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US Fact check: Portland radio station denies it reported that activists shot at firefighters

12:35  20 september  2020
12:35  20 september  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

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The claim: KXL Radio reported BLM and antifa activists shot firefighters in Portland

a person riding a bike down a dirt road: Firefighters work on mopping up a back burn near Leaburg, Ore on Sept. 10, 2020. A dearth of resources has hampered the fight against the Holiday Farm Fire. © Andy Nelson, The Register-Guard via USA TODAY NETWORK Firefighters work on mopping up a back burn near Leaburg, Ore on Sept. 10, 2020. A dearth of resources has hampered the fight against the Holiday Farm Fire.

Over the past few months, the biggest headlines from Portland, Oregon, have concerned racial injustice protests, violent conflicts and record-breaking fires. Now the internet is conflating the three to spread dangerous misinformation as the West Coast continues to fight devastating wildfires.

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“This is the beginning of war,” Cynthia Armbrecht posted on Facebook on Sept. 13. “KXL Radio in Portland reported that Firefighters are now being shot at by suspected Antifa and BLM Members.”

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Another Facebook user, Mike McAllister, shared the same claim on Sept. 11, but the post was apparently removed after PolitiFact found the claim to be false.

“Facebook stated my information regarding a post I made was misinformation. Not so. It was reported in KXL by Clyde Lewis on his show Ground Zero. But, I’ll let them believe what they wish,” McAllister posted on Sep. 15.

However, there is no record of KXL reporting that on its website, and the station’s news director has outright denied the claim several times.

Neither Armbrecht nor McAllister has responded to USA TODAY’s request for comment.

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News director confirms KXL never reported activist shot firefighters

On Sept. 13, PolitFact reported that KXL News Director Jim Ferretti confirmed none of the station's shows reported suspected Black Lives Matter or antifa activists shot firefighters in Portland.

"I was made aware of the Facebook post on Saturday," he said. "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."

The same day, KXL published a statement on its website to address the viral misinformation and explain the station's response.

“On Friday, September 11, 2020, someone with no connection to FM News 101 KXL posted a statement on their personal Facebook page that KXL reported ‘Firefighters are now being shot by suspected Antifa and BLM members’ At no time did KXL report this,”  wrote Ferretti.

“KXL has requested Facebook remove the post as false news,” he continued. “FM News 101 KXL’s policy is to always fact check every story.”

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Ferretti did not respond to USA TODAY’s questions about why this misinformation may have been attributed to KXL or if any of its content could have been misinterpreted to  lead to this claim.

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No evidence this shooting happened

Neither PolitiFact, Check Your Fact, Lead Stories nor USA TODAY has found any credible evidence that presumed BLM and antifa activists shot firefighters or that KXL reported they did.

The Portland Police Bureau has not released a statement about any shootings involving protesters and firefighters.

"I am not aware of such a thing happening," Portland Lt. Greg Pashley told USA TODAY in an email.

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Our rating: False

We rate the claim that Portland's KXL radio station reported suspected BLM and antifa activists shot firefighters FALSE because it is not supported by our research. The KXL news director has confirmed to multiple sources that the station never reported such a story. There is no evidence any firefighters were shot by BLM or antifa activists in Portland.

Our fact-check sources:

  • USA TODAY, Sept. 5, "100 photos to remind you that protests have roiled Portland for 100 days"
  • Associated Press, Aug. 19, "Police declare third riot in a week as Portland protests reach 83 days"
  • USA TODAY, Sept. 15, "13 photos that show how bad Oregon wildfires and air quality really are"
  • USA TODAY, Sept. 15, "Fire-weary residents in the West are getting snippets of good news - but thousands of acres are still burning"
  • Cythia Armbrecht, Sept. 13, Facebook post
  • Mike McAllister, Sept. 11, Facebook post (archived version)
  • PolitiFact, Sept. 13, "Fact-checking misinformation about firefighters, antifa in Portland"
  • Mike McAllister, Sept. 15, Facebook post
  • KXL, Sept. 13, "Addressing False Viral Facebook Post"
  • Check Your Fact, Sept. 14, "FACT CHECK: DID THIS PORTLAND RADIO STATION REPORT THAT SUSPECTED ANTIFA AND BLACK LIVES MATTER ACTIVISTS SHOT AT FIREFIGHTERS?"
  • Lead Stories, Sept. 14,"Fact Check: KXL Radio in Portland NEVER Reported That Firefighters Were Shot At While Responding To Western Wildfires"

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Portland radio station denies it reported that activists shot at firefighters

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