FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, January 10, 2011
Jess Levin (202) 772-8162
Media Matters CEO calls for Beck, Palin to be reined in after AZ shooting
Washington, DC -- Today, in response to the tragic shooting in Arizona and the increasing focus on the tone of political discourse, Media Matters for America founder and CEO David Brock issued an open letter to News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch asking him to rein in Fox News personalities Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, both of whom frequently use violent and revolutionary rhetoric.
The letter reads:
Dear Mr. Murdoch,
Since the early days of 2009, I have warned your network and others in the media about the very real dangers of extreme anti-government rhetoric and the stoking of fear.
I cautioned against Glenn Beck's proclamation that he was a "progressive hunter" and his statement that the government was full of vampires before he instructed his viewers to "drive a stake through the heart of the bloodsuckers." And against Palin revealing her 2010 "targets" with a map showing gun sights over 20 congressional districts, including that of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, urging followers to not "Retreat, Instead -- RELOAD." I said on national television that inducing fear, anger, and the use of violent imagery creates a climate of fear, suspicion, and paranoia that could lead to another Oklahoma City.
I hoped my warnings would be heeded. Instead, they were cast aside.
Even after evidence emerged in October that California gunman Byron Williams was inspired by Beck to attempt to assassinate progressive leaders and I pleaded for Palin to set an example by condemning her Fox colleague's violent and revolutionary rhetoric, Fox did nothing to address the situation.
On Beck's radio show, he and Palin jovially mocked my concern. For seven minutes on air, the pair joked about my plea to tone down the rhetoric. Beck said it was "laughable," "sad," and compared me to the "smelly kid in third grade." Palin giggled and said I was "silly" and that my argument was "pathetic" and "desperate" before ultimately concluding, "I stand with you, Glenn."
Beck and Palin are two of Fox's most recognizable figures. Before this heartbreaking tragedy in Arizona, you were either unwilling or unable to rein in their violent rhetoric. But now, in the wake of the killings, your network must take a stand.
You have the power to order them to stop using violent rhetoric, on and off of Fox's air. If they fail to do so, it is incumbent upon you to fire them or be responsible for the climate they create and any consequences thereof.
My previous warnings were laughed off and ignored. For the country's sake, I hope you take them more seriously now.
Founder and CEO, Media Matters for America
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