The stretch of Seattle streets taken over by protesters—originally known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ); recently renamed the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP)—has proved confusing for many.
Conflicting reports tend to paint it as either a liberal utopia or a radical takeover, while the reality is significantly less extreme. But perhaps none have been as flummoxed by it as Fox News.
Fox News’ coverage of Seattle’s cop-free zone has been riddled with falsities and inaccuracies, photoshopping images and misidentifying public officials more than once.
Then, there’s Tucker Carlson’s show. A clip about Seattle on Tuesday’s Tucker Carlson Tonight became popular on Twitter after Media Matters’ John Whitehouse (@existentialfish) shared it with the caption, “i didn’t edit this footage at all.”
Purported to show “life inside our newest neighbor: CHOP,” the clip overlays ominous music onto footage of people who generally seem to just be walking around. It continues a running joke Carlson set up in previous episodes, referring the area as “the nation of CHOP,” and calling the people there “CHOP-istanis.”
He regularly accuses protesters of drug use and notes they have “no record of achievement or personal hygiene.”
“CHAZ’s [CHOP’s] gleaming capital rises from land that once belonged to an indigenous, but now nearly extinct tribe known as the Seattle Police Department,” he declared when “introducing” the “nation” on June 12.
In Carlson’s Tuesday night segment, available in full on the Fox News YouTube channel, he once again questions the sobriety of those shown in CHOP.
“You’re not administering blood tests, of course, but your best estimate—what percentage of the CHOP-istani people are sober at any given time?” the Fox News host asks Seattle-based reporter Jason Rantz, who laughs.
“Not everybody there is going to be high or drunk at the same time, I will be fair to them,” Rantz responds.
What’s most bizarre about Fox News’ Seattle coverage is the dual tone of mocking and dismissing the protesters as drug-addled and toothless, while also maintaining they are a serious threat not just to Washington, but to the nation at large.
Of course, for Carlson, poor coverage of the ongoing protests is nothing new. A recent rant against Sesame Street inspired mockery, and some of his comments on race led to multiple advertisers dropping his show.