The Sympathetic Media Coverage of the Atlanta Antifa Riots

Legacy media grant a sense of legitimacy to the flimsy allegations used to incite violence against Atlanta police.

By Hudson Crozier

The story: According to an NPR article, a new autopsy “reveals” that activist Manuel Esteban Paez Terán had his hands raised before police shot him at the construction site for an Atlanta police training facility. The autopsy, paid for by Terán’s family, is the latest tool in the mainstream media’s sympathetic coverage of the violent Antifa-led movement against the facility that has resulted in over two dozen terrorism charges.

The facts: Terán, like other protesters, was illegally occupying the barricaded forest area where the facility is being built. Authorities claim that Terán shot first, injuring a state trooper, and that they have no precise footage of the shooting. As the investigation proceeds, the media are baselessly treating this new “independent autopsy”—the second one that Terán’s family has paid for—as smoking-gun evidence that he was compliant with police and that his death was unjustified.

The author of the NPR piece is journalist Kaitlyn Radde, who argued during the anti-police riots of 2020 that Antifa “isn’t a terrorist organization” because it acts “mostly in self-defense and in the defense of others.” Her report refers to Terán by his preferred nickname, “Tortuguita,” and emphasizes that he supposedly “expressed a commitment to nonviolence” before his death.

A pattern in media coverage of the “Stop Cop City” movement. The Guardian wrote an emotionally charged feature story about Terán and his family in January, saying he was merely “protesting” the facility without mentioning that he was trespassing and casually mentioning that officials say he shot first. NBC lamented that instead of acting as “intermediaries” to the trespassers, police were “opponents.” During the street riots that followed, FOX 5 Atlanta reported on television that they were “largely peaceful” while a police car burned in the background.

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