For the past several months, the Fox News Channel has given its viewers a fairly bleak picture of Portland. Following the bloody protests on June 29 in downtown Portland, in which conservative writer Andy Ngo was attacked, the primetime opinion programs on Fox News, in particular, have blasted Portland for what hosts characterize as an inadequate response to violence on the streets.
With dueling demonstrations expected to again occur on Aug. 17 as Proud Boys and antifa protesters come to downtown Portland, the national media are again turning their attention to Portland. And Fox News Channel is once again casting a critical eye toward the city.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, for example, appeared on Fox News on Wednesday, Aug. 14, responding to criticism from the hosts that the city’s police haven’t yet arrested suspects in the attack on Ngo.
“Police are investigating and they are following up on leads,” Wheeler said.
As the Oregonian has reported, Portland police are asking for help from the public in locating a man who is suspected in an assault during the June 29 protest.
The Aug. 17 events began with the announcement that the right-wing organization, the Proud Boys, was going to hold a rally in Portland to oppose left-wing anti-fascists, or antifa. Organizers of the “End Domestic Terrorism” protest support declaring antifa a domestic terrorist organization.
In response to the Proud Boys rally, members of Portland antifa groups have called on supporters to turn out on Aug. 17 for a counter-protest.
Wheeler and other officials have warned any protesters who plan to use violence that they should stay home, and that police and law enforcement will be prepared to take action against those intent on causing disruption.
On Wednesday evening, the left-leaning primetime shows on MSNBC didn’t get into the situation regarding Portland, and neither did CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360\u2033 or “CNN Tonight With Don Lemon.”
Portland was, however, featured on the Fox News Channel. Fox News commentator Jesse Watters was fill-in host on “The Ingraham Angle,” and he discussed the attack on Ngo and the upcoming protests. As in an episode of the show that aired shortly after the June 29 Portland protests, with guest host Raymond Arroyo, Ngo was interviewed, along with his lawyer, Harmeet Dhillon, a 2020 Trump Advisory Board member.
The Fox News primetime shows are known for hosts who generally offer conservative analysis of the news. The activities of left-wing protesters in Portland, a city with a liberal reputation, have been often criticized.
Introducing the segment featuring Ngo and Dhillon on Wednesday’s “The Ingraham Angle,” Watters said that “antifa threatens to turn a West Coast city into a violent mess.”
As images of Ngo being attacked during the June 29 protest were shown, Watters said, “The mayor just seems feckless in the face of all this.”
Dhillon said that Ngo has been attacked before, and that this is “like a horror version of ‘Groundhog Day,'” adding that she thought Wheeler and other leaders from Portland’s civic, religious and political communities gathering on Wednesday to condemn potential violence during this weekend’s protests was “a ludicrous PR stunt.”
Watters said that, for all the people trying to come to Portland and that live in Portland, “keep your head on a swivel,” because “all hell’s going to break loose,” if what is predicted actually happens.
“The whole thing’s a powder keg,” Ngo said.
— Kristi Turnquist
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