After Shooting, NPR Flunks 'Fact Check' on Leftist Violence, Smears NRA and Dana Loesch

It might seem bad enough that NPR would bury the shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and other Republicans to the bottom of the "Week in Politics" on Friday's All Things Considered. But that NPR "news" program also aired a fraudulent "Fact Check" asking the self-evident question "Is Left-Wing Violence Rising?"

They found a left-wing expert to insult everyone's intelligence by proclaiming: "The far left is very active in the United States, but it hasn't been particularly violent for some time."

Then anyone conservative who would question left-wing violence is somehow placed on the "far right" by NPR, which insists it doesn't have an ideological stance. 

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: Far-right pundits are seizing on this week's shooting at a congressional baseball practice as an example of what they say is a rise in the left-wing violence in the U.S. Experts who monitor domestic terrorism had been warning about the potential for left-wing radicalization as a backlash to President Donald Trump. But as NPR's Kirk Siegler reports, they're hesitant to call it a trend at this point.

KIRK SIEGLER, BYLINE: Lately here on the West Coast we keep seeing theatrical street confrontations between far right and far left - Berkeley, Portland, and just last night on the campus of The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Move it. Move it.

SIEGLER: It takes dozens of police in riot gear to keep these two groups apart. The right-wing group came to protest what they see as campus' overly liberal ideology. Their leader is a guy named Joey Gibson. And just a few minutes in he's nursing a bleeding eyebrow.

JOEY GIBSON: You know what you get in these hardcore liberal areas? They threw a can, hit me right in the face.

SIEGLER: Gibson is talking about a large group of leftist protesters often called antifas, short for anti-fascists. They wear black and hide their faces....The antifas say they're here to counter what they see as the right's violence and creeping fascism. This masked student gives his name as Felix. He says given the current political situation violence is to be expected.

FELIX: You know, people are desperate, and they see the government turning back into the aggressive Reaganomics and racist undertones and rhetoric. So once they start kicking, like, you know, 25 million people off the health care then you're going to start seeing riots.

So there it is: the threat (if not a promise) of more riots against Republican policies. But this is the closest Siegler gets to giving the conservative side some consideration, from an expert on right-wing extremists:  

SIEGLER: The idea that some on the far left are openly condoning violence is a red flag for extremist group monitors like J.J. MacNab. She says the clashes between antifas and far-right protesters on the West Coast are increasingly volatile.

J. J. MACNAB: This is a dangerous game. People are going to die. No one's died yet, but it's just a matter of time.

SIEGLER: Antifa's membership appears to be growing beyond its traditional West Coast base while also embracing other leftist ideas beyond just fighting white supremacists. MacNab says white supremacists are widely condemned - and deservedly - for their violent tendencies. But she worries antifa is getting a pass with violence just because they're attacking racists.

MACNAB: Attack them with words. Don't come in with sticks with nails in them.

Then Siegel calls the National Rifle Association the "far right," which is insulting millions of gun-rights activists: 

SIEGLER: On the far right, activists are trying to exploit the idea that groups on the far left like antifa are the ones inciting the violence.

(SOUNDBITE OF RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: They use their schools to teach children that their president is another Hitler.

SIEGLER: This online video was produced by the National Rifle Association.

(SOUNDBITE OF RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: To smash windows, burn cars, shut down interstates and airports, bully and terrorize the law-abiding.

NPR's "unidentified woman" is Dana Loesch, and the video is a one-minute political ad called "The Violence of Lies."

So isn't this supposed to be a "fact check" segment? There aren't schools that teach that Trump is Hitler? (Hundreds of journalists do.) Leftist protesters haven't smashed windows, burned cars, shut down interstates and airports? They're not really assessing the facts at NPR. They're trying to argue against the evidence, that leftist violence isn't a growing problem. 

SIEGLER: The actual data tell a much different story. Mark Pitcavage tracks domestic extremism for the Anti-Defamation League.

MARK PITCAVAGE: The far left is very active in the United States, but it hasn't been particularly violent for some time.

SIEGLER: According to the league's data, in the past 10 years 2 percent of all murders associated with extremist ideology came from the left. Seventy-four percent came from the extreme right, including the mass shooting at a black church in South Carolina, last month's deadly stabbings on a Portland commuter train. [By a Bernie Sanders supporter!??!] Pitcavage says you have to go back to the 1970s to see a real cycle of deadly violence from the left.

PITCAVAGE: But because of the controversial nature of the Trump presidency and some of the things that have occurred over the past six months there legitimately is a chance that we could see more violence from the left. And, you know, that should concern everybody.

SIEGLER: Domestic terrorism experts say that concern is only heightened by the fact that in the current polarized country what's considered mainstream and what's considered fringe is getting more blurry. Kirk Siegler, NPR News.

Pitcavage is a left-wing expert, a tracker of far-right militia groups, starting first at the Southern Poverty Law Center. But what Siegler is ignoring is the present day. In 2016, this same Anti-Defamation League found 49 out of the 69 extremist murders were domestic Islamic terrorism -- Omar Mateen's shooting of the gay nightclub in Orlando. The ADL doesn't associate that with the far right (and not as the Left).

This same Anti-Defamation League is actually warning of an increase in left-wing violence, but somehow, NPR couldn't find that. Here's an article by Vice News (h/t Daily Caller): 

“I think we’re in a time when we can’t ignore the extremism from the Left,” said Oren Segal, the director of the Center on Extremism, an arm of the Anti-Defamation League. Over the past few months, the ADL, which hosts regular seminars on homegrown extremism for law enforcement officials, has begun warning of the rising threat posed by far-left groups, most recently at a seminar just this past Sunday. “When we have anti-fascist counterprotests — not that they are the same as white supremacists — that can ratchet up the violence at these events, and it means we can see people who are violent on their own be attracted to that,” Segal said. “I hate to say it, but it feels inevitable.”

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