Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters
In 2015, after a white supremacist gunned down nine Black worshipers in a Charleston, South Carolina, church and calls to dismantle the symbols of racism and slavery grew louder, Fox figures rallied around the Confederate flag. When state leaders, led by then-Gov. Nikki Haley, ordered the flag's removal from public buildings, Bill O'Reilly used his Fox prime-time perch to say it "represents, to some, bravery in the Civil War because the Confederates fought hard." Then-Fox personality Kimberly Guilfoyle speculated about whether the American flag would be next.
In 2017, when a white supremacist mowed down a crowd of protesters at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia -- which was spuriously organized around the city's plan to remove a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee from a local park -- the same pattern emerged. Fox figures defended President Donald Trump's false equivalence between white supremacists and the counterprotesters at the rally. And they asked whether book burning or removing the U.S. Capitol stone by stone would come next.