Fox News has run repeated segments attacking some progressive media figures and politicians for suggesting that political rhetoric from the right inspired the recent tragic shootings in Arizona. In doing so, Fox has whitewashed right-wing media figures who have attempted to describe Loughner as a liberal and pin the shooting on "the left."
Right-wing Media Rush To Label Loughner A "Liberal"
Hoft Calls Loughner A " 'Liberal' Killer." In a Jan 10 Gateway Pundit post titled "Disgusting...Media Determined To Pin Shooting On Palin Despite The Fact That 'Liberal' Killer Was Targeting Giffords Since 2007," Hoft called Loughner a "young leftist killer." [Gateway Pundit, 01/10/11]
Big Journalism: "Inconveniently, A Former Friend And Bandmate Described Loughner As 'Left-Wing Political Radical' And 'Quite Liberal.'" In a January 10 Big Journalism post, Christian Hartsock wrote that "there is no evidence Jared Loughner even watched Fox News or leaned right. Inconveniently, a former friend and bandmate described Loughner as 'left-wing political radical' and 'quite liberal,' and Loughner claimed The Communist Manifesto as one of his favorite books on his YouTube page where he also released video burning the American flag." [Big Journalism, 01/10/11]
Hoft Cites Fake Facebook Page In Attempt To Link Loughner To Obama. In a January 10 Gateway Pundit post, titled "Whoops! This Changes Things- Loughner's Hero Was Barack Obama," Hoft claimed: "Even more curious are Loughner's 'heroes.' He mentions by name Venezuelan Communist Hugo Chavez, Latin American Communist mass-murderer Che Guevara, American Socialist revolutionary Saul Alinsky, and even Barack Obama." As evidence Hoft, cited a Free Republic message board in which commenter "Scanian" posted an excerpt from a Facebook page allegedly belonging to "Jared Laughner" [sic]. After the page was shown to be a forgery, Hoft removed the post with little explanation. [Gateway Pundit, 01/10/11; For screenshot, see Media Matters, 01/10/11]
Power Line: "What Little Evidence We Have Suggests The Shooter Was Politically Liberal." In a January 10 Power Line post, John Hinderaker wrote: "Was Jared Loughner actually inspired by the Tea Party's 'violent rhetoric' or is that just a story the left wishes were true? What little evidence we have suggests the shooter was politically liberal, at least we know for certain that he was in 2007. Caitie Parker went to high school and college with Jared Loughner." Hinderaker later noted "I think it's likely that Loughner's politics are far less important to this story than his mental state." [Power Line, 01/10/11]
Newsmax: Shooter "Fascinated By Leftwing Politics," His Favorite Books "Hardly The Reading List Of A Palin Supporter." From a January 9 Newsmax article titled, "Dems, Media Blame Tea Party, Palin for Shooting; Shooter Linked to Leftwing Politics":
As U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords fights for her life after a mad gunman shot her on Saturday, some Democrats and major media have moved to pin the blame for her attack on the tea party movement and conservatives like Sarah Palin, despite the fact that the shooter was both deranged and fascinated by leftwing politics.
Indeed, the profile of the accused shooter, 22-year-old Jared Loughner, that continues to emerge is that of a deranged young man whose mind was deeply distubred [sic], but who also tinkered with both anarchist ideas and leftwing politics.
ABC News reported Saturday night that Loughner had identified among his favorite books "The Communist Manifesto" by Karl Marx, Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" and the fiction classic "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest" -- hardly the reading list of a Palin supporter. [Newsmax,1/9/11]
Geller Calls Loughner A "Lefty Loon." From a January 8 blog post on Geller's website Atlas Shrugs:
This is from his youtube channel. Total lefty loon.
FOX News reports the shooter's favorite books: Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf
[Atlas Shrugs, 1/8/11]
WND's Klein: "'The Communist Manifesto' And Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' Were Among The Favorite Reading Materials Of Jared Lee Loughner." In a January 8 WorldNetDaily article titled "Assassin's politics lean 'left wing, quite liberal,'" Aaron Klein wrote: "'The Communist Manifesto' and Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' were among the favorite reading materials of Jared Lee Loughner, the suspected gunman in today's fatal shooting that reportedly left six dead and gravely injured a U.S. congresswoman." [WorldNetDaily, 1/8/11]
NewsBusters' Sheppard On Loughner Enjoying Mein Kampf: Hitler's "Views Were Quite Opposite Of What Conservatives In America Currently Stand For." From a January 8 blog post by Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters:
A video that he posted at his YouTube channel features a flag burning, certainly not what one would expect from a conservative. Loughner also listed his favorite books including "Mein Kampf" and "The Communist Manifesto."
