“This is not a tragedy. This is an execution designed to terrorize people just like the Boston marathon bombing and the mass murder at Fort Hood, Texas.”
Mr. O’Reilly went on to say that President Obama was misguided in using the murders to score political points against the gun lobby. He believed that last night, people needed to concentrate on the victims. Charleston, SC legislator Todd Rutherford used the situation to blame Fox News for the tragedy that unfolded at a church the night before. Mediaite quoted Rutherford talking to CNN.
“[The gunman] hears that because he watches the news and he watches things like Fox News, where they talk about things that they call news, but they’re really not. They use that coded language, they use hate speech, they talk about the president as if he’s not the president, they talk about churchgoers that they’re not really churchgoers. And that’s what this young man acted on.”
Bill O’Reilly was obviously angry with Rutherford and had him on The O’Reilly Factor. Bizpac Review quoted some of O’Reilly’s conversation with Rutherford.
“It’s disturbing. I know you’re upset. I know it’s an emotional day…Now, you say that this Roof kid watches Fox News. Do you know that he watches Fox News?”
After Rutherford told O’Reilly that he believed the shooter got the idea that Black people rape White women from Fox News, O’Reilly stung back.
“You are equating what Dylann Roof did in our church to our commentary here? Are you going to stand there tonight and say that Fox News justifies brutal crimes against black Americans?” O’Reilly asked.
“No. That’s you saying that and you are, again, inflaming the rhetoric,” Rutherford answered.
This isn’t the first time Bill O’Reilly and Fox News have been blamed for murders. After Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot along with 17 others in January of 2011, the Los Angeles Times reported on how “tea party rhetoric” from the right (which includes Fox News) was blamed for the event even before the shooter was identified. It ended up being revealed that Jared Lee Loughner, the shooter, was actually a registered independent.
You can expect that people will continue to blame Fox News and other right-wing outlets for the obviously racially charged murders that happened in South Carolina. Unfortunately, blaming Fox News and Bill O’Reilly won’t bring the victims back.
[Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images]