On Friday, a Democrat South Carolina state legislator appeared on CNN insisting that the 21-year-old man who killed nine churchgoers in Charleston last week was driven to his act because he watches Fox News. This is despite the fact that no one seems to know what media habits the killer possessed.
With no proof or even a hint of where killer Dylann Roof got his news, South Carolina House minority leader J. Todd Rutherford appeared on CNN with Jake Tapper to claim that the “hate speech” on Fox News is what drove Roof to his murders.
Rutherford was on CNN to report on what President Obama had said to him over the phone when the president called to offer condolences, but in answering that question, Rutherford went on to rant about where he assumed the killer got his motivation. Like too many other leftists, Rutherford used this incident to attack his political foes and so the Rep. went on a rant against Fox News.
After his first brief attack on Fox, Tapper asked Rutherford to elaborate on the “rhetoric” he claimed forced the killer to act.
“South Carolina is one of five states that does not have a hate crimes law. South Carolina is the only state that I’m aware of that still flies a Confederate flag in front of the statehouse dome,” Rutherford said.
“South Carolina represents and is emblematic of the problem, which is: words come from these networks that broadcast what they call news, but it’s not,” he continued.
Then Rutherford got down into his wild conspiracy theory:
It’s really hate speech and coded language and leads people to believe they can walk into a church, because it’s no longer a house of god, it’s a killing ground. It’s a place that they can feel free to desecrate and leave blood everywhere, and that’s what this man did. And he did so on some ill-gotten belief, on some wrong belief that it’s okay to do that. He 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 as if they’re not really churchgoers. And that’s what this young man acted on. That’s why you can walk into a church and treat people like animals when they’re really human beings.
Sadly, Jake Tapper didn’t say a word in contradiction to the wild-eyed speculation by this state legislator. Tapper only meekly mumbled “you have a lot there to unpack” and moved on, refusing to confront Rutherford on his false claims.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston, or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.