BlazeTV host and reporter Elijah Schaffer covered the Black Lives Matter protest in Rochester on Saturday night. While covering the protests that escalated into civil unrest where at least one officer was injured and an unlawful assembly was declared, Schaffer was physically assaulted by an alleged Black Lives Matter supporter who was falsely posing as a member of the press.
“Fake press intentionally started a rumor I was a white supremacist to try to get me killed (see previous video),” Schaffer wrote on Twitter. “They turned the crowd on me & started surrounding me At the same time, police saw the escalation & moved in Fake press are terrorists & put us all in danger.”
“I’m really growing weary of this violent ‘fake Antifa/BLM press,'” Schaffer, who is the host of the “Slightly Offens*ve” podcast, said. “They work in conjunction to abuse and endanger real reporters doing their job They use fascist tactics and ‘dress up’ as press to avoid police scrutiny Then they attack you and police don’t know what to do.”
“Fake press is harassing me here. Assaulting me with their camera,” Schaffer tweeted. “Putting me in chat rooms trying to get me jumped This is disgusting behavior Telling me they will beat me up while I do my job.”
On a recent episode of the “Slightly Offens*ve” podcast, Schaffer discussed the rise of protesters and agitators pretending to be members of the press. Schaffer pointed out that Antifa supporters have posed as media members in protests across the country, including Washington, D.C., Portland, and Rochester.
Schaffer explained that the fake press label allows pretend reporters to unmask any reporters who don’t cover Antifa or BLM riots in a positive light. The fake press members are also protected against the police under the guise of the First Amendment’s protection of the right to the freedom of press, despite not actually being real journalists attempting to report on a news story.
There have been cases of reporters being injured by police officers during protests and riots this summer. California Democratic state Sen. Mike McGuire introduced SB 629, a bill that intends to protect journalists. The legislation would prohibit police officers from “intentionally assaulting, interfering with, or obstructing” or citing a member of the press.
“Members of the press risk their personal health and safety each time they attend protests or rallies to get the public the information they need and deserve. Rubber bullets, tear gas, and even detainment cannot be the new norm for an essential pillar of our nation’s democracy. California must lead the way to ensure the right of the press and the First Amendment are protected and held to the highest standard,” state Sen. McGuire said. “SB 629 – The Press Freedom Act – will help ensure journalists can perform these critical roles while being protected under the law from any law enforcement officer intentionally assaulting, obstructing or interfering with their duties while they are gathering the news.”
However, Schaffer and fellow protest reporter Tayler Hansen pointed out that Antifa members pretend to be press members, which hurts real reporters on the ground and destroys any trust between law enforcement and legitimate media members. Schaffer said the fake media members use their press privileges to get closer to cops to “berate” them or “throw tear gas canisters back at the police.”
During a protest in Portland last week, a press member told Hansen that he “didn’t belong here,” and equated him to “Fox News” because he allegedly labeled rioters as “anarchists” on social media.
After the press member exposed him, a group of Antifa members identified Hansen as an unfriendly reporter to their cause. Hansen, the founder of the pro-life “Baby Lives Matter” movement, said he was attacked by Antifa members.
“Last night in Portland I was beaten bloody by four people in Black Bloc,” Hansen wrote on Twitter. “They proceeded to beat me. I was punched in the face, thrown on the ground where they began kicking me in the back and hitting me in the face again. As they fled one yelled ‘Stay out of Portland b*tch!'”