Thursday morning there has been yet another mass shooting in America. This one occurred in Annapolis, Maryland at the building housing the Capital Gazette newspaper. At his time there are five confirmed fatalities, and the suspect is in custody.
The local police are still interrogating the suspect and they are not reporting any motive yet. This could be the work of a disgruntled employee or domestic violence. But the lack of factual data hasn’t stopped rampant speculation on the part of conservative media and right-wing zealots who are quick to accuse liberals. Never mind that it is the right whose hostility toward the media is more likely to trigger violence. Wingnut troll Milo Yianopoulos said just a couple of days ago that he “can’t wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight.” And Trace Gallagher of Fox News has already checked into the Capital Gazette’s ideological bent, presumably hoping to find it conservative so that liberals could be blamed. And, of course, Donald Trump telling his unstable disciples that “the media is the enemy of the American people.”
But leave it to Sean Hannity to come roaring out of the gate with the first flagrantly accusatory allegations. In a radio rant, Hannity leveled his charges at both Rep. Maxine Waters and President Obama saying that (video below):
“I’ve been saying now for days that something horrible was going to happen because of the rhetoric. Really Maxine? You want people to create – Call your friends. Get in their faces – and Obama said that too. Get in their faces. Call ’em out. Call your friends. Get protesters. Follow them into restaurants and shopping malls, and wherever else she said.”
First of all, Obama never said any such thing, And what Waters said was strictly limited to legal protesting and constitutionally protected dissent. But Hannity is blatantly associating these comments with the motive of the shooter, despite not knowing anything about it.
That’s how these people work. It used to be the domain of fringe figures like Glenn Beck and Alex Jones who would dash immediately into irresponsible charges and conspiracy theories. But in today’s rancid right-wing media environment, it is now the top rated host on Fox News who is doing it. And let’s be clear, reckless rhetoric like this is likely to create exactly the sort of violence that it pretends to criticize. It’s an invitation to other maniacs who seek the notoriety that comes with being hailed by crackpots like Hannity. He should learn to keep his mouth shut when he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. But then that would be pretty all the time.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
Sean Hannity has already blamed Maxine Waters for the shooting in Maryland:
— Media Matters (@mmfa) June 28, 2018