NPR Goes Soft on Domestic Terrorism in Atlanta: Radicals ‘At Least Paused Construction’

March 11th, 2023 6:44 AM

National Public Radio’s Morning Edition came close to justifying the destructive attacks on a police-and-firefighter training facility being built in woods near Atlanta, in which 23 people were arrested and charged with domestic terrorism after a sort of violent jamboree unfolded Sunday in which “civil-rights” and anti-police protesters joined with environmental activists and black-clad Antifa, throwing bricks, rocks, fireworks, and Molotov cocktails and burning construction equipment.

Host A Martinez opened Tuesday’s segment:

In Georgia, 23 people are charged with domestic terrorism. The charge is related to protests against the construction of a police training facility in a forest near Atlanta. Keyanna Jones is a member of an interfaith coalition that asked the city council yesterday to abandon what's known as Cop City.

(It was dubbed “Cop City” by left-wing protesters -- and “known as Cop City” by tax-funded National Public Radio as well.)

After a clip from Jones, Martinez turned to “Capital B” Atlanta-based reporter Madeline Thigpen. “Capital B” describes itself as “a Black-led, nonprofit local and national news organization reporting for Black communities across the country.”

Martinez asked: “Madeline, can you tell us how police came to arrest people at that construction site and then at a nearby music festival as well?”

MADELINE THIGPEN: Yes. So protesters entered the construction site and set fire to multiple construction vehicles. Once the police had that situation under control, they then began to move on to the music festival, which was being hosted by the Stop Cop City movement in an adjacent part of the forest. A number of people were arrested that were music-festival-goers,

At least Thigpen didn’t hide that among those arrested was an attorney with the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center, though the story was bereft of ideological labels.

The host questioned the charge of “domestic terrorism,” and Thigpen responded in part “…There hasn't been any clear understanding, as far as I know, to why specifically domestic terrorism charges are being used in this case versus other protest movements.”

Martinez actually quibbled about the wholly accurate labeling of “outside agitators” as such, while comparing these terrorism suspects to nonviolent Martin Luther King Jr.:

MARTINEZ: All right. Now, police say that many of the people who've been charged are not from Georgia. In fact, Governor Brian Kemp has called them outside agitators -- his words. There's local opposition to that, isn't there?

THIGPEN: Yes. I spoke with a resident yesterday who said, you know, they called MLK an outside agitator. So she was very confused as to why they would then begin to use that language in Atlanta, where MLK was from, a city that celebrates him….

When Martinez queried Thigpen for a status report, her response was chillingly neutral, and Martinez’s follow-up actually credited the property-destroying rampage, while the result, a delay in construction, was respected.

THIGPEN: ...Since the construction vehicles have been burned, we aren't sure when construction will begin. A member of a community advisory committee did file an appeal that should stop construction. That did not happen. So I think that's part of why the activists decided to enter that site and burn those vehicles. But we don't know yet what the status of the project will be moving forward.

MARTÍNEZ: So I guess protesters can say that they at least paused construction of this site.

NPR ignored the presence of Antifa, whom the Daily Signal described as “agitators…dressed in Antifa-style black bloc for the attack on the facility they call Cop City.”

How can government-funded broadcasting be so supportive of domestic terrorism? Contact Public Editor Kelly McBride to express your criticism of this story.