On his radio show, while discussing an incident in which a student shot four people at his Cleveland high school before killing himself, John Gibson asserted that "I know the shooter was white. I knew it as soon as he shot himself. Hip-hoppers don't do that. They shoot and move on to shoot again."
On the October 10 broadcast of his nationally syndicated Fox News Radio show, while discussing 14-year-old Asa H. Coon, who earlier that day shot four people at his Cleveland high school before killing himself, Fox News host John Gibson asserted that "because the school is very heavily African-American, I did leap to a conclusion" that "the shooter might have been African-American." Gibson went on to say that he "knew this was not a classic hip-hop shooting" once he learned Coon killed himself. Gibson continued: "Hip-hoppers do not kill themselves. They walk away. Now, I didn't need to hear the kid was white with blond hair. Once he'd shot himself in the head, no hip-hopper." Gibson later stated, "I know the shooter was white. I knew it as soon as he shot himself. Hip-hoppers don't do that. They shoot and move on to shoot again." Gibson added: "I know there's a few of you who want to call me racist. But when you do, remind -- let me remind you, African-Americans are dying in major cities because people won't face this problem."
After a commercial break, Gibson repeated his assertion: "All right, it turns out, though, the kid in Cleveland who did the shooting today -- three teachers, three students -- white." Gibson added: "And I could tell right away 'cause he killed himself. Black shooters don't do that; they shoot and move on."
Later in the program, while speaking to a caller who identified himself as an African-American, Gibson said that "one of the other things that you also don't do -- you being the plural of the [black] community -- is you don't shoot somebody and then kill yourself." After the caller responded, "That is very true," Gibson said, "White people do that." The caller again responded, "That is very true." Gibson continued: "So when I heard the kid shot himself, I said, well, you know, ordinarily I would expect it to maybe be a rapper, thug, gangster on campus with his nine -- 'I shining my nine, you know how I do.' But, you know, it turns out it was a kid who would shoot himself -- well, story over, not a black kid."
The caller later asserted, "I just want to tell you that it's quite easy for someone to step up and be like a Jesse Jackson or an Al Sharpton, because it's easy to point out the 20 percent of our problem, which is the white man." Gibson then asked the caller, "Am I a part of your 20-percent white man problem?" The caller responded, "Oh yeah!" Gibson replied, "Oh man, you had to go racist on me?" He then thanked the caller and ended the segment by saying: "OK, I thought the kid was a black man, I'll admit it, until I heard he shot himself. Does that make me a racist?"
Gibson has previously made numerous controversial statements on both his nationally syndicated radio show and on his Fox News Channel program, The Big Story. For example, as Media Matters for America has documented:
- During his September 21 radio broadcast, while discussing recent events surrounding the so-called Jena 6 with the show's executive producer, known on air as "Angry Rich," Gibson asserted that the demonstrators who gathered the previous week in Jena, Louisiana, only "wanna fight the white devil." Gibson aired news coverage of the Jena 6 protests and challenged protestors' claims that the incidents in Jena are representative of ongoing racism in this country. He said: "[W]hat they're worried about is a mirage of 1950s-style American segregation, racism from the South. They wanna fight the white devil. ... [T]here's no -- can't go fight the black devil. Black devils stalking their streets every night gunning down their own people -- can't go fight that. That would be snitchin'."
- On the May 31 edition of The Big Story, Gibson said he was "mesmerized" by what he called "[t]he TB Man story" -- the news that American attorney Andrew Speaker traveled by airline while infected with what was reported to be antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis. Gibson stated: "It seems every time a story pops up about somebody who has suddenly contracted some strange or incurable disease, it's somebody who is either from the third world, or was traveling through some godforsaken hellhole, and somehow managed to contract ooga booga fever." During the June 1 edition of The Big Story, Gibson asserted that Media Matters was "going after him" in reporting his comments, and responded: "Well, the whitest man in America, who is the black man's best friend, is now being alleged to be a racist for having invented something called ooga booga fever." He also said, "I should have said Ouagadougou fever," a reference to the capital of the African nation Burkina Faso.
