Mosque Arsonist Tells Judge: “I Only Know What I Hear On Fox News”

Here is a disturbing report from a local news broadcast in Toledo, Ohio. An Indiana man pleaded guilty to arson for having set fire to an Islamic Center in Toledo. He was sentenced to 20 years today and, in an exchange with the judge, revealed his motivation.

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.”

The producers at Fox must be so proud of the prejudice they inspire with their overtly hateful coverage of any subject that deals with Muslims. Their scandal mongering a couple of years ago about the Park51 Islamic Center in Manhattan was evidence of just how biased the network is against Muslims. And numerous Fox anchors and guests have engaged in the slander that all Muslims are terrorists, or that all terrorists are Muslim.

This is a particularly interesting display of prejudice considering that the largest shareholder of News Corp outside of the Murdoch family (and a financier of Park51) is the Muslim Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal of Saudi Arabia. However, there are numerous examples of Fox News taking positions that are in stark contrast to CEO Rupert Murdoch’s publicly stated views. Either Murdoch’s control has been usurped by Roger Ailes or he has become senile and incognizant – or both.

It should not be surprising that one of their loyal viewers decided to commit what he thinks is an act of patriotism. After driving into their heads the notion that Muslims are America’s enemies, even when they are American citizens, congressmen, or soldiers, Fox’s audience has become indoctrinated by the prejudice that gushes from the network’s broadcasts. Now we know that a member of that audience has taken the next step in manifesting the hate that Fox manufactures. And it cannot be explained away as a legal tactic to avoid responsibility because he already pleaded guilty.

This is not the first time something like this has happened either. There was the story about a woman who threatened to fire all of her black employees if they voted for Obama, and she wrote “KKK” on their time cards. Her excuse? “I think I got crazy with FOX News, watching too much FOX News.” And there were at least two maniacs inspired by Fox’s Glenn Beck (here and here).

This is the predictable result of the feverish rantings that occur daily on Fox News. The anchors, producers, and advertisers are responsible for the harm that is done by people they knowingly incite to violence. This does not mean that Fox is directly responsible for the violence itself, but that they have some culpability for having infected their audience with the hateful lies that can lead to these measures. Hopefully someday one of their victims will be courageous enough to hold Fox accountable and make them pay a price for their hate speech.

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25 thoughts on “Mosque Arsonist Tells Judge: “I Only Know What I Hear On Fox News”

  1. “Hopefully someday one of their victims will be courageous enough to hold Fox accountable and make them pay a price for their hate speech.”

    Keep holding on that vision, unfortunately it won’t happen. A couple of decades ago, there were attempts to hold leading white supremacists accountable for a number of racially-charged acts of violence that had been perpetrated by their followers. Despite a fair amount of direct links between the leaders’ speeches and the criminals’ attacks, the courts refused to hold the leaders accountable for the actions of their followers because the leaders had not *explicitly* made any comments of the “go beat up any n—–s you see” variety.

    As long as the FoxNoise maniacs don’t come right out and SAY “commit violence against these other people,” there’s not a court in the US that will hold them accountable.

    (Note: I’m not arguing against what you suggest, only that it’s highly unlikely anything of the sort will happen. Apparently, “hate speech” is more protected under the First Amendment than pornography since the mere existence of a copy of “Playboy” in his apartment is more than enough evidence to find a man guilty of committing rape.)

    • You’re right, of course. I didn’t really think that Fox could be held accountable legally. It was more of a wish than a hope.

      However, the Southern Poverty Law Center regularly sues racist groups for their role in hate crimes committed by followers, and they often get judgements in favor the victims they represent.

    • Why do we need the government the hold them accountable?

      We have over 100 million people in this country to exercise authority with, if only we could all see eye to eye and fight for what’s right in this country.

      The government and media does a good job of hindering us banning together with stupid social issues that no one would care about if we all stopped talking about it for a generation or two. Kids are taught to be prejudice, they don’t become such on their own.

  2. It is time to compare the effects of video games versus the effects of Fox News on violent tendencies. I would predict that the latter has caused a greater increase in real-world hatred.

  3. 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.”

    As much as Murdoch’s empire annoys me, it’s probably not a great idea to take the words of an arsonist at face value. Particularly when those words are an attempt of said arsonist to deflect responsibility of his criminal acts.

