W. Kamau Bell, host of CNN’s “United Shades of America,” appeared to mock rival network host Tucker Carlson of Fox News as he interviewed a pair of Antifa members who went on to justify the group’s violence.
In the Sunday segment, Bell began with the claim that amid endless protests and violence last year following the May death of George Floyd at the hands of police, whites were forced to deal “with complicated feelings about the police for the first time.” He went on to accuse “the right-wing” of “a bait and switch,” revisiting “an old Boogieman, Antifa,” as video clips of clashes between rival factions played.
“Images of people clad in black fighting in the streets was an easy idea to sell to people who say things like, ‘Blue Lives Matter,” Bell intoned. “Again, ain’t nobody blue.”
Next, Bell is seen in a vehicle, masked up, narrating as he explains that ‘Antifa’ is short for “anti-fascist,” going on to resort to a typical comparison made by the left of their right-leaning, conservative opponents.
“If you’re unsure how you feel about that, picture a table. On one side of the table, it’s Hitler and Mussolini,” he said as an image of the Nazi leader and his World War II Italian ally were shown giving the standard right-armed salute.
“And on the other side is the popular…performer Raffi,” Bell continued, as a screengrab of a tweet displayed from Candian children’s singer and lyricist Raffi Cavoukian which said, “I am an anti-fascist. pass it on #ANTIFA = #antifacist #GeorgeFloyd.”
“Which side of the table you sittin’ on? I’m with Raffi,” Bell said.
The CNN host is then seen arriving at what appears to be a warehouse where two black-clad, hooded individuals — a woman and a man — are seated, saying in his voiceover, “Ooo, Tucker’s gonna be so mad” — a reference to the popular Fox News host’s previous criticism of CNN, which he accused of “promoting” Antifa violence.
Beginning the interview, Bell asked whether Antifa was an idea and concept or a regular organization, “because you guys are actually a group.”
The woman responded, comparing Antifa to knitters and explaining that people can belong to “knitting clubs” or they can knit on their own initiative, an explanation that made Bell laugh and declare that it was the most accurate and best he had heard.
“So let’s talk about the other side because a lot of things that Antifa is credited with is violence,” Bell went on. “How do you feel about violence in the movement?
The male member appeared to justify it by claiming that in Portland, Ore., for instance, Antifa members are merely “defending our community.”
“I think what’s often left out is that groups like the Proud Boys are coming into Portland from across the state and the country to commit violence here on our city streets,” he claimed, as the segment then featured a video clip of a rally where some attendees were wearing Trump gear and a speaker was chanting “F**k Antifa!”
“And if we weren’t out there putting our bodies on the line, they find people who are weaker than them and pick on them,” the male member added.
Throughout last year, video and images captured by observers and journalists such as Portland-based Andy Ngo, who was himself attacked, show members of Antifa literally ganging up on victims and beating them up. In addition, one avowed Antifa member, Michael Forest Reinoehl, allegedly shot and killed Patriot Prayer member Aaron “Jay” Danielson, 39, in an ambush-style attack in September. A year earlier, another Antifa member, Gage Halupowski, was sentenced to six years in prison after violently attacking another man with a baton.
Bell and his guests appeared to justify all of the violence.
“Look, this fighting for democracy and against fascism thing has always been a messy business,” Bell said during a narrated segment showing several protests and scenes of looting. “And, yes, people get hurt, property gets damaged, and things get confusing.”
Meanwhile, the male Antifa member justified doxxing people who post things online he and his organization simply disagree with.
“We can make someone’s life a little bit harder by publishing their job and hoping they get fired or have to find a new job,” he told Bell. “But those are temporary setbacks for them that make their organizing harder, and their organizing is work that intends to commit genocidal violence.
“So in the grand scheme of things, we think that’s worth it,” he added.
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