- On the May 11, 2006, edition of The Big Story, Gibson advised viewers during the "My Word" segment of his program to "[d]o your duty. Make more babies." He then cited a May 10 article, which reported that nearly half of all children under the age of five in the United States are minorities. Gibson added: "By far, the greatest number [of children under five] are Hispanic. You know what that means? Twenty-five years and the majority of the population is Hispanic." Gibson later claimed: "To put it bluntly, we need more babies." Then, referring to Russia's projected decline in population, Gibson claimed: "So far, we are doing our part here in America but Hispanics can't carry the whole load. The rest of you, get busy. Make babies, or put another way -- a slogan for our times: 'procreation not recreation'."
From the October 10 edition of Fox News Radio's The John Gibson Show:
GIBSON: Well, we have an inside look at the production of The John Gibson Show today because there was big news out in Cleveland, Ohio, and I teed it up saying, "What we have here is another example of hip-hop culture bringing murder and mayhem into the rest of our society."
Now, this was a terrible incident out in a school near Cleveland. It's called "SuccessTech." It's one of those alternative schools. Eighty-five percent African-American. Eighty-five percent. First thing you see when you see the pictures today is a whole bunch of black kids. Three teachers -- did it turn out to be three teachers or two?
ANGRY RICH: Three.
GIBSON: And three students shot. Now, all of the teachers and students that were shot were -- survive. The wounds are not serious. Well, I guess there's one of the teachers is in surgery and so forth, but they're all expected to live. The shooter committed suicide. This is one of the students who was shot in the elbow and, you know, was not seriously hurt, although he was shot.
[begin audio clip]
REPORTER: This is Darnell Rodgers, age 18. He was shot today. Darnell, can you tell us what happened to you?
RODGERS: I was walking from my locker to my teacher's classroom. Like, as I was walking to the classroom, I heard gunshots. And then, like, one of the gun shots, like, hit me, and, like, I was, like, shot, and I was like, "Oh my God, my God, I got shot," or whatever. But I would also like to send my prayers out to all the other victims and their families, and I'm looking into starting a nonprofit organization to stop violence in schools and give more security in schools.
REPORTER: Darnell, did you know the shooter?
RODGERS: I might have, but I don't know for sure. I got to see him to see if I really knew him, but I probably didn't know him, though.
[end audio clip]
GIBSON: Now why would there be guns in schools?
[audio clip -- 50 Cent's "Fully Loaded Clip"]
GIBSON: Well, that's my working theory, but, you know -- and, of course, because the school is very heavily African-American, I did leap to a conclusion.
ANGY RICH: What was that, John?
GIBSON: Well, that the shooter might have been African-American. Turns out it's a white guy.
[audio clip -- "Is Gibson wrong?"]
GIBSON: Gibson's not wrong. Gibson is not wrong. No, in the -- in years past, in the many of these shooting incidents that I've covered, you've always looked at things like video games, Grand Theft Auto, and desensitizing kids to shooting people and stuff like that, and all I can say is, "Hey, times change. We move on." All of a sudden, you know, the gun violence in the culture is coming at the kids from a different direction.
[audio clip -- 50 Cent's "Touch The Sky"]
GIBSON: Well, you know, you can't deny it. I mean, there's a gazillion of those things out there and the kids are listening on their iPods, and the kids listening on their iPods are not all black kids. Some white kids listen too.
ANGRY RICH: This kid was a Marilyn Manson fan.
GIBSON: He's a goth type.
ANGRY RICH: Yes.
GIBSON: So he wasn't picking up the hip-hop?
RICH: I don't think so, John.
GIBSON: Angry Rich, you know why I knew that this -- through our afternoon of mystery wondering about the kid that was the shooter, I knew this was not a classic hip-hop shooting.
ANGRY RICH: How's that John?
