#DefundNPR trends after partially govt-funded site falsely uses crime victim photo to show right-wing violence
National Public Radio (NPR) faced public backlash for featuring a misleading cover photo on one of its news stories, prompting the hashtag #DefundNPR to go viral on Twitter. On the evening of June 21, the non-profit news outlet that is partially funded by the US government sparked rage on the social media platform for featuring a still image as the cover photo for a story about right-wing attacks. The photo which was meant to illustrate right-wing violence against peaceful protesters was taken from footage that shows a group of people surround a car that supposedly knocked down a man, while the driver was attacked through the window. However, in the story titled 'Vehicle Attacks Rise As Extremists Target Protesters', NPR used this image to portray "right-wing extremists" using vehicles to collide with protesters.
"NPR falsely accused a crime victim of terrorism, and this is as close to a "correction" as they will issue. #DefundNPR", a user tweeted after some digging revealed that the particular photograph had a controversial backstory to it. The cover image in question was sourced from footage retrieved from a surveillance camera, which shows a protester with a microphone standing in front of a vehicle, blocking the road ahead. The driver remained unnerved, while a group that surrounded the car approached closer and began harassing the driver through the open window following an argument.
The incident had taken place in Louisville, Kentucky on June 17 and had been reported by local media. Per WAVE 3 News, the local police said that one of the supposed protesters ripped a lock of the female driver's hair amid the altercation. The woman told the police officers that she only backed up and fled the scene when one of the attackers held her at gunpoint, claiming she had accidentally run over the protester who had been blocking her. Another clip shows an individual chasing after the vehicle with a gun in hand.
Following the incident. the police arrested and charged two people involved in the attack with rioting, disorderly conduct and obstructing a highway. The protester who had brandished the gun was identified as 21-year-old, Darious Anderson and was also charged with first-degree wanton endangerment. There have been no charges filed against the fleeing driver, as of yet. As soon as NPR ran the article and uploaded the link its social media handles, it ignited outrage among users who accused the media outlet of intentionally using the picture to smear the victim.
“You falsely accused a crime victim of being a terrorist. Enjoy the lawsuits!” said political commentator Mike Cernovich. "A driver is harassed by a group of people, tries to get away, is then attacked by a larger group... and uses their vehicle to defend themselves and getaway. This story is leftist bullshit," wrote comedian, Tim Young. "This driver needs to get a lawyer and sue NPR," said Stephen L Miller, Versus Media Podcast host. "Vehicles and drivers inside are viciously attacked by violent leftist radicals. Drivers mow the bastards down to escape the attack. NPR writes the most dishonest, phoney story in media history in response to the attacks," said defense attorney, David Wohl
NPR rectified their mistake by amending the cover photo for the article, saying, "Note: A previous version of this post and story included a photo of a protester being struck by a car in Louisville, Kentucky. The photo, chosen by editors, does not appear to be an example of the assaults described in the story and has been replaced." The tweet wasn't well-received either. "Not enough @NPR needs to be sued. They put a death warrant on this person by BLM and ANTIFA," a user added. "Oh yah hey sorry about that essentially manslaughter accusation, our b," tweeted another user.