In the wake of today’s shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Maryland where 5 people were killed, conservative commentator Sean Hannity said that he didn’t want to turn the incident into a gun issue, but he did take an opportunity to highlight someone who he thinks is responsible: Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA).
“It’s so sad that there are so many sick, demented, and evil people in this world. It really is sad,” Hannity said.
Hannity then turned his focus to Waters and her recent comments where she encouraged activists to verbally confront Trump administration officials in public as a form of protest.
“I’ve been saying now for days something horrible will happen because of the rhetoric. Really Maxine?” he continued. “Get in their faces, call them out, call your friends, get protesters to follow them into restaurants and shopping malls and whatever else she said.”
Hannity even blamed Obama, who he claimed used similar rhetoric.
The angle Hannity’s taking here is pathetically hypocritical. Throughout Donald Trump’s surge to the presidency up until the present day, rhetoric targeting the American press as adversaries of the people has been a common theme. According to report from the Observer this week, right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos has taken up the habit of replying to reporters who contact him that he “can’t wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight.” In a now-deleted Instagram post, Milo told Mediaite reporter Amy Russo that if journalists “keep lying, deceiving and manipulating the public, then they will reap the same hatred they are sowing against Trump and his voters.”
In January of this year, a man was arrested for making repeated threatening phone calls to CNN employees in Atlanta. In one call, Brandon Griesemer of Ann Arbor, Mich said, “Fake news. I’m coming to gun you all down.” According to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, there were 44 physical attacks on journalists in the United States in 2017.
So funny to watch the Fake News, especially NBC and CNN. They are fighting hard to downplay the deal with North Korea. 500 days ago they would have “begged” for this deal-looked like war would break out. Our Country’s biggest enemy is the Fake News so easily promulgated by fools!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2018
There are many other examples.
The broad slandering of U.S. media as “fake news” and an “enemy” of the American people is a widespread trend popularized by President Trump and parroted by his most loyal supporters — including Hannity himself. In a rant from April of last year, Hannity slammed the media for disseminating “alt radical left propaganda” to the masses and seeking to silence “every single conservative voice in the country.”
“It’s time to label what we’re seeing for what it really is, and that’s why I call it media fascism,” Hannity said.
Hannity’s targeting of Waters as someone responsible for the Capital Gazette shooting is nothing more than misdirected speculation. There is nothing Waters has ever said that can be construed as a call to violence against media outlets. All one has to do is look at Hannity’s side of the isle, and the brand of rhetoric that could potentially lead to violence targeting journalists is plain to see.
Listen to Hannity’s comments in the link below, via Media Matters:
Featured image via screen grab/YouTube