Trump and Fox News Continue to Stoke a Race War in the Streets
CJ Werleman reports on how violent right-wing extremists have been empowered further following the murder of George Floyd and the protests of the Black Lives Matter movement
White supremacists and groups loosely affiliated with the Nazi ideology have been using the internet and their violent deeds as a means to incite a race war in the United States.
The manifestos and online posts of those who have carried out dozens of successful and failed attacks against black churches, synagogues, mosques and wherever else racial minorities assemble speaks to a desire by those on the fringe to turn American against American.
That all but one of the most recent 50 terrorist attacks on US soil have been carried out by individuals and groups tied to violent right-wing extremism is a measure of a growing threat. Online message boards, encrypted communication applications and social media accounts are being used by race war agitators to communicate their dastardly ideology, ambition and means.
With the Black Lives Matter protests spreading to more than 200 cities across the country, however, the agitation and incitement for a war between the races has moved from the dark corners of the web and phone-to-phone interactions to mainstream conservative media, including Fox News.
The only conclusion one can arguably reach after assessing the manner in which Fox News has covered the murders of unarmed and non-threatening black citizens, and the subsequent nationwide protests they have unleashed, is that the Rupert Murdoch-controlled network wants a race war and it wants one now. And, if things continue on their current trajectory, the right-wing media might just get its way.
Fox News has long dedicated its coverage to stigmatising blacks people and liberals, multiculturalism, immigrants and civil rights movements. But, in the age of the Black Lives Matter movement, its peddling of fear, hate and racially-motivated misinformation has gone into hyper-drive.
When it is not defending police brutality, racist monuments and the Confederate flag, it has stigmatised the Black Lives Matter protestors by exaggerating the scale and size of the rioting, using outdated and even doctored footage. It has pushed racist conspiracies and manufactured an evidence-free panic towards Antifa, with Fox News host Laura Ingraham telling her audience that “wanton acts of violence are part of a coordinated effort to eventually overthrown the United States Government”.
Tucker Carlson, an unabashed white nationalist, told his viewers that “Black Lives Matter only believes in force” and that “nobody is punishing them”. He said the movement wants to “hurt anyone who gets in its way” and that “real Americans” should be mad and afraid. Dan Bongino, a regular Fox News contributor, warned that “this fight is coming to your front door, to every single person watching”.
Rush Limbaugh, who was recently bestowed the Medal of Freedom by President Donald Trump, went even further by urging “people with guns” to “push back” against the left and Black Lives Matter protestors.
“I know they’ve got them,” said Limbaugh on his radio programme. “I know, I mean, gun sales are going like – where are they? They’re not pushing back. If there’s no pushback, then – and if the pushback isn’t seen, then people are going to get dispirited and think that nobody cares about this assault on the country.”
It appears the country’s white supremacists, white nationalists, neo-Nazis, violent right-wing extremists and race war accelerationists are paying attention.
On 29 May and 6 June, a right-wing extremist shot and killed two police officers in California. On 8 June, a self-proclaimed leader of the Ku Klux Klan deliberately drove his car into Black Lives Matter protestors in Virginia. Several members of an armed right-wing militia, including a Republican Party candidate, were arrested for shooting an anti-racist protestor in New Mexico on 16 June. The FBI has announced it is investigating the public hangings of two black men in Palmdale and Victorville, California.
In failing to report any of these acts of race-motivated violence, Fox News has made a deliberate choice to stoke the flames of anti-black racism – which is inciting acts of violence against black protestors, anti-racists and anyone who might be perceived to be associated with Antifa.
Not one of the now more than 100 cases brought before the Justice Department by law enforcement officers in relation to the protests has any involvement or association with Antifa.
Equally notable is the fact that not a single US citizen has ever been killed on American soil by an individual associated or affiliated with the anti-fascist group, but right-wing pundits and politicians continue to encourage right-wing vigilantes to defend their towns and cities from this imaginary threat.
When a 75-year-old man was brutally knocked to the ground and his skull fractured by heavily armed police officers in Buffalo, New York, President Trump falsely suggested he was a member of Antifa. Violent right-wing extremists have interpreted this as a green light to attack Black Lives Matter protestors with impunity. ‘Oops, I thought he was with Antifa’ an attacker can now say.
As such, we can expect a continuing uptick in racially-motivated violence, and possibly what could even be described as a fully-fledged race war, should increasingly active “accelerationists” get their way.
“Accelerationists hope to set off a series of chain reactions with violence fomenting violence, and in the ensuing cycle more and more people join the fray,” observes Daniel Byman, a renowned violent extremism expert and senior fellow at the Centre for Middle East Policy. “When confronted with extremes, so the theory goes, those in the middle will be forced off the fence and go to the side of the white supremacists. If violence can be increased sufficiently, the system will run out of lackeys and collapse, and the race war will commence.”
With the United States grappling – simultaneously – with public health, economic and social crises and a President and major cable television news network deliberately sowing further division and chaos, the likelihood of yet another race-based civil war has never looked more likely.