Originally published here by the Wall Street Journal on March 15, 2021.
They twisted what I said about Jan. 6 because they want Americans to forget last summer’s violence and destruction.
I’m amazed but not surprised. Those who seek political advantage by dividing the nation hurl the worst possible accusations to silence anyone who challenges their left-wing agenda.
In a recent radio interview on the Joe Pags Show, I explained why I wasn’t concerned by the Trump supporters who came to Washington on Jan. 6 to protest peacefully. Thousands of protesters—no one knows the actual number—marched to the Capitol. Only about 800 people illegally entered the Capitol. Still fewer engaged in violent acts. I condemned those lawbreakers at the time and continue to do so. But I feel compelled to push back as Democrats and their media allies try to equate the two groups by implying that all present were “armed insurrectionists” determined to overthrow the government.
I told Joe Pags the truth: I honestly never felt threatened on Jan. 6. But, I added, I might have been worried if Donald Trump had won and the violent leftists who burned Kenosha, Wis., and Minneapolis last summer had come to Washington. Here’s exactly what I said: “Now, had the tables been turned—Joe, this could get me in trouble—had the tables been turned, and President Trump won the election, and those were tens of thousands of Black Lives Matter and antifa protesters, I might have been a little concerned.”
I said “this could get me in trouble” because I have been repeatedly attacked for challenging the left’s false narratives. I had no idea they would so thoroughly twist my words and reflexively play the race card.
Leftists who want to memory hole last summer’s political violence immediately started lecturing me that the 2020 protests were mostly peaceful. Apparently they’ve forgotten that, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, 570 protests became riots last year. The vast majority of these protests were organized and attended by leftists. Twenty-five people lost their lives and 700 law enforcement officers were injured. Braying about “peaceful protests” offers no comfort to those victims or the other innocent Americans whose homes, businesses and property were destroyed. The same people fail to see the damage they do by pushing a narrative designed to portray the 74 million Americans who voted for Mr. Trump as potential domestic terrorists or armed insurrectionists.
We should all be disgusted at the cynical way antifa and other leftists hide behind the banner of equality—a goal we all share—even as they carry signs calling for an end to America or talk of burning cities down. It was also sadly predictable that liberals would hurl the accusation of racism. This isn’t about race. It’s about riots. The rioters who burned Kenosha weren’t of any one ethnicity; they were united by their radical leftism.
Their politics, together with their taste for violence—so different from the Trump supporters I know personally or the Trump rallies we all saw carried out peacefully—should concern us. There’s a reason why the boarded-up windows in the downtowns of major cities came down soon after Joe Biden won the election: Nobody was worried what Trump supporters would do if their guy lost; they were worried about what Biden supporters would do if their guy didn’t win.
Unfortunately, much of the media have lost any sense of fairness and objectivity. They shed all pretense of being unbiased the moment President Trump won the 2016 election. As a result, approximately half of America simply doesn’t trust the mainstream media or rely on what it reports. An unbiased free press is essential in a democracy, but the censorship of conservative perspectives in today’s cancel culture is antithetical to freedom.
Most reporters today put advocacy above journalism. Instead of conducting interviews with conservatives, they conduct arguments. They push their political viewpoints and are willing to lie, twist, distort, omit, censor and cancel anything or anyone with an opposing view. They are oblivious to the harm they are doing. All who value liberty and free speech must push back.