the past few years, people ranging from President Donald Trump to everyday social media users have blamed antifa for acts of violence.
This must be a fun game for Soros to play. Fund the violence, fund the “professional journalists” who are “fact checking” the violence, and have them pick and choose the “experts” to cite in clearing those perpetrating the violence. Don’t worry, though, Joe Biden says it’s all just an idea. Never mind the wanton destruction and loss of human life that have played out right before our very eyes in this country’s streets over the past few months.
Joe Schaeffer is the former Managing Editor of The Washington Times National Weekly Edition. His columns appear at WorldTribune.com, LibertyNation.com and FreePressInternational.org.