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Katie Sanders
By Katie Sanders September 13, 2020

Fact-checking misinformation about firefighters, antifa in Portland

If Your Time is short

  • There's no evidence that activists attacked firefighters, and KXL did not report that.

There's a new angle in misinformation about the West Coast wildfires: activists involved with antifa and Black Lives Matter attacked firefighters with gunfire.

That didn’t happen. And despite what a Facebook post shared thousands of times says, a Portland radio station reported no such thing.

The post shared Sept. 11 says: "KXL Radio in Portland reported today that Firefighters are now being shot at by suspected Antifa and BLM members."

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

It’s another example of made-up explanations for the wildfires in California, Washington and Oregon. FBI Portland said on Sept. 11 it investigated reports that extremists set the wildfires "and found them to be untrue."

RELATED: Antifa activists did not start the West Coast wildfires

There’s no evidence for the claim that activists attacked firefighters either.

We searched TVEyes, a TV and radio monitoring service, for mentions of "antifa" and "Black Lives Matter" on FM News 101 KXL on Sept. 11.

Lars Larson, conservative host of a "provocative" talk radio show on KXL, talked about Black Lives Matter and antifa, but not in the way the Facebook poster described. Larson talked about people "believing a lot of junk on the Internet" about antifa activists intentionally setting fires. He asked listeners to vote in a Twitter poll as to whether they believe in "a tie between northwest wildfire arson and BLM/antifa groups."

"At this point I don’t have the evidence to say yes to that one. I know that disappoints a lot of you, but I believe in an evidence-based show. But you can answer the poll anyway you like," he said. 

Over on Facebook, the news director of KXL left comments asking the user to delete the false post. "At no time did KXL News report what is stated above," wrote Jim Ferretti.

After we posted this fact-check, Ferretti responded to our query with the following statement: "I was made aware of the Facebook post on Saturday. I immediately responded from my personal Facebook account that the post is 100% false. At no time has KXL News reported that firefighters battling Oregon's wildfires have been shot at by anyone."

We rate this Facebook post False.

This post was updated at 1:45 p.m. ET with Ferretti's quote.

Our Sources

Facebook post, Sept. 11

Email interview with Jim Ferretti, KXL news director, Sept. 13, 2020

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Fact-checking misinformation about firefighters, antifa in Portland

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