Fox News: It’s All Fun And Games Until Somebody Gets Killed

The next time you hear some Fox News host or commentator deny that the network engages in hate-speech and calls to violence, or better yet, proclaims that it is the left that primarily fosters an environment of hatred and violence, please send the network a copy of the following article. It originally appeared in a November 10, 2010 piece from Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) and was republished on Monday by


Bill O’Reilly’s recent “joke” about decapitating Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank was only the latest example of a demented Fox News culture that permits on-air personalities to fantasize about assassination and other forms of violence against those deemed enemies of the station, its personalities or their worldview.

During the cable channel’s 2008 election coverage, in what she later called an attempt at humor, Fox News contributor Liz Trotta linked Osama bin Laden to Barack Obama as people who both should be assassinated:

And now we have what some are reading as a suggestion that somebody knock off Osama, uh Obama. Well, both, if we could.

A week before Trotta’s “joke,” Republican primary candidate Mike Huckabee was apologizing for his own Obama assassination quip. Addressing a gathering of the National Rifle Association, Huckabee joked that a loud thud heard backstage during his address was Barack Obama diving to the floor to avoid gun shots. Months later, Huckabee was given his own Fox News show.

With its biggest new star, Glenn Beck, Fox News hired a host well-known for on-air death fantasies–for instance, chattering about killing filmmaker Michael Moore with his bare hands and hoping out loud that Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D.-Ohio) would burn to death. In a Fox News skit in September 2009, Beck portrayed himself poisoning Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

It’s a culture that apparently filters down to Fox News viewers and supporters. Over the years Fox Nation, the Fox News “owned and operated” fan website, has regularly featured comments expressing the desire to see Barack Obama’s assassinated.

Yesterday News Hounds (11/8/10) published a collection of such quotes, some of which can still be read at on the Fox site. Fox Nation purports to be self-policing, to depend on readers to report inappropriate and irresponsible remarks for removal. Apparently presidential assassination fantasies fall short of Fox Nation‘s standards for inappropriate or irresponsible commentary.

Recent examples of these assassination fantasies on Fox Nation include comments calling for President Obama to “get what Kennedy got,” for the CIA to “take this pres down” and a warning to the president that the Koran “ain’t thick enough to stop a .308 round.”

There is some evidence that Fox‘s murder fantasy culture has already helped to spark violent action. Reporting for Media Matters, journalist John Hamilton tells the story of Byron Williams, a Beck devotee who engaged in a shootout that injured two California Highway Patrol officers in July. After his apprehension, Williams told police he’d intended to travel Oakland California to kill people at the offices of the Tides Foundation and the ACLU.

In a jailhouse interview in which he described the right-wing media sources that informed his views, Williams returned again and again to Glenn Beck:

I would have never started watching Fox News if it wasn’t for the fact that Beck was on there. And it was the things that he did, it was the things he exposed that blew my mind.

Among the things Beck did, according to Hamilton, was attack the Tides Foundation in 29 separate Fox News shows in the 18 months leading up to Williams’ foiled mission to Oakland.

Moreover, as the ADL reports, Pittsburgh’s Richard Poplawski was so inspired by Beck’s anti-government conspiracy theories, he reposted to a neo-Nazi website tape of Beck suggesting the government was building concentration camps for dissidents–before he was arrested after a shootout with police that left three officers dead.

If this all wasn’t so deadly serious it would be seriously funny, because O’Reilly has spent years accusing liberal and progressive websites of fomenting hate speech. O’Reilly’s crusade largely targets the comment and open forum sections of such websites, highlighting comments that generally pale in comparison to those broadcast on Fox and posted on Fox Nation. To add to the irony, when O’Reilly is called out for failing to make distinctions between the editorial content and comment sections of these websites, he argues that the groups are responsible for everything on their websites:

Open forum is bull…. You can regulate what’s on your website.

When it comes to hypocrisy and Fox News, you really can’t make this stuff up.

The hostility behind O’Reilly’s creepy Milbank beheading joke was on display when the host appeared to make a veiled threat toward Milbank’s boss in an appearance on another Fox show. Apparently angered that Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt permitted Milbank to publish columns critical of Fox News, O’Reilly had Fox host Megyn Kelly put a picture of Hiatt up on the screen, and told her audience:

This is the editor, Milbank’s editor, Fred Hiatt. And Fred won’t do anything about Milbank lying in his column. I just want everybody in America to know what the Washington Post has come to. All right, you can take Fred’s picture off. Fred, have a nice weekend, buddy.

(Later in the same appearance, O’Reilly suggested that the host join him in physically assaulting Milbank: “I think you and I should go and beat him up.”)

O’Reilly’s veiled threat toward Hiatt recalls one made in a recent interview with an Australian paper by Fox boss Rupert Murdoch (Australian Financial Review, 11/5/10):

People love Fox News…. We said to the cable operators when we put the price up, we said, do you want a monument to yourself….  Cancel us, you might get your house burnt down.

Perhaps the fish does rot from the head.

