News host Bill O’Reilly accused “professional agitators” on Friday of organizing the protests in New York City and Ferguson, Missouri against police violence.
“The demonstrations you are seeing are not — are not — spontaneous dissent from regular folks,” he argued. “Rather, they are well-planned disruptions from professional anti-establishment provocateurs. That’s important to understand, because it is the American system that is being attacked, not the individual sagas of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.”
O’Reilly said that his program “has learned” that demonstrations in both city had been organized by a group calling itself This Stops Today, and that the “radical far-left” Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and groups funded by “shadowy radical” George Soros were involved with the protests.
However, while “This Stops Today” became a popular hashtag following grand jury decisions not to indict police officers in connection with the deaths of Brown and Garner, there does not appear to be a particular group using that name online.
O’Reilly also named two other “grievance groups,” Communities United for Police Reform and “Hoodies for Justice,” a possible reference to Million Hoodies Movement for Justice, an organization formed in response to the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin at the hands of George Zimmerman in 2012.
The Factor host said earlier this week that he did not feel Garner “did not deserve what happened to him,” but called the idea that police are more likely to behave violently toward Black men “a blatant lie.”
However, PunditFact reported on Thursday that the data O’Reilly has been using to make that argument is based on self-reported data, since police are not obligated to share statistics regarding fatal police shootings and neither coroners nor physicians are required to identify how many cases they encounter involving authorities. Punditfact listed O’Reilly’s claim as “mostly false.”