They Report, We Deride

Fox News is having a rough time. On Friday the network got caught publishing digitally altered and misleading photos on stories about Seattle’s Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ).

As part of a package of stories Friday about the zone, where demonstrators have taken over several city blocks on Capitol Hill after Seattle police abandoned the East Precinct, Fox’s website for much of the day featured a photo of a man standing with a military-style rifle in front of what appeared to be a smashed retail storefront.

The image was actually a mashup of photos from different days, taken by different photographers — it was done by splicing a Getty Images photo of an armed man, who had been at the protest zone June 10, with other images from May 30 of smashed windows in downtown Seattle. Another altered image combined the gunman photo with yet another image, making it appear as though he was standing in front of a sign declaring “You are now entering Free Cap Hill.” …

… In addition, Fox’s site for a time on Friday ran a frightening image of a burning city, above a package of stories about Seattle’s protests, headlined “CRAZY TOWN.” The photo actually showed a scene from St. Paul, Minnesota, on May 30. That image also was later removed.

Fox News also was punked by a Reddit post that quoted lines from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, attributing them to a CHAZ self-appointed leader named Raz.

Fox promoted the Reddit post as a sign of dissension within the protesting ranks until an avalanche of Twitter posts clued them in to the joke.

Eric Wemple has a great critique of Tucker Carlson’s coverage of the George Floyd protests over the past several days. Carlson has been hyping violence. If Carlson were your only source of news, you might believe a large part of America was being burned to the ground by rioting leftists.

In November 2017, the Erik Wemple Blog documented this staple of Carlson’s misleading cable-news wizardry. The sequence routinely goes like this: A scandal of some sort breaks in Trump World or some organization that’s part of the Fox News ideological constellation; a backlash among liberals kicks up; instead of addressing the scandal itself, Carlson feasts on the most extreme fringes of that backlash. In the process, he apprises the audience that he’s “not defending” Trump or the police or whomever.

This framing explains all of the rhetorical jujitsu that Carlson has rolled out since Floyd’s killing.

Wemple then provides some examples of Carlson’s inflammatory coverage. But then the violence dissipated.

A change of gears, accordingly, was in store for “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” On Monday, he denounced the growing cultural influence of the Black Lives Matter movement: “America went insane over the weekend. … This was without precedent in the modern era, a small group of highly aggressive, emotionally charged activists took over our culture. They forced the entire country to obey their will. It all happened so fast and with such ferocity that virtually no one resisted it.”

Well, somebody seems insane, but not “America.” And then Tucker went on a long diatribe that ended with “This may be a lot of things, this moment we’re living through, but it is definitely not about black lives, and remember that when they come for you, and at this rate, they will.”

Exactly who “they” are was not specified. And this seems to be the speech that lost Tucker some of his advertisers, including the Walt Disney Co.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

ANTIFA! They’re everywhere they’re everywhere …

In other crazy news, read about the roofing company workers in Loveland, Colorado, who were mistaken for Antifa and held at gunpoint

[Loveland Police Lt. Bob] Shaffer said that Gudmundsen called police, said there were two “Antifa guys” in the neighborhood and that, “I am going out there to confront them.” Gudmundsen told police in the call he was armed and wearing tactical gear, Shaffer said.

A second person also called police around the same time and said a man in fatigues was holding two people on the ground at gunpoint in the street. …

… When officers arrived in the 2400 block of Dawn Court around 6 p.m. Thursday, they encountered Scott Gudmundsen (pictured) – dressed in fatigues and holding two men on the ground at gunpoint, Shaffer said.

But the men weren’t troublemakers – they work for a local roofing company and were wearing blue polo shirts with the firm’s name on them, shorts, tennis shoes and white surgical-style masks, Shaffer said.

One of them is a Colorado State University football player who is 20 years old and works part-time at the roofing company. The student is a “man of color,” according to a statement from the university.

Gudmundsen was armed with a Glock pistol and another pistol that had been converted into something that looks like a carbine rifle, the news article said. No one was injured. Gudmundsen has been charged with felony menacing and false imprisonment. His family says he is mentally ill, but if that’s the case they might want to consider taking his guns away from him before he kills somebody.

This story is even better: A troupe of jugglers who travel around in a colorfully painted school bus were identified as Antifa in Columbus, Ohio, by the freakin’ police department.

[Update: I see that the Facebook post from the Columbus Police Department that I had embedded here has been deleted, so here is a screen shot.]

Talking Points Memo:

According to the Flow Art jugglers all these claims are bogus. On Facebook Digati said: “The ‘weapons’ that were found are tools. Axes for my wood stove, knives for cooking, etc. … The ‘riot gear’ was literally a child’s shoulder pads, elbow, and knee pads for sports.” Another member of the troupe chimed in: “Yeah, there’s a hatchet on the bus — with a bunch of wood sitting next to a wood-burning stove. Well, duh. The rocks were crystals and fossils. They emptied out a knife block [from the kitchen area] and said they found a meat cleaver.”

But the damage had been done. The Columbus police department post made the rounds as confirmation of the Antifa invasion rumors swirling around the country – seemingly first concocted by a faux “antifa” site run by white supremacists and possibly amplified by Russia bots.

Guess who else got involved?

The FBI still says there is no evidence Antifa, not to be confused with traveling jugglers, is actually involved in the recent protests.

Trump at West Point

So Trump gave his stupid, lying West Point speech, for all the good it did him. There are fact checks at the New York Times and Juan Cole’s Informed Comment.

Trump struggled a bit to get down a ramp from the speaker’s platform. The walk down the ramp has gotten more coverage than the speech. I looked at the video; I’m not sure it’s that big a deal. I understand Trump wears lifts in his shoes to make himself look taller (why he tends to lean forward sometimes), and that might make walking downhill a little tricky.

He also had to use one hand to steady his other hand to take a sip of water. Hmm.

Yeah, Maybe We Do Need to Dismiss All the Police and Start Over

You probably heard that another black man was shot and killed by police in Atlanta Friday night. Rayshard Brooks’s crime was that he fell asleep in his car in a Wendy’s drive-through line. This would seem to require waking him up. Instead, the police were called, and somehow the encounter went sour as the police put Brooks under arrest and Brooks was killed.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta announced on Saturday that the city’s police chief had resigned. Early on Sunday morning, Sgt. John Chafee, a spokesman for the Atlanta Police Department, said Officer Rolfe had been fired and Officer Brosnan put on administrative leave.

Police dashboard and body-camera videos show that Mr. Brooks was compliant and friendly with the officers when they first approached him and for some time after that, and the encounter turned to a struggle when the officers tried to handcuff him.

Maybe instead of arresting Brooks they should have just bought him a cup of coffee.