What about antifa? Conservatives are mad at the media for ignoring ‘attack’

To the shock of no one, conservative pundits have found a villain after a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville was drowned out by counter-protestors and members of antifa.

And it’s not the white supremacists.

The “Unite the Right 2” rally, held on the one-year anniversary of the same rally that resulted in the deaths of counter-protester Heather Heyer (who was struck by a speeding car allegedly driven by white supremacist James Alex Fields) and two Virginia police officers, was largely considered a flop.

Members of the white supremacist group were led by last year’s organizer, Jason Kessler, and were escorted by a phalanx of police and herded into private train cars to avoid confrontations with the considerably larger groups of counter-protesters.

As the day went on, video footage of the event began to circulate, some of which captured alleged members of antifa confronting members of the media. Most of these confrontations were captured by NBC News correspondent Cal Perry.

Perry later said on Twitter that “by design, last night’s Antifa-led protest/rally in Charlotesville got a bit rough and tumble.”

This wouldn’t do for conservative pundits like Charlie Kirk, who has long described Antifa as “thugs.”

It’s worth breaking down Kirk’s statement here.

Kirk states that “hundreds” of Antifa “thugs” assaulted members of NBC News and “targeting” conservatives. In almost every video associated with this “Antifa attack,” the only confrontation happening is alleged Antifa members blocking or destroying camera equipment. The protester who shouted “Fuck you, snitch-ass news bitch” has no identifying markers on him, save for a white bandana. Antifa members are typically identified by all-black clothing, leaving the man’s allegiances uncertain.

NBC’s own Cal Perry has since declined to elaborate on the exchanges, referring other reporters to his tweets from the rally, but the fact that he has yet to outright condemn the actions speaks to how little they likely affected him or his job.

NPR reporter Tim Mak also briefly became the subject of focus from conservative pundits looking to criticize the Antifa movement. Mak was attending the D.C. counter-protest with a fellow NPR reporter when people from seemingly within the antifa crowd began throwing eggs and lighting several small fireworks into the air. Mak (and shortly after, conservative critics) described the fireworks as being fired at police, but the fireworks can be seen shooting straight up into the sky.

Mak later countered critics of counter-protesters by describing the rally as mostly peaceful.

“The vast, vast majority of counter-protestors were peaceful demonstrators opposing white supremacists,” Mak tweeted early Monday. A small group of Antifa were also present at a different site. Neither CNN nor other news networks are referring to Antifa when they characterize the counterprotesters broadly.”

The narrative amongst conservative pundits has quickly grown into something along the lines of “NBC News won’t report on the attacks by Antifa because they’re all liberal media.”

This ignores the reporting by most media on the tense, yet generally peaceful counter-protests, as well as the inconclusive evidence of each video.

There was only one arrest and no injuries reported by the DC police chief, NPR’s Mak reported.

Even Fox News’ own reporting is inconclusive. The network deemed it appropriate to share a video allegedly filmed at one of the rallies, wherein several people wearing black can be seen punching a man repeatedly. In Fox News’ own words, “it’s unclear where this took place.”

The video in question was shared by a far-right outlet called “The Blair Bitch Project.”

In the same article, Fox News writes that antifa members attacked an officer riding a motorcycle. The accompanying video shows nothing more than an unidentifiable, small plume of smoke from the middle of an otherwise peaceful crowd.

Since the rally, other reporters have lent their commentary on the various incidents.

CNN’s Brian Stelter and Jake Tapper had perhaps the strongest condemnation for antifa from any major news outlet besides Fox News.

“Unacceptable behavior by a protester in C’Ville last night — violently swatting away a journalist’s camera,” Stelter tweeted.

Antifa has long been the focus of false flag operations by alt-right and conservative critics, who have been known to pose as antifa members while holding pro-pedophilia flags, in an effort to discredit the movement.

Above all else, the intimidation white supremacists felt during this year’s Unite the Right rally was incredibly visible. Unite the Right organizer Jason Kessler claimed that the rally failed to achieve a larger attendance because supporters were “scared” after the deadly events of last year.

No white supremacists were killed last year, however, just Heather Heyer, among a litany of other violent incidents at the hands of white supremacists.

Joseph Knoop

Joseph Knoop

Joseph Knoop is a gaming writer for Daily Dot, a native Chicagoan, and a slave to all things Overwatch. He co-founded the college geek culture outlet ByteBSU, then interned at Game Informer, and now writes for a bunch websites his parents have never heard of.