Attorney General William Barr unleashed a bitter torrent of anti-media criticism Friday, calling the mainstream press corps "a collection of liars."
In an interview with Townhall, Barr's no-holds-barred tirade zeroed in on coverage of months of racial justice demonstrations, some of which he said turned violent because of "street fighting radicals."
"They're basically a collection of liars. Most of the mainstream media," he told Townhall. "They're a collection of liars and they know exactly what they're doing. A perfect example of that were the riots."
He added, "Right on the street it was clear as day what was going on, anyone observing it, reporters observing it, it could not have escaped their attention that this was orchestrated violence by a hardened group of street fighting radicals.
"And they kept on excluding from their coverage all the video of this and reporting otherwise and they were doing that for partisan reasons, and they were lying to the American people. It wasn't until they were caught red-handed after essentially weeks of this lie that they even started feeling less timid."
Barr said the Department of Justice is investigating "the organizing behind the rioting in cities across the country" and that federal law enforcement agencies "are working to identify the individuals behind the chaos."
"People are pouring through all of the video trying to identify people to hold people accountable," he said, adding that the funding of the violent protests is also under investigation.
"I think Antifa and Antifa-like groups are at the center of it," he said of the far-left anti-fascist activists.
According to Barr, "the national mainstream media has dropped any pretense of professional objectivity and are political actors, highly partisan who try to shape what they're reporting to achieve a political purpose and support a political narrative that has nothing to do with the truth."
"They're very mendacious about it," he continued. "It's very destructive to our republic; it's very destructive to the Democratic system to have that, especially being so monolithic. It's contributing to a lot of the intensity and partisanship."
Barr condemned the descriptions of the demonstration as "peaceful protests."
"It's funny that you had record numbers of police being injured during 'peaceful' protests," he argued. "You know usually in protests, you have large numbers of injured rioters and a modest number of injured law enforcement. I'm talking about back in the '90s and '60s, '60s to the '90s.
"Nowadays very few rioters get injured, very few and hundreds, even thousands of officers have been injured."
Last month, two people were killed during violent protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, after a police shooting of a Black man. A right-leaning activist was killed in Portland, Oregon, and his suspected killer was fatally shot by federal law enforcement officers.
Barr spared some journalists in his blanket condemnation.
"I think there are a handful of reporters in the mainstream media that still have journalistic integrity, and there are some, but the overwhelming majority don't have it anymore," Barr said.
"The people who do cover the Department [of Justice] do understand some of the issues," he said.
"But, on the other hand, some of them have essentially adopted the same methods and ploys as what I refer to more generally as the national media and that is they're not because, probably somewhat because, of their own orientation and but also what their editors say, they're not really interested so much in what really happened but in pursuing a preformed narrative that suits some kind of ideological agenda. That's what it's all become."
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