    • He was asked a question from the judge. He did not volunteer it. I think it is pretty safe to take it at face value.

      • Murdocks wiretap scandal in Britain and most likely elsewhere.
        Ollie North, Iran/Contra criminal, on the Fox payroll.
        St. Ronnie(I don’t recall Iran/Contra)Reagan is still a revered leader of the Repub party, even after being proved a complete Liar.
        Rudy(hip deep in scandals)Guuliani still has credibility in the party and an open invitation to appear on FNC anytime.
        Bill O’Reilly had to “buy off” the woman he was sexually harrassing after it was learned that she had “recorded” the conversations that he had denied previously.
        No-bid contracts to VP Cheney’s company Haliburton after starting two wars which would greatly increase the stock value of Haliburton, which would, just a coincidence, increase VP Cheney’s stock holdings from Haliburton.
        WMD’s.
        And many more.

        I think I’ll take the arsonist’s word at face value long before I trust anything FoxNews or the rightwing has to say.

  4. You have to be a real hate mongering idiot to write this article. How many millions of people watch Fox News each day, but you want to point out one comment made by one or two deranged individuals? Yes, lets throw up our hands and roll our eyes at Fox News. What a bunch of backwards, hate spewing, GOPers. Marilyn Manson was responsible for Columbine too, right?

    Did you finish High School Literature before you wrote this article? If your going to accuse Fox News of trying to influence people to do hurt or murder people you should back it up with direct quotes from their newspeople that support your point. You can’t condemn an entire news network because of the actions of one deranged individual.

    • Obviously you didn’t pay attention in Language Arts. “If your going to accuse Fox News…” Actually, it should be “If you’re…” as you wanted the contraction of “you are.” If you’re going to accuse someone of not finishing high school literature (caps not necessary btw) you need to back it up with credible mastery of language and grammar. But, this is to be expected from a Faux News minion. And I don’t think anyone is accusing this network of being a “news network.”

    • Dear Matt S, not certain you will get this but the article does NOT state that Fox News advocates violent acts, it’s that their reporting can lead susceptible people to violence. NOT the same thing.

  5. There is no excuse for the criminal act this person committed. However, whatever negative impression Fox’s biased reporting gave this person about Islam would pale in comparison to what Islam says about itself in the Koran and Hadith. If you think I’m being too hard on Islam I have no respect or tolerance for any religion that does not reciprocate with its own respect and tolerance of others’ belief or nonbelief or any religion that treats women like property. That pretty much rules out respect for any of them (at least the Abrahamic ones). They all do a bad job of reciprocating tolerance but Islam is by far the worst. All religions have their apologists who argue the goodness of their creeds and the great overwhelming majority of religious practitioners have moderate tolerant and otherwise good people practicing their beliefs. It seems the older the religion the more tolerant it is. As far as I’m concerned they are all nonsense and no thinking person can take any of them seriously. Much of what is said in their holy books sound like the ranting’s of a psychopath. I don’t know but I would guess this criminal considers himself some sort of Christian. If that is the case I’m sure he thought he was doing the righteous thing-attacking Islam. What he did was clearly wrong and Fox’s constant barrage of misinformation may very well be what pushed him over the edge in committing this criminal act. But religion poisons everything. It takes otherwise sane people and gets them to commit acts that they would never consider if they weren’t poisoned by religious thinking (9-11 anyone). If it isn’t obvious, I’m an atheist and believe the sooner humanity can rid itself of these ancient superstitions the better off we all will be. I believe the separation of church and state as inscribed in our constitution is a good start and if we can keep it, it will lead us to better things. I may have gotten off subject a bit here but will take any opportunity to criticize religion in general, whenever I get the chance.

    If anyone is interested I would recommend reading or at least You Tubing some authors, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett and the late Christopher Hitchens.

    • Randy,

      Try listening or watching any Dr. Hugh Ross and Dr. Fazale Rana’s teaching over at Reasons.org sometime, with an open mind. Your comment that religion poisons everything is very broad. Consider the Christian hospitals, charities like the Red Cross and the Salvation Army as well as Christian Churches opening their doors to the hurting and destitute. Since you missed that statement and truth, perhaps the 4 Horsemen of the atheist Apocalypse are leading you astray.

