This weekend, amid the chaos and mass civil violence of the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, an alleged member of neo-Nazi group Vanguard America was arrested on suspicion of driving his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing local woman Heather Heyer and injuring scores of others.
Long before the attack, however, the idea of mowing down protesters in the streets had become a widespread fixation among some on the right, like law professor and “Instapundit” Glenn Reynolds. Republicans have proposed authoritarian bills to shield drivers who do so from legal consequences in at least six states. And Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s website, the Daily Caller, posted a “useful” compilation of videos of cars mowing down “liberal protesters” in January.
Per Slate, the video was shared some 20,000 times and shared to Fox News’ Fox Nation website. It’s clearly intended as some kind of sick joke, but in the same kind of vein as white supremacists who blanch at being labeled literal Nazis instead of ironic alt-right trolls. Both sites allowed the videos to stay up for over half a year, but removed them in the wake of the attack.
“Here’s a compilation of liberal protesters getting pushed out of the way by cars and trucks,” the video’s caption, written by Daily Caller video editor Mike Raust, read. “Study the technique; it may prove useful in the next four years.”
“If you are easily triggered, stop watching now,” the video itself suggests to a country cover of Ludacris’ 2001 song “Move Bitch.”
“Too late ... always remember to look both ways before crossing the street.”
The 90-second clip highlights an increasingly violent series of collisions with protesters, many of whom appeared to be members of the Black Lives Matter movement. As the video continues, it escalates from clips of cars bumping their way through crowds to high-speed collisions, including one where a car seemed to deliberately accelerate before running through multiple demonstrators and a clip of a car hitting a solo protester at a speed so fast it could easily have been lethal.
“Like your memes smothered in truth?” the video ended.“Follow @DailyCaller on Instagram.”
The version of the post shared to Fox’s website carried the headline “Here’s A Reel Of Cars Plowing Through Protesters Trying To Block The Road.”
“The item was inappropriate and we’ve taken it down,” Fox News Digital chief Noah Kotch told CNN Money. “We regret posting it in January.”
Though the original byline on the article accompanying the clip named Daily Caller video editor Mike Raust, presumably other editorial staff at Carlson’s site were involved in the decision to make a video advocating right-wingers mow down protesters and spread it online. Similarly, someone at Fox presumably decided to repost the article to their own site.
It’s probably unlikely that evidence will ever emerge suspect James Alex Fields Jr. came up with the idea to run over protesters after watching this specific video, but the widespread right-wing fantasizing about doing just that is right there with him in vile spirit if not praxis.
Neither Fox News or the Daily Caller responded to a request for comment on this story, and we’ll update if we hear back.