Fox News host Laura Ingraham falsely claimed on Monday night that anti-fascist activists were behind the disastrous wildfires currently ravaging the West Coast, a rumor that has been repeatedly debunked by local authorities and the FBI.
Taking issue with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden blasting President Donald Trump as a “climate arsonist” for denying climate change is a key factor in the blazes, The Ingraham Angle host groused that the former vice president didn’t appear to have a plan for combatting the fires.
“Did Biden anywhere in that speech lay out his solution to prevent any wildfires in the future or the people who are intentionally setting them in California, including antifa?” Ingraham asked frequent guest Victor Davis Hanson.
“No, he didn’t and I’m looking out of my window right now and I can hardly see anything because it’s dusk but it looks like a nuclear winter,” Hanson, a California resident, responded.
While Ingraham’s guest would go on to complain that it was “absurd” for Biden to “demagogue it as climate change,” he failed to note the absurdity of the Fox News star blaming the catastrophic fires on non-existent antifa arsonists.
Law enforcement agencies in Oregon have been working overtime dispelling false rumors that have virally spread on social media of far-left activists setting fires in the region, with at least one of the conspiracies being fed by their own.
Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts said in a statement this past weekend that he “moved swiftly” to place a sheriff’s deputy on leave while he investigated a video of the officer baselessly alleging antifa was responsible for the raging fires.
“Antifa motherf--kers are out causing hell, and there’s a lot of lives at stake and there’s a lot of people’s property at stake because these guys got some vendetta,” the deputy could be heard saying in the clip.
The FBI also attempted to debunk the hoaxes that political extremists were intentionally starting the wildfires.
“FBI Portland and local law enforcement agencies have been receiving reports that extremists are responsible for setting wildfires in Oregon. With our state and local partners, the FBI has investigated several such reports and found them to be untrue,” the bureau’s Portland division said in a statement.
“Conspiracy theories and misinformation take valuable resources away [from] local fire and police agencies working around the clock to bring these fires under control,” the statement added. “Please help our entire community by only sharing validated information from official sources.”
Facebook, meanwhile, has said it is removing false claims that antifa and far-right group Proud Boys have been starting the fires along the West Coast, adding that its decision to delete the posts is due to law enforcement’s complaints that “these rumors are forcing local fire and police agencies to divert resources from fighting the fires and protecting the public.”
Fact-checking website PolitiFact has also rated claims that the wildfires are being started by antifa “false,” noting that extremist groups are not suspected to be connected to the fires and that “arson appears to be the exception—not the rule.”