GIBSON: He killed himself. Hip-hoppers do not kill themselves. They walk away. Now, I didn't need to hear the kid was white with blond hair. Once he'd shot himself in the head, no hip-hopper.
ANGRY RICH: So it's not a classic hip-hop --
GIBSON: It's not even close. I mean it's whatever he is, and it's clear to me that this gun culture right now primarily promoted by hip-hop music --
GIBSON: "I bought a brand new gun today. I'm gonna shoot you in the face." This culture has even reached the school campus. We're not in the Kip Kinkel era of school shootings anymore; it has changed. Yes, I know the shooter was white. I knew it as soon as he shot himself. Hip-hoppers don't do that. They shoot and move on to shoot again. Triple-8, 788-9910. I know there's a few of you who want to call me racist. But when you do, remind -- let me remind you, African-Americans are dying in major cities because people won't face this problem. Gibson on Fox.
GIBSON: Well, you look at cities around the country, and many of them are suffering an enormous murder rate of African-Americans by African-Americans, and when you wonder why, sometimes it occurs: Could it be the music?
GIBSON: All right, it turns out, though, the kid in Cleveland who did the shooting today -- three teachers, three students -- white.
ANGRY RICH: Oops.
GIBSON: And I could tell right away 'cause he killed himself. Black shooters don't do that; they shoot and move on. My next guest is [comedian] Patrice Oneal.
CALLER: Listen here, first of all, you sure the other caller was not [Rep.] Charlie Rangel [D-NY]? He sounded just like Charlie Rangel.
GIBSON: I wish it was, but it wasn't.
CALLER: All right John, listen, I'm going to give you the black/white crime Litmus test.
GIBSON: All right, go ahead.
CALLER: All right, white crime: Mom grounded me, I didn't get my Mercedes, so I'm going to wipe out the whole school. Black crime: You stepped on my shoe, you said something about my mama, I'm gonna shoot you.
GIBSON: Or, "I got a new gun today, I'm gonna shoot you in the face."
CALLER: You know, 'cause there's just some crimes we don't do, like serial killing, white guy, you know, rob -- stole someone's hat --
GIBSON: Oh, I'll tell you something - do I take it that you're a African-American gentleman?
GIBSON: All right, one of the things you also don't do, you being the plural of the community, is you don't shoot somebody and then kill yourself.
CALLER: That is very true.
GIBSON: White people do that.
CALLER: That is very true.
GIBSON: So when I heard the kid shot himself, I said, well, you know, ordinarily I would expect it to maybe be a rapper, thug, gangster on campus with his nine - "I shining my nine, you know how I do." But it turns out it was a kid who would shoot himself, well story over, not a black kid.
CALLER: Yeah, but I don't think, you know, blacks ain't killing each other in school like that --
GIBSON: No, they're killing each other in the street. They generally do not open fire in school. What's going on is in the street. Now you're in Atlanta. How's your murder rate running there?
CALLER: It's pretty high. I'm originally from the Bronx, though. But it's pretty high here.
GIBSON: Well, I mean, don't you find that shocking, [caller] seriously, when you look at towns like Atlanta, New Orleans, Jacksonville, Philly; I've been talking about the worst cases. And you see these -- I mean, Philadelphia's got a raw number of murders that's almost exactly the same as New York, and Philadelphia is a third the size, or a fifth the size?
CALLER: Now listen, I agree with you and I just want to tell you that it's quite easy, you know, for someone to step up and, you know, to be like a Jesse Jackson or a Al Sharpton, because it's easy to point out, you know, probably the 20 percent of our problem, which is the white man. But the 80 percent, which is each other in our own situation, that's a much harder fight. So --
GIBSON: Well let me just ask you something, [caller]. Am I a part of your 20-percent white man problem?
CALLER: Oh yeah! I mean, come on, you --
GIBSON: Oh man! Oh man, you had to go racist on me? I thought that was [earlier caller]'s gig today! All right, [caller], thanks a lot.
OK, I thought the kid was a black kid, I'll admit it, until I heard he shot himself. Does that make me a racist?