Note: This piece originally attributed examples of Fox News personalities commenting on Glinewicz's death to a piece from the Washington Post's Radley Balko, although Balko compiled his examples from The Daily Beast's Andrew Kirell. Salon deeply regrets the attribution error.
Fox News has declared war against the Black Lives Matter movement, spending hours to discredit and undermine activists' grievances against police brutality and deflecting to a tired trope of a "war on cops," but now that one of their prime examples has completely fallen apart, the network's tempered news anchor has been forced to admonish his colleagues for rushing to advance a baseless narrative.
After months of speculation and a massive, days long manhunt, officials announced this week that the death of Fox Lake, Illinois, police Lt. Joe Gliniewicz was not, in fact, a murder in the line of duty but "a carefully staged suicide."
For Fox News and other conservative media outlets, Gliniewicz's death was just but one of several anecdotal truths pointing to a deadly repercussion of the Black Lives Matter movement.
On his Thursday show, Fox News anchor Shepard Smith called out those conservative commentators who jumped to use the cop's death as a tool to undermine the anti-police brutality movement.
"Think of the narrative that came out of that from so many, many places,'it's the fault of the Black Lives Matter movement' and all of this stuff that was just-- it really turned up the rhetoric and it really was factually wrong," Smith said, rebuking his colleagues' rush to judgement.
"Don't get ahead of the news," Smith admonished. "It will run you over."
According to the Washington Post's Radley Balko's partial list of pundits who used Gliniewicz’s staged death to prop up a so-called "war on cops" narrative, at least seven of Smith's Fox News colleagues are guilty of getting ahead of the news -- as Shep would say.
The Daily Beast's Andrew Kirell compiled a few examples:
- Megyn Kelly used Gliniewicz to point to "new complaints about the anti-police rhetoric, we have been hearing, in particular from some of the Black Lives Matter protests," claiming that "law enforcement officials are not the only ones questioning the movement now."
- Fox News' favorite black sheriff, David Clarke, went on Kelly's show to claim that Gliniewicz’s death proved that "we know the political class, including the president, have turned their back on us, and we’re kind of out here alone now.”
- “War has been declared on the American police officer," Clarke told Fox Business News' Lou Dobbs.
- Eric Bolling, co-host of "The Five," claimed that Gliniewicz had been “blown away in cold blood” to argue that there is a “crisis” of law enforcement officers being killed because President Obama has failed to say “Blue Lives Matter.”
- Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich led the #BlueLivesMatter hashtag hours after Gliniewicz was found, stripped of his gun and pepper spray:
Watch Shep Smith call out his Fox News colleagues, via Media Matters: