Host Mark Levin, who conducted the interview, is now pushing back against the mainstream media’s coverage of the segment, accusing newspapers’ fact checkers of lying about Black Lives Matter’s true nature and declaring that journalists are in cahoots with “violent Marxists”.
“I think they would be, you know, generally for bringing down any administration,” said Mr Barr. “They are a revolutionary group that is interested in some form of socialism, communism, they’re essentially Bolsheviks, their tactics are fascistic.”
The attorney general also claimed that protesters are often seen wearing helmets and shields with hammers and sickles on them, but that these never appear in the media because journalists have intentionally crafted a “narrative” that does not correspond to the objective truth.
The Trump administration has itself been accused of using “fascistic” tactics by many protesters, including in Portland, Oregon, where masked troops were deployed by the Department of Homeland Security to drive back protesters with tear gas, batons and projectiles.
Mr Barr rejected this analysis. “The media has recently looked at our efforts to bring justice to the streets of these communities that are suffering the violence, and then the equate that to what they refer to as ‘jackboot federal agents going in to crush protesters’.
“It’s either an amazing lack of understanding of what’s happening around them, or it’s deliberate.”
The interview appalled many observers already critical of the administration, and Mr Levin has in turn reacted by attacking his and Mr Barr’s detractors.
He was particularly incensed by the Washington Post’s coverage of the interview, in which the paper pointed out that there is no evidence connecting the supposed violent group “antifa” with Black Lives Matter protests – even as right-wing “Boogaloo” activists, who anticipate a coming second civil war, have attended various demonstrations with assault rifles and other weapons.
In a Twitter thread, the host called the Post’s coverage a shocking lie, criticising the reporter for relying on the paper’s fact-checker. (He did not attack the fact-checker directly.)
“The dismissive tone and journalistic disinterest in Antifa is truly outrageous. The media have demonstrated that they are all in with the violent Marxist movement in our country.”
While some on the American right have increasingly blamed antifa for the violence and looting seen at various protests, antifa is not in fact a cohesive organisation with a command structure or leaders – and there is no evidence that the vast majority of protesters identify themselves with the term.