Conservatives have long viewed the Black Lives Matter movement with skepticism and questioned the group’s tactics, but this week pundits grabbed hold of a new label for the organization: hate group.
After the Friday shooting death of a sheriff’s deputy in Texas and a Black Lives Matter protest at the Minnesota State Fair on Saturday, conservatives doubled down in their criticism. Numerous hosts at Fox News took issue with the group’s recent chant in Minnesota, “pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon,” tying that protest to recent deaths of police officers.
During a segment on the shooting and protest on Monday morning, “Fox and Friend” co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck asked why Black Lives Matter has not yet been labeled a hate group.
“Why has the Black Lives Matter movement not been classified yet as a hate group?” she asked conservative African-American writer Kevin Jackson. “How much more has to go in this direction before someone actually labels it as such?”
Jackson agreed with Hasselbeck’s suggestion that the movement is a hate group. Following media coverage of her comment on Monday, Hasselbeck published a tweet on Tuesday noting that it’s her job to ask questions.
— elisabeth hasselbeck (@ehasselbeck) September 1, 2015
Conservatives continued on Monday and Tuesday to link the Black Lives Matter movement to violence against police officers.
On Monday night, Fox’s Bill O’Reilly said he was sure that the shooting and the protest were in some way connected, and he labeled Black Lives Matter a “hate group” because “they hate police officers” and “want them dead.”
“These people, after the death, the murder of this deputy, went out and said, ‘We want more police officers killed,'” he said.
“They’re a hate group, and I’m going to tell you right now, I’m going to put them out of business,” O’Reilly added later.
On Tuesday night, O’Reilly brought on two guests to discuss whether Black Lives Matter should be linked to violence against cops.
“Do you believe that the Black Lives Matter crew and and other radicals are igniting violence against cops?” he asked. Yet neither guest agreed with the Fox host that the group should be linked to the recent shooting death of police officers.
Later on Tuesday night, conservative writer Katie Pavlich told Fox’s Megyn Kelly that Black Lives Matter “promotes the execution of police officers.”
During a Monday appearance on Fox News’ “The Five,” comedian Tom Shillue said that Black Lives Matter is a “violent group.”
“I mean, this is like a criminal organization,” he said. “I think it’s time to arrest these leaders because they’re threatening people and they’re causing violence.”
During the same segment, Fox host Eric Bolling speculated that Black Lives Matter protests “probably had some effect on” the Friday night shooting.
Although conservative outrage over the Black Lives Matter protest in Minnesota bubbled over into talk of hate groups just this week, the hosts at Fox News have been shaking their fists at the organization for a while, with O’Reilly leading the charge. In July, he said Black Lives Matter activists were engaging in “Gestapo tactics” and that they are “only interested in condemning white society.” He also suggested that the organization is “an anarchistic group” that “wants to tear down the country.”