Liberals love to claim Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist Party were right-wing. However, as Hitler wanted total governmental control of industry and healthcare, his views were quite opposite of what conservatives in America currently stand for, especially Palin, Beck, and members of the Tea Party. [NewsBusters, 1/8/11]
Hannity: Some "Say This Pot-Smoking Communist Manifesto, Mein Kampf, Student Who Gets Kicked Out Of School Was Somehow A Conservative." On the January 10 edition of Fox News' Hannity, host Sean Hannity suggested Loughner was a liberal, saying, "Almost immediately, without any evidence -- knowledge about the shooter who he is -- The New York Times, others, say this pot-smoking communist manifesto, mind comp, student who gets kicked out of school was somehow a conservative." [Fox News' Hannity, 01/10/11 accessed via Nexis]
Hannity Cites Classmate To Call Loughner A "Left-wing Pot Head." On January 10, Hannity claimed, "In addition, the Phoenix New Times is reporting that a former classmate of Loughner named Catie Parker described the gunman as a quote, 'left wing pot head.'" [Fox News' Hannity, 01/10/11 accessed via Nexis]
Geller: "Loughner's mental illness is as obvious as his leftism." In a January 9 Big Government Post, Geller wrote "Loughner's leftwing high school friend, Caitie Parker, remembers him as a 'political radical': 'He was left wing,' she wrote; 'As I knew him he was left wing, quite liberal.' Geller later claimed, "Loughner's mental illness is as obvious as his leftism. He wrote that 'the government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar.'" [Big Government, 01/09/11 emphasis in original]
Hoft Complains AP "Blame[d] Palin & Tea Party For Shootings By Marx-Supporting Liberal Lunatic." In a January 9 Gateway Pundit post titled "Disgusting. AP Goes There... Blames Palin & Tea Party For Shootings By Marx-Supporting Liberal Lunatic," Hoft wrote "The Associated Press thought about the shootings in Arizona by a Marx-supporting, liberal, anti-government lunatic and placed blame squarely at the feet of the tea party and Sarah Palin." [Gateway Pundit, 1/9/10]
Yet, Fox Attacks Only Progressives For Tying Shooting To The Right
Beck: Is The Left "Creating" Or "Exploiting" The AZ Shooting? On his Fox News show, Glenn Beck declared that progressives were trying to "silence or discredit the opposition," which he claims they've been "trying to do for years." He said that in order to do this, progressives have to either "create a problem or exploit a problem." Beck then asked of the AZ shooting: "So, are they creating one or exploiting this one? For instance, you want to shut everybody down, all you do is say that they're dangerous. It's hate speech, you know. Nothing but violent rhetoric!" [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 1/10/11]
Hannity Panel Agree: "[T]here Is A Witch-Hunting Mentality On The Left." On the January 10 broadcast of Fox News' Hannity, Sean Hannity and his "Great American Panel" attacked progressives who "rushed so quickly to pin this on Sarah Palin or the Tea Party" or other right-wing media figures, claiming that "there is a witch-hunting mentality on the left that is truly disturbing." At no point did the panel mention right-wing media figures who attempted to link the shooting to progressives. From Hannity:
HANNITY: I watched and heard some of this, I didn't expect it. I'm not going to lie because of what has happened in the past. As I watched, as I listened, I got, you know, madder by the second, S.E. because the people that - you know at a moment like this. This isn't about what books did he read, what was his political leanings. How about saving the people that were injured and having compassion for their families.
S.E. CUPP, THE DAILY CALLER: Yes, in addition to the horrific tragedy of the weekend, what we saw was a total unraveling by the liberal media. We watched it happen. I watched it on Twitter. We watched on television. We watched it over the internet and the radio airwaves.
It was a total unraveling. It was despicable. I hope the people that rushed so quickly to pin this on Sarah Palin or the Tea Party or you or me or hanging their heads today in shame for the disservice that they've done to the memory of this little girl, everyone else involved and to the profession as journalists.
JAMES TARANTO, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Well, they are not. Paul Krugman whose item you quoted earlier. First of all, he wrote that two hours after the news broke. It was not 12 hours. It was two hours --
HANNITY: Yes, and by the way, this is same guy who once said that they ought to be hanging Joe Lieberman in effigy.
