Note to American Spectator: It wasn't "sheer coincidence"

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

My column about right-wing vigilante violence, and how Fox News will likely have to face more uncomfortable questions about acts of domestic terror at the same time it continues to peddle its militia-style hate rhetoric, clearly touched a nerve at the American Spectator. Especially in the wake of yesterday's Holocaust Museum killing, after which the conservative movement seemed to suffer a collective nervous breakdown at the prospect of having to explain away another political assassination.

The ironies of the American Spectator screed about my column were many. The first was that it claimed that liberals would waste no time trying to score political points surrounding the killing. This, mind you, on a night when Bill O'Reilly was stilling shamelessly trying to milk political points out of a tragic killing of an Army recruiter in Arkansas last week.

Of course, the American Spectator didn't have a problem with that; it didn't think it was tasteless for O'Reilly to try to use the senseless murder as a way to shift the attention off his "baby killer" crusade. For the American Spectator, O'Reilly isn't out of bounds. Liberals, though, are hateful.

Or more specifically, I am. According to the American Spectator I'm the "left-wing hate purveyor" who had the audacity to write (yet again) about the uncomfortable connection that people can draw between Fox News' militia rhetoric and the rash of right-wing political violence.

Wrote an overexcited Matthew Vadum [emphasis added]:

By sheer coincidence, at the website of the journalistic equivalent of a roving, extremely well-funded death squad, left-wing hate purveyor Eric Boehlert put up a post last night called "O'Reilly and Fox News will have more right-wing vigilantism to explain."

Y'know what they say, denial aint just a river in Egypt. If folks at the American Spectator want to think it was all just a crazy coincidence, and if they want to pretend the conservative movement is not playing a dangerous game with the kind of unvarnished hate rhetoric that it's now dumping into the mainstream, then that's their decision. (Did you see anyone on the right denounce O'Reilly's "baby killer" rhetoric, even after a far-right fanatic allegedly assassinated Dr. George Tiller? Me neither.)

But the whole point, which Vadum blissfully missed, was that my column (and the questions it raised) appearing on the eve of the Holocaust Museum killing was pretty much the opposite of coincidental. Why? Because this is the hateful political landscape that conservatives have helped construct in 2009, and, sadly, I think the violence will continue. The killings are predictable. Media Matters is simply paying attention and asking the rather obvious questions.

There's nothing accidental about it.

UPDATE: Did we mention the Holocaust Museum killing has unleashed a new realm of looniness among right-wing pundits as they thrash around, desperately trying to explain away the latest episode of violence? (Hint: It's the Muslims' fault.)

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