In 2008 a Unitarian congregation in Tennessee was fired upon by a reported devotee of Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Michael Savage. In the shadow of last summer’s “ground-zero mosque” controversy, a NYC cab driver’s throat was slashed after he identified himself as a Muslim.
Were these the acts of disturbed individuals, already predisposed toward violence, or the natural outcome of so much inflammatory rhetoric being injected into the national discourse? Are hateful demagogues in any way responsible for the criminality of those who take them seriously?
John Hamilton of Media Matters raises these questions in a new piece, in which he interviews Byron Williams, a jailed gunman who credits Glenn Beck and Fox for inspiring his ill-fated insurrection against the Tides Foundation and ACLU.