TARANTO: He wrote this within two hours. It was his fantasy of what the assassin was like. There was information. He acknowledged that there was no information about what motivated this, but he said it was probably political. It's probably the Tea Party. This is why they would go after a moderate Democrat and so forth.
When he was proved wrong, he didn't apologize and back down the way a cartoonist from the Arizona Daily Star did who made similar comments on CNN. He wrote another column saying this is the fault of the right wing. It's the fault of the hostile climate and so forth.
It's really appalling and there is a witch-hunting mentality on the left that is truly disturbing. I have a friend, a liberal friend who posted something on Facebook saying it is absurd to blame these murders on Sarah Palin. She told me her mailbox was inundated with friends of hers telling her off to say something that is so sensible.
HANNITY: Democrats have used it. Bob Beckel who sat here admitted he has used these words. They've used the bull's-eyes. We've shown the thing. Not a word.
CUPP: Symbols and metaphors don't kill people, people kill people. You don't get personal alarm systems because you're - on metaphors is going to break into the house. [Fox News' Hannity, 1/10/11; accessed via Nexis]
Hannity Claims "Democrats" Are "Trying To Exploit" The Shooting By Focusing On Right's Rhetoric. From the January 11 broadcast of Hannity:
HANNITY: Joining me now is at least one liberal who does not believe that free speech is at fault, Fox News contributor, Bob Beckel. Bob, good to see you. Thanks for being here.
We're talking about - this -- 9-year-old girl, I have a 9-year-old daughter was lost in this thing. A congresswoman was targeted for assassination, a federal judge was murdered here and innocent men and women were killed here. Some are fighting for their lives as we speak.
Almost immediately without any evidence knowledge about the shooter who he is -- "The New York Times", others, say this pot-smoking communist manifesto, mind comp, student who gets kicked out of school was somehow a conservative. Within hours, Bob, these people are fighting for their lives.
HANNITY: Look, we have the Democratic maps. We've all used the term targeting. I thought Howard Kurtz made a great point in the column that he wrote this weekend is that these war analogies, I mean, Clinton had a war room, are always used in politics.
You used the targeting and so on and so forth. Democrats have used it, but they are trying to exploit this. Here's my point, if Barack Obama says if they bring in a knife to fight, we bring a gun, argue with your neighbors, get in their faces. I think people have a right to be angry, I'm angry.
Republicans are enemies. They can sit in the back. I'm going to be honest. He said I want Mr. Burgess to tear Sean Hannity up. The president of the United States said that as a candidate. I don't think he means anything by it.
I think this is -- we've always used these terms, both sides. I think the idea that the people would exploit this is what is so objectionable.
BECKEL: It's objectionable. In some ways, it's a little understandable. A knee-jerk reaction coming out of the sheriff, for example, down there who had the reaction he did. You know, if we all sit back and think about this now.
This is a good example, which ought to give time -- enough time under your belt before you make some kind of comments like this. Now, look, on targeting good point. I invented targeting with two other guys in the early 70s that's a state of art in politics, targeting. We called it targeting. You figure out they're going to vote you and you want to get all that.
Somehow now that has been thrown into this mix and it has helped contribute to this. I think the first person who would probably say that is a ridiculous argument would be Gabby herself. I mean, I just don't -- she is a moderate liberal, more moderate than be liberal.
