A host for Glenn Beck’s BlazeTV selectively edited a video clip to portray a white man who was severely beaten after charging mostly black protesters in Dallas, Texas, with a machete as an innocent shop owner protecting his store from violent protesters. The video, which was shared on Twitter, later duped President Donald Trump, but the host remains unapologetic.
Elijah Schaffer, who hosts a BlazeTV political entertainment show, shared the short video clip on Twitter Saturday night showing a crowd of protesters intensely beating a man, leaving him on the ground bloodied and mangled. Schaffer, in his original tweet and in a subsequent interview with BlazeTV host Steven Crowder, portrayed the beaten man as having been unjustly attacked while attempting to “protect his store” and shared false rumors the man had died. The clip went viral; it has been viewed 33 million times on Twitter at the time of this article.
When reached via Twitter direct message Sunday morning and questioned why he edited the video to remove footage of the man charging protesters with his machete, Schaffer declined multiple opportunities to answer. Instead, the BlazeTV employee basely accused this reporter of attempting to incite murder against him. When Right Wing Watch asked for clarification on whether Schaffer had in fact interpreted our request for comment about his editing decision as a threat of violence, Schaffer answered in the affirmative.
As first reported by The Intercept’s Robert Mackey, what Schaffer failed to make clear until the clip had already achieved virality is that he had selectively removed 18 seconds of video in his original recording that showed the man charging toward protesters with a machete above his head. The man was not a business owner, as Schaffer claimed, but rather, simply someone who went to the area to confront protesters with his lethal weapon, “allegedly [to] protect his neighborhood from protesters,” according to Dallas Police.
An eyewitness told The Intercept that the man had approached the area where protesters were present, pulled out his machete, and threatened a skateboarder, after which members of the crowd started to throw rocks at the man. According to the same eyewitness, the man had slashed the skateboarder’s hand with his weapon.
A Twitter user who claimed to be the machete-wielding man mused days before the incident that he owned a machete and that he could “absolutely kill a man with it if he’s not wearing armor,” before questioning whether he would need to start carrying it around Dallas. Before that user deleted their account, they expressed regret at having charged the protesters in a tweet Sunday, explaining they had sought out the confrontation due to “a strong feeling that it was better to let myself meet the danger head-on rather than wait for it to come seek me out” and because they were worried about a bar they frequented being damaged.
But any attempts to clarify what happened were too late. Schaffer’s video spread across the internet and eventually reached the president of the United States.
“SO TERRIBLE! Where are the arrests and LONG TERM jail sentences?” Trump tweeted Sunday afternoon.
SO TERRIBLE! Where are the arrests and LONG TERM jail sentences? https://t.co/MiT9DtAuVL
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2020
Schaffer has remained unapologetic for his deceptively presented video and expressed pride that Trump had commented on his video clip.
My coverage of the Dallas riots was just shared by the President of the United States
I started this journey 2 years ago
So many people discouraged me at first
Said I should quit while there was still time
Now my work is changing the conversation in America
Thankful to God https://t.co/EjSWtbqLXu
— ELIJAH (@ElijahSchaffer) May 31, 2020
After The Intercept published its reporting, Schaffer responded by claiming that people like himself were doing “reporting in real time are doing the work these very weak ublikable ‘reporters’ wish they could do.” He both admitted to selectively editing the video to remove the man rushing people with a deadly weapon and also claimed:
Nothing I posted
Or said was misleading in any way
Schaffer was also involved last year in an effort to portray far-right hammer-wielding extremists who attacked Portland anti-fascists as victims.