Source: Matt McClain/The Washington Post via AP, Pool
Wrapping up a three-day tour in Chicago, Phoenix and Cleveland Friday, Attorney General Bill Barr took on the media during an exclusive interview with Townhall.
"They're basically a collection of liars. Most of the mainstream media. They're a collection of liars and they know exactly what they're doing. A perfect example of that were the riots. 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 on the flight back to Washington Friday afternoon.
"The press has dropped, in my view - and I'm talking about 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."
For months major news networks have portrayed riots across the country as "peaceful protests." CNN ran a chyron of a reporter standing in front of a burning Kenosha business that read, "Fiery but mostly peaceful protest."
"It's funny that you had record numbers of police being injured during 'peaceful' protests," he said. "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."
But while most of what Barr classifies as "national media" has failed to report the facts on the ground about recent unrest, he credits a small number of journalists who have worked to find and publish the real story.
"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 do understand some of the issues. 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."
One of those people is Associated Press reporter Mike Balsamo, who embedded with the U.S. Marshals protecting the federal courthouse in Portland during endless nights of rioting and unrest. Townhall's Julio Rosas has been on the scene of riots in Seattle, Portland and Kenosha.
According to Barr, the organizing behind the rioting in cities across the country is under investigation and 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," Barr said, adding that the funding of the riots is also under investigation. "I think Antifa and Antifa like groups are at the center of it."