In May of last year a radical Christian extremist was arrested for plotting a terrorist attack on a community of peaceful Muslims in upstate New York. Robert Doggart, an ordained minister in the Christian National Church, pleaded guilty to a detailed plan to kill people and destroy buildings, churches and schools. Fox News, however, failed to report this story because any terrorist who isn’t Muslim or otherwise dark-skinned isn’t worthy of coverage.
Doggart, whose original guilty plea was rejected by the judge (who filed new, more serious indictments against him), has been free on bond ever since and his case is still pending. However, a comrade in arms, William Tore Tint, has just pleaded guilty to crimes stemming from the same activities as well as lying to FBI investigators. Tint was recorded plotting with Doggart to kill people and burn down buildings. Following his plea Tint was sentenced to only three years probation.
Neither of these stories were reported by Fox News. That in itself may not be surprising as Fox doesn’t regard any terrorism committed by white Christians, or anyone other than Muslims, to be newsworthy. In fact, they don’t even regard it as terrorism. What makes this extraordinary is that Fox News likely served as an inspiration for the crime.
You have to ask where Doggart and Tint got the groundless notion that the residents of Islamberg were jihadists in training. In January of 2015 Bill O’Reilly hosted Ryan Mauro, a “national security analyst” who claimed that Muslims were forming “no-go zones” in the United States where they would train and launch domestic attacks. These claims were never substantiated by credible sources in law enforcement, and the organizations to which Mauro belonged were well known anti-Islamic propagandists. These views were repeated on Fox News by other anchors and pundits across the Fox schedule for weeks.
This is not the only time that Fox News has inspired terrorism. Last year a San Diego man pleaded guilty to a charge of making a criminal threat directed at the offices of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. His lawyer offered a defense that included the claim that he had problems with alcohol, anxiety and depression and had just finished watching a week of Fox News coverage on the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris. Two years ago an Indiana man pleaded guilty to arson for having set fire to an Islamic Center in Toledo, Ohio. When the judge asked him if he knew any Muslims or what Islam is he said “No, I only know what I hear on Fox News.”
If any of these criminals were dark-skinned Muslims Fox News would be running video of terrorist training camps in Afghanistan non-stop. They would be ratcheting up the Islamophobia across every program on the network. And they would be frightening their viewers with unfounded generalizations about imminent doom. Of course Donald Trump would be tweeting up a storm and blaming it all on President Obama. But since these were white Christians it wasn’t even worth a mention between segments on summer barbecues and Hooters.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.