      • Yes, there are Christian charities.

        Why does the good that the Salvation Army do outweigh the death of a transwoman they left in the cold, to die of exposure on their doorstep? Because that’s what you’re asking me to accept.

        All people are capable of good. There are good Islamic charities, too. What is the point of your picking out Christian ones? They’re no better, merely more affluent and influential in the world, despite their smaller numbers from other religions.

  6. “They don’t believe in Jesus Christ”. That’s right. a lot of people don’t including Jewish people. From killing Muslims it’s only a small step away to killing Jews. But that’s what extremist right wing ideology does. It foments hatred for groups of people, which cannot then be put back in the bottle. Once that hatred is let out, it spills over and affects other groups. Hate is like that.

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  8. Until “Fox News made me do it” becomes a viable defense, they are going to sound as crazy as the people they watch on tv

    • Anyone who lets TV control what they believe is a jackass, plain and simple. True, perception is reality, and if you really think something is true, than to you, it is. To me, this website is ridiculous and anyone believing this crap should move to Canada or Mexico and see how they like it there. Get a life, people!

  9. Instead of blaming a news station how about blaming the idiot who started a fire. What ever happened to self responsibility? Why do people always start blaming every bystander instead of holding the person who actually set the fire accountable for having a brain and free will? We all hear prejudicial statements from people every day, people hear stuff and then it is the individual’s responsibility to interpret what they heard and sort out the stuff that they do not agree with and keep the new information that they find useful. Parents should have raised their children to think for themselves, not to just believe everything they hear.

    • The person who set the fire was not only blamed, he was convicted and sentenced to 20 years. Did you miss that?

      That doesn’t absolve any other factor that may have contributed to the situation. And despite your desire that all parents raise all children to think for themselves, the media still has an impact on what people think. If that were not true then all TV commercials would cease to exist. Fox News is one long TV commercial for right-wing extremism.

      • Hi mate

        Don’t be fooled by Indenial James and The Dirty Diggers Smithers and Mr Burns routine. It started as a way to potentially avoid getting stung in the UK by Levenson, and now is a way of potentially distancing The Digger from any corrupt foreign practices troubles he may have should your authorities grow a pair and follow up on the NI UK corruption issues and fallout from the pending Brooks and Coulson convictions.

        Lets face it – acting a bit mad, doddery and senile has worked in US courts in the past.

        The Dirty Digger is still the venomous rat he always has been.

  10. Hello Randy, and merry Christmas,

    I have thought about you frequently since your last post, and decided to write back on Christmas Day, the most important day in Christianity alongside the resurrection of Christ. The entire world is celebrating his birth today; and I would hazard a guess that you also enjoyed Christmas day today. I hope you did, Randy.

    In reply to your question about the Salvation Army, to seek truth, look to the truths of Christianity, and don’t let yourself be deceived and led astray would be my advice, in love.

    Why didn’t the LGBT community reach out to her and help her? Why didn’t anyone reach out and help her? Perhaps, in the future, there will be city services that provide shelters to meet the needs of the Jennifer Gales of the world, and they would publish their extended services so the Jennifer Gales would not be marginalized or discriminated against until the day that all the nuances of the issue are solved.

    For your thoughtful question about “why Christian charities”, I don’t know of any professed atheist sponsored charities. If you believe in a creator God, then Christianity has the most reasonable truth claims, and if you then accept Christ, the truth claims of the other religions you mention are opposed to the basic truth claims of Christianity, and are therefore not true! Sure, they have some moral equivalent proverbs and professions, but believing that Jesus is God is not accepted and is heretical, deserving of death according to their beliefs.

    As an atheist apologist which I think you are, in order to refute the truth of Jesus coming into this world, you would need to refute the historicity of the Bible or at least the event of Jesus’ birth. There are few atheist scholars who would make that claim. The Bible rings true in its historical settings, it rings true in it’s morality, and in the hope of eternal life that is intrinsic to all people. Yet it gives a reasonable pathway to salvation unlike every other religion. And it is the only religion with a Savior risen from the dead who brings light into the darkness of men’s hearts. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him will have eternal life. The promises of God are yes and amen. The problem of evil in the world, and all the other questions that those who sit in darkness ironically hold onto for dear life are addressed in the overarching salvation through Christ that is available to all who believe.

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