LA Sheriff extremely anti-media, except when he’s on right-wing networks

By John Knefel – LOS ANGELES – LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva this week target — then backed down — a reporter for the Los Angeles Times in a criminal investigation, but Villanueva’s threats to the media don’t extend to his favorite extremist networks. the to the right Sheriff has appeared on Fox News at least 32 times, including four appearances on Tucker Carlson tonightaccording to an internal Media Matters database.

Villanueva is also a central figure in both parts Los Angeles Suicidethe premiere of season 2 of the Fox Nation documentary series Tucker Carlson Originals. Not content with limiting himself to Murdoch-owned media, Villanueva has also appeared on beginner Competitor of Fox News, One America News, and on the dubious name of Newsmax Gorka’s reality check.

Villanueva’s appearances on Fox programs often follow a well-worn pattern. Following a real or perceived law enforcement crisis, he shows up to strike fear about the dangers of defund the police, investigate prosecutorial misconduct, or other moderate approaches to reforming the criminal sanctions system. He demonizes homeless people and medication usersall in double prison policies who are at root of so much poverty and impoverishment in Los Angeles and other cities in the United States.

An illustrative example dates from February 22 of this year. Asked by Guy Benson on Fox Business about the effect a COVID-19 vaccine mandate would have on his department, Villanueva looked for doomsday analogies. “Well, think of any dystopian-future movie,” Villanueva replied. “Think about Beyond Thunderdome, madmax, something like that, it would apply. We have the desert environment, there would be an absolute lack of cops on the streets, in the prisons. Prisons should be closed. To make sure he hits his talking point, Villanueva went on to say that the “defunding” board that oversees his department wants to “defund him even more.”

When Villanueva isn’t citing post-apocalyptic movies to talk about Los Angeles’ supposed slide into chaos, he’s often aiming for his favorite target: Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón. The DA is a moderate reformer, but to hear it from Villanueva in Los Angeles SuicideGascón’s politics fall somewhere to the left of prison abolitionist Ruth Wilson Gilmore.

“The problem is here in Los Angeles, in city and county government, they’re in every seat,” Villanueva said. said, without specifying exactly who it refers to. “There is no other point of view other than this ‘woke’ ideology.” He adds that Gascón and other liberal reformers are “financed by Soros and company”, an account often Featured on Fox News.

appearing in a promo for the film alongside Carlson, Villanueva made it clear who he thinks gets preferential treatment from Gascón’s office. “Unless you’re from the public defender’s office, you’re a Black Lives Matter activist — those are pretty much the only people he talks to. Everyone simply does not exist in their world.

Villanueva’s regular presence in the right-wing media only underscores how inappropriate her comments to the Los Angeles Times were. The investigation into editor Alene Tchekmedyian grew out of a story she wrote about a departmental concealment assault by a Member of a person in his custody. The Times obtained “surveillance video from a San Fernando Courthouse detention area that captured the deputy kneeling on the inmate’s head for three minutes after handcuffing him,” according to Chekmedyian’s report.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Villanueva accused two political rivals, in addition to Chekmedyian, of being responsible for spreading the tape. When asked if the journalist was specifically threatened with legal action, Villanueva replied: “All parties to the act are under investigation,” according to the Times.

That night, in the face of intense criticism, the sheriff backed down. “I must clarify that at no time today did I say that an LA Times reporter was a suspect in a criminal investigation,” he said, according to the Times. “We have no interest in pursuing, and we do not pursue, criminal charges against a journalist.”

Far-right views within the sheriff’s department are alarmingly common, and they air regularly on Fox. The far-right movement known as “Constitutional Sheriffs” maintains that local sheriffs are the highest legitimate legal court in the land. Although Villanueva is not known to be a follower of this philosophy, Fox News has a documented history to embrace those who are.

Notwithstanding Villanueva’s backtracking, it is ridiculous for him to claim that Chekmedyian was never the subject of his investigation. His comments were filmed and posted on his own department’s Facebook page. Don’t expect to see this footage on Fox News anytime soon.


John Knefel is a Senior Writer and a member of the Rapid Response Team at Media Matters. Follow him on Twitter @mmfa or @johnknefel


The previous article has already been published by Media Matters for America and is republished with permission.

Comments are closed.