When people protesting the death of George Floyd got confrontational in Seattle, the police department backed out of the East Precinct to avoid any violence. In a surprising twist, on June 8th, the protestors took the police department, then the entire block. They named this newly occupied area “The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone,” or CHAZ, which has now spread to 6 blocks in the middle of the city. 

And 2020 continues to deliver.  As always, it’s hard to tell what’s really happening, because news reports were wildly different.

The Capitol Hill Seattle website described it as “…rainy and peaceful and full of speeches from activists, agitators, poets, and socialist city council members.”

President Trump has referred to the residents as, “domestic terrorists.”

Which interpretation was right?

President Trump’s terrorism claim seemed to be backed up by Fox News, which shared pictures of a man standing guard with a military style rifle, in front of a smashed store.  Another photo showed a chaotic scene of Seattle burning.

But wait a second…  The Seattle Times noticed these photos were manipulated.  They didn’t show what Fox said they showed.

The image was actually a mashup of photos from different days, taken by different photographers — it was done by splicing a Getty Images photo of an armed man, who had been at the protest zone June 10, with other images from May 30 of smashed windows in downtown Seattle. Another altered image combined the gunman photo with yet another image, making it appear as though he was standing in front of a sign declaring “You are now entering Free Cap Hill.”

The “burning city” image was actually of Minneapolis from May 30th, even though Fox’s headline and text indicated that this was a photo of Seattle burning now.   

When the Seattle Times contacted Fox News to note the discrepancy, Fox lied about the photos.  

A Fox News spokeswoman emailed a statement: “We have replaced our photo illustration with the clearly delineated images of a gunman and a shattered storefront, both of which were taken this week in Seattle’s autonomous zone.”

Not so fast.  The gunman photo was taken June 10.  The storefront image was a Getty image from May 30. The two photos were combined in a misleading way.  

Finally, they issued a rather lame disclaimer.  (Read it here.)  Basically, they said their main problem was making a collage and not clearly delineating that two photos were used.  Their explanation of using an old Minneapolis photo and trying to pass it off as current day Seattle was equally unconvincing.

“In addition, a recent slideshow depicting scenes from Seattle mistakenly included a picture from St. Paul, Minnesota. Fox News regrets these errors,” the statement read.


Fox News has been famous in recent years for calling out fake news, and here they are passing off fake photos as real. This propaganda is making an already volatile situation even worse. At best, this is blatant deception to push a political agenda. At worst, this is misleading law enforcement in ways that could result in real bloodshed. 

This whole CHAZ thing is one big dumpster fire.  It’s a bad and lawless situation there, with the police being forced to withdraw by the mayor.  It’s the end game of the anarchists.  But, it’s bad enough in reality without Fox manipulating photos and creating “fake news.”  C’mon Fox…we expect better.

Dishonestly in the media seems to be par for the course these days.  Whichever political side each of us takes, we should demand honesty from the media we consume.  It will always have its bias…but dishonesty like this should not be tolerated, from Fox or anyone else.

Check out this tweet which shows the real versus fake photos and judge for yourself.

Hat Tip: LA Times, Capitol Hill Seattle, Gallup, Seattle Times

About The Author

Mark Meckler

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at MarkMeckler.com, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.

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