But I think from our standpoint on the left, we have to be careful about this. We can decry the level of rhetoric on the right and it has been very bad these last couple of years. [Fox News' Hannity, 1/10/11; accessed via Nexis]
O'Reilly: Progressives Are Criticizing Violent Rhetoric On the Right Because Of "The Failure Of The Far Left Agenda." On the January 10 broadcast of The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly devoted his "Talking Points Memo" segment to attacking "some on the left" who, he claimed are "furious that their far-left vision is falling apart" and therefore "are using a terrible tragedy, using it to attack their perceived political enemies." He added: "That's what this is all about. The failure of the far-left agenda. Because the loons are furious, they're now accusing people of being accessories to murder. How despicable is that?" [Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, 1/10/11]
Cameron Reports Only On "Backlash" From Right Who Are "Infuriated By...Accusations Made By Some On The Left." Fox News Chief Political Correspondent Carl Cameron discussed the "political fallout" from the shooting during the January 10 O'Reilly Factor. Cameron reported only on "conservatives" who are "outraged, infuriated by the accusations made by some on the left, that this is linkable to Republican or conservative or perhaps even individual politicians or TV hosts such as yourself [Bill O'Reilly]." He added: "This is something that, in the past, hasn't worked: trying to demagogue and blame one party. It has invariably backfired. And if there is a political cost to this, it may be that Democrats will have to begin backing away from these utterly unsubstantiated allegations." [Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, 1/10/11; accessed via Nexis]
Hume: Blaming The Right Is "A Reflex Response On The American Left." On the O'Reilly Factor, Fox News' Senior Political Analyst Brit Hume referenced former President Bill Clinton's response to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and claimed that it "pin[ing] the blame on Rush Limbaugh and other spokespeople on the American right" has "come to be a reflex response on the American left." Hume added: "[I]t's hard to tell how much of it is sincere as a -- as a bitter reaction and how much of it is a political tactic. As a political tactic, I have -- I would say that it has failed so far and is likely to fail this time." [Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, 1/10/11; accessed via Nexis]
Mary Katharine Ham: "The Left Has Actually Been Calculatedly Creating" An Environment "To Blame Right-Wing Rhetoric." On The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly asked Fox News contributor Mary Katharine Ham to respond to his assertion that progressives are criticizing violent rhetoric on the right because they're "furious" about "the failure of the far left agenda." Ham replied: "[T]hey talk about on the left a toxic environment that's been built by right-wing rhetoric. I think that the left has actually been calculatingly creating an environment whereby when something like this happens their first reaction is to blame right-wing rhetoric." [Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, 1/10/11]
Goldberg: "The Paul Krugmans Of The World Were Crossing Their Little Fingers And Hoping" A Tea Partier "Pulled The Trigger." Also on The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News contributor Bernie Goldberg responded to O'Reilly's declaration that the media's response to the shooting is "the worst media exhibition we've ever seen," by saying:
GOLDBERG: Well, in all my years as a working journalist, I have never seen such shallow, thoughtless, agenda- driven dribble as I have in the past 36 hours, and it's all masquerading as serious analysis and commentary.
Liberals in the media -- and, no, not every single one but way too many of them -- have taken a page out of Rahm Emanuel's playbook, and they've decided that they're going let this crisis or any other go to waste. The crisis is this terrible, terrible tragedy in Arizona.
Now, nobody -- nobody on the right, nobody on the left -- wanted to see that happen. Nobody. But once it did, you just know that the Paul Krugmans of the world were crossing their little fingers and hoping it was somebody in the Tea Party who pulled the trigger. Because then they could say, "You see? You see? We were right all along. We told you that these were vile right-wing haters."
But then, when it turned out that it wasn't a Tea Party person but a psychopath that went into his backyard, into a tent, and prayed to a skull, and who probably would have been touched off by a red balloon or a recipe on a box of Betty Crocker cake mix, when they -- when they found out that it was that kind of person, then they had to round up the usual suspects. The usual suspects were Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and you, Bill O'Reilly. And they said that you created a culture of hate.
Now, we're all against a culture of hate, but a culture of hate to these people is anything, as you said in the "Talking Points," that they disagree with.
So what did they do? They didn't do what a journalist must do. They didn't connect the dots and make a connection between anything any of you have ever said and how that influenced the gunman. There's not a shred of evidence, at least not as of tonight, that there is any connection between anything that any of you supposed hate-mongers have ever said and what went on in this -- inside this young man's mind.
Now, they pointed specifically to Sarah Palin's map, congressional map with the -- with the crosshairs or whatever, the targets on them. But as you pointed out also in the "Talking Points," the Democrat Leadership Counsel -- Democrat Leadership Council -- also ran a congressional map a few years ago with targets on them. Where was the liberal outrage over that? [Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, 1/10/11; accessed via Nexis]
Special Report Responds To Calls To Rein In Violent Rhetoric By Criticizing Democrats, Progressives. In a report aired during the January 10 broadcast of Fox News' Special Report, Fox News correspondent James Rosen criticized President Obama and "other prominent liberal[s]" for allegedly not "mov[ing] swiftly to rein in speculation" about the shooter's motivations. He went on to attack Pima County Arizona Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, Nobel Prize winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and MoveOn.org for using the shooting to discuss the potential dangers of vitriolic, heated political rhetoric. [Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier, 1/10/11]