SPECIAL NOTICE: Big blizzard up here in Boston. We will continue to update Lynnrockets’ Blast-Off so long as the electricity holds out.

Please remember to click on the song link below to familiarize yourselves with the tune and to have more fun singing along with today’s song parody which was inspired by Fox News.

Let ‘Em In song link:


(sung to the Paul McCartney and Wings song “Let ‘Em In”)

Someone’s sniveling on the tube
Somebody’s startin’ to yell
Someone’s sportin’ new boobs
Somebody reeks of hair gel

Do me a favor,
Change the channel and let Fox in
Ooh yeah

Someone’s not “fair and balanced”
Somebody’s missing brain cells
Someone’s psyche is imbalanced
Somebody’s wearing pastels

Do me a favor,
Change the channel and let Fox in
Yeah ,yeah, yeah, let Fox in

Neil Cavuto, O’Reilly
Glenn Beck and Hannity
Huckabee and Van Susteren
Change the channel and let Fox in

(musical interlude)

Neil Cavuto, O’Reilly
Glenn Beck and Hannity
Huckabee and Van Susteren
Change the channel and let Fox in

Someone’s talking to Newt Gingrich
Somebody’s starting to shout
Someone called Hillary a bitch
Somebody’s starting to pout

Do me a favor,
Change the channel and let Fox in
Ooh yeah ,yeah, let Fox in, let ‘em in now

Doo doo doo doo da doo doo
Doo doo doo da doo da

Neil Cavuto, O’Reilly
Glenn Beck and Hannity
Huckabee and Van Susteren
Change the channel and let Fox in

Someone’s sniveling on the tube
Somebody’s startin’ to yell
Someone’s sportin’ new boobs
Somebody reeks of hair gel

Do me a favor,
Change the channel and let Fox in
Ooh yeah , yeah , yeah ,yeah ,yeah

Posted on January 12, 2011, in Bill O'Reilly, Fox News, Glenn Beck, Mike Huckabee, Sean Hannity, Songs and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. $P put out a “too little too late speech.” Of course, she managed to be more insulting then you can even imagine.

    • Just when you think she can’t screw it up any worse, she comes out with her statement, complete with a flag pin, and references to Reagan, 9/11 and the founding fathers. She uses the phrase “blood libel” to criticize journalists and pundits and draws instant criticism from Jewish groups, not to mention Congresswoman Giffords is Jewish. We know she isn’t capable of crafting a coherent sentence, so if her ghost writers include this reference does she not question it? Is she really that stupid or does she know this will keep the buzz going about her and even if it’s negative is yet another thing that she can play the victim card over? I can’t figure out how much of her is moran and how much is crazy like a fox. What I can figure out is that I can’t stand the woman.

      • My post and song parody for tomorrow will deal with the points you just raised. Stay tuned.

      • The one good thing I got out of Snowbilly Grifter’s “Poor Me”, Snowbilly tirade was a telephone call from my formerly Snowbilly-fan sister-in-law. I have remained as “quiet” as I can with her for over two years and last evening she called and said that she finally realized I was correct – “Snowbilly Grifter is an idiot.”

        Nice to see someone who has purchased all things Snowbilly Grifter has had for sale…….realize they were WRONG~

      • Sometimes even the sight of the blind is restored.

  2. Palling around with terrorists

    “Don’t doubt for a minute that, if they thought they could get away with it, they would ban guns and ban ammunition and gut the Second Amendment,” Palin, a lifelong NRA member, told the annual NRA gathering Friday in Charlotte, N.C. “It’s the job of all of us at the NRA and its allies to stop Obama and the Democratic Congress in their tracks.”

    How do billionaire Republican polluters like the Koch Brothers steer clear of higher taxes and EPA regulations? Scare gullible gun-totin’ country folk into voting Republican!

    Small Government (tax cuts for the rich) becomes anti-Government frenzy, and we have the spectacle of paranoid armed militia types (Beck’s Storm Troopers) incensed at the possibility that health insurance companies won’t be able to drop customers because of pre-existing conditions!

  3. The real tragedy of all of this is that people are being mean to Sarah Palin, the real victim of this whole shooting thing, as Pareene notes. You should never blame the victim, but Glenn Beck read a letter to her telling her to stay strong.

    • Thanks for that terrific link, BP.

      • More from DailyKos

        Last October, Glenn Beck was musing on his radio show about the prospect of the government seizing his children if he didn’t give them flu vaccines. “You want to take my kids because of that?” he said. “Meet Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson.”

        Last April, Erick Erickson, the managing editor of the right-wing RedState blog and a CNN commentator, was questioning the legality of the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey on a radio show. “We have become, or are becoming, enslaved by the government. . . . I dare ’em to try to come to throw me in jail. I dare ’em to. [I’ll] pull out my wife’s shotgun and see how that little ACS twerp likes being scared at the door.”

      • Sarah Palin is correct. The right-wingers never use violent rhetoric.

  4. Those “fantasies” seem more like suggestions to me.

    I’m so glad that FAIR is around to put real perspective and facts in front of people.

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