In response to a white supremacist and neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that left three people dead, much of the conservative media has unified behind a single talking point: What about Black Lives Matter?
On Fox & Friends, co-host Pete Hegseth claimed that “violent aspects of Black Lives Matter ought be called out” during a segment of the show’s Sunday edition. Across social media, people equated the group with violent white supremacist factions, insisting that both sides were to blame. On Wednesday, right-wing filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza claimed outright that “alt-left terrorist[s]” associated with Black Lives Matter were “just as dangerous–if not more–than any white nationalist.”
President Trump himself echoed the point. “Many sides,” he claimed, were to blame for the bloodshed. “[It’s been] going on for a long time in our country,” he said on Saturday, after news broke that one counter-protester—a 32-year-old woman named Heather Heyer—had been struck and killed when an alleged white supremacist rammed his car into the crowd.
In a press conference intended to address infrastructure on Tuesday, Trump took the narrative one step further: the “alt-left” and counter-protesters (of which Heyer was a part) were to blame for the violence over the weekend. “I think there’s blame on both sides,” he said. “I have no doubt about it.”
Although Trump avoided singling out Black Lives Matter directly, it was clear that Trump was lumping civil rights activists with white nationalists.
Claims that Black Lives Matter presents a violent threat, however, began long before Saturday’s rally.
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Image: Alec Perkins