The Legacy Media Finally Discover Antifa’s Violence
DENVER, CO - JANUARY 20: Members of the Communist Party USA and other anti-fascist groups burn an American flag on the steps of the Colorado State Capitol on January 20, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States with Vice President Kamala Harris at an inauguration ceremony in Washington DC earlier in the day. (Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)
Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

More than a year after mass protests ripped through the nation, destroying businesses, homes, and churches and doing an inestimable amount of damage on whole neighborhoods, the legacy media have discovered that not all anti-police protests are “mostly peaceful.”

On Monday, The Washington Post ran a story that announced, “Anarchists and an increase in violent crime hijack Portland’s social justice movement.”

That prescient insight comes a mere 10 months after Fox News reported, “Legitimate protests, message ‘hijacked by anarchists.’” In the story, which ran last August 18, Sgt. Brent Maxey of the Portland Police Bureau revealed nothing more than what network cameras and social media footage had long captured: Antifa rioters regularly pelted police with projectiles and tried to torch a federal courthouse during a spree of looting, vandalism, and violence that stretched on for months.

Again last August, the conservative publication reported on “How white radicals hijacked Portland’s protests.”

WaPo’s rude awakening about the nature of Portland’s “protests” also lagged significantly behind a press release from the Trump administration, which made the same point and used the same language.

“Violent agitators have hijacked any semblance of First Amendment protected activity, engaging in violent criminal acts and destruction of public safety,” said U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams in a statement released by the Justice Department on August 27, 2020. Williams announced that the DOJ had arrested 74 people on charges ranging from assaulting a federal officer to destruction of federal property, committed “under the guise of peaceful demonstrations in Portland since at least May 29, 2020.”

Take the newspaper of record, The New York Times. “I’ve been on the front lines of the protests here, searching for the ‘radical-left anarchists’ who President Trump says are on Portland streets each evening,” wrote Nicholas Kristoff in a snarky op-ed titled “Help Me Find Trump’s ‘Anarchists’ in Portland.”

When Trump administration Acting Director of Intelligence Ric Grenell tweeted out a video of Antifa setting fire to the federal courthouse, Kristoff blamed the Trump administration.

“Rick [sic], come to beautiful Portland, and you’ll find that the ‘city in flames’ narrative is nonsense. There are a couple of blocks in downtown that are in tumult each night, though, partly because the Trump administration dispatched troops to inflame the situation for its benefit,” Kristoff asserted.

But this April, Kristoff shared an open letter from “[l]eaders from Portland’s Black community … calling on white protesters to stop ‘doing damage to us.’ Protesters who say they seek racial justice have damaged [b]lack-owned businesses and a Boys and Girls Club serving mostly people of color.”

CNN has shown more message discipline on covering for radical protesters, although even CNN let some facts slip through.

Last year, CNN “fact-checked” President Donald Trump’s statement that Portland has been so battered by Antifa protests that “the entire city is ablaze all the time.” The article — which is titled “’WE ARE NOT ABLAZE,’ Portland fire department says after Trump falsely claims ‘entire city’ is on fire” — noted that fires had broken out “just about every night” for four months, but called Trump a liar since, technically, not every single inch of the city was bathed in flames.

CNN’s law enforcement correspondent Josh Campbell insufferably tweeted about the fact that people could easily live well in wealthier, more elite parts of the city.

“Good morning from wonderful Portland, where the city is not under siege and buildings are not burning to the ground. I also ate my breakfast burrito outside today and so far haven’t been attacked by shadowy gangs of Antifa commandos,” he wrote in one social media post.

He continued his breakfast-themed investigative journalism by tweeting that, while there is “localized nightly violence in Portland, the people in line at VooDoo Donuts would never know that the entire city is ablaze. The face masks could be hiding their Antifa identities, or they could be following medical advice to wear face coverings in a pandemic.”


“Campbell said he went to Starbucks, shopped at a mall, ate at a food truck and watched a bike tour roll down the street past his downtown hotel,” CNN noted in its fact-check piece.

CNN appeared to have a moment of clarity on January 21, when it reported, “8 arrests made after vandalism at Democratic Party headquarters.”

The media walls protecting left-wing looters from media scrutiny finally appear to have been breached.

But the network returned to form last month, as the host of CNN’s “United Shades of America,” W. Kamau Bell, conducted a fawning interview with two black-clad members of Portland’s Antifa chapter.

Bell shrugged off the fact that “yes, people get hurt [and] property gets damaged,” because “this fighting for democracy and against fascism thing has always been a messy business.”

Radio personality Jason Rantz recently told Fox News that many reporters “wanted to justify or downplay” the extent of the violence in Portland, because they “identified with the Black Lives Matter movement and its ideology.”

That, too, echoes coverage from last year. “The Left/liberal political and media class is deeply invested in preserving the untouchable sanctity of ‘BLM,’” wrote Michael Tracy at Unherd last August. “It makes for a bizarre dynamic, as Democratic Party pundits and politicians routinely describe avowed insurrectionists as nothing more than benign ‘peaceful protesters.’”

As with the possible lab origins of the COVID-19 virus, nothing has changed since last year except administrations.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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