“The right-wing saw that, and they did what they do: They pulled a bait-and-switch, and returned to an old boogeyman: Antifa,” he said, mentioning images of individuals “clad in black fighting in the streets” and concluding it to be “an easy idea to sell to people who say things like, ‘Blue Lives Matter.'”
“Ain’t nobody blue,” Bell said as he continued to downplay Antifa’s violence.
“‘Antifa’ is short for anti-fascist,” he explained.
“Look, this fighting for democracy and against fascism thing has always been a messy business. And, yes, people get hurt, property gets damaged, and things get confusing,” Bell said, featuring two members of the group on his show.
Antifa rioters have continued to exploit social justice issues over the past year particularly, using police-involved shootings to advance left-wing narratives while engaging in violent tactics and inflicting damage on both people and property in major cities such as Portland — home to some of the most prolific and consistent anti-police Antifa protests in the country.
According to a February estimate from the U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, repairing the damage to federal buildings in Portland alone exceeded $2 million.
Bell doubled down on these sentiments in a Monday op-ed on CNN, quoting Frederick Douglass who said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand.”
“And until power accepts demands worded like, ‘Please give us justice!’ or, ‘If you wouldn’t mind not oppressing us, we’d sure appreciate it,’ then protesting in ways that are loud, inconvenient, messy, damaging, and often beautiful is how Americans who believe in justice and joy will get those in power to act right,” he wrote.
“We could avoid all this if we just lived up to our ideals,” Bell added. “But until then, I’ll see you in those streets.”
Notably, a March Harvard-Harris poll found a majority, or 71 percent, categorizing Antifa as a domestic terrorist group. Bell’s series aired on CNN. The network was slammed last year for calling violent riots “fiery but mostly peaceful protests.” The chyron ran on screen as viewers watched an on-the-ground CNN reporter stand in front of one of several burning neighbors in Kenosha, Wisconsin.