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Fox News has been searching for something—anything—that would allow it to deflect the violent Unite the Right rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia, that erupted Saturday afternoon. By Monday morning, it appeared the network had found the group to point its collective finger at for the continued racism, violence and polarization in America: not the Nazis, the KKK, white supremacists or the "alt-right," but the mainstream media.
As graphic images of white men carrying tiki torches and attacking counterprotesters flooded timelines across the nation, hosts of the right-wing morning talk show Fox & Friends blamed the left and the media for wanting to "run with their narrative" about the latest developments.
Fox News hosts Abby Huntsman and Pete Hegseth slammed news outlets for their coverage of President Donald Trump's statement on the rally, in which he failed to directly condemn white supremacists and the alt-right movement, instead stating that hate had come "from all sides."
"It seems like an open door now for them to run with their narrative, when the president didn’t come out and call it for what it was," Huntsman said Monday morning. "In their minds, and a lot of them, they say this can, we can associate the president with these groups, and that fits a lot of the narrative on the left, a lot of the media, and that is very problematic for, for, society."
"Of course, because so much of the left sees this world not through America first but through racial identity politics first," Hegseth said.
Trump's favorite news outlet was one of the only networks to praise his response to Charlottesville. Others criticized the president’s statement as falling short of an outright rejection of white supremacy.
Rebuke of Trump's statement didn't come solely from the media, however. Ken Frazier, CEO of the pharmaceutical company Merck & Co., resigned from the president’s manufacturing council Monday. "America's leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy," Frazier wrote in a statement announcing his departure. His resignation seemed to anger the president, who tweeted in response: "Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President's Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!"
Several former presidents spoke out about the events over the weekend, including Bill Clinton, who stated, "Even as we protect free speech and assembly, we must condemn the hatred, violence and white supremacy on display in Charlottesville."
Barack Obama quoted Nelson Mandela on Twitter, writing, "No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion," along with a photo of him greeting multiracial children during his tenure in the White House.
Vice President Mike Pence also directly condemned white supremacy in a statement, saying, "We have no tolerance for hate and violence from white supremacists, neo-Nazis or the KKK. These dangerous fringe groups have no place in American public life and in the American debate, and we condemn them in the strongest possible terms."
But according to Fox News, it was the media, not Trump or the racists in Charlottesville, who should be judged after one woman was killed and at least 19 others were injured at the weekend rally.
"Look for the press to keep pressing him no matter what," Hegseth quipped. "In their mind, nothing is ever good enough."
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