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Fox News Head Tells Hosts 'Shut Up, Tone It Down' After Giffords Shooting

4 years ago
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Roger Ailes, the conservative who heads the Fox News Channel, has told his traditionally outspoken hosts to "shut up, tone it down" in the wake of the massacre in Tucson that is putting overheated right-wing rhetoric under intense scrutiny.

"I told all of our guys, shut up, tone it down, make your argument intellectually," Ailes said in an interview with Russell Simmons, the global hip-hop impresario, that was posted at Simmons news site, "You don't have to do it with bombast."

Investigators have made no direct connection between the alleged shooter, 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner, and any extremist organizations. Loughner shot and killed 6 people on Saturday at a Tucson mall while wounding a dozen others, including his main target, Democratic congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

But the shooting has raised questions about the often violent language and imagery associated with many populist activists and politicians, from Tea Party members to Sarah Palin.

Those questions are creating yet another rift between right and left. In his comments, the combative Ailes wasn't about to throw in the towel, but instead argued that the left was as guilty as the right in the war of words, and in fact was exploiting the memory of victims like 9-year-old Christina Green, who was killed by Loughner's bullets.

"It's just a bullshit way to use the death of a little girl to get Fox News in an argument," Ailes told Simmons.
"The education system knew about this guy... they kicked him out of school and told him until he gets a letter saying he's not going to kill anybody, he can't come back to school," Ailes said. "The police department picked him up five times and let him go and nobody screened him for getting a weapon... So, by the time he decided to go to a mall and and wanting to kill somebody, he was attached to nobody. He was a flag burner. He just was not attached to the Tea Party."
Ailes also cited various examples of violent left-wing imagery targeting conservatives, including a picture of himself with a bull's-eye on his head -- much has been made of a Palin ad showing Gifford's district with a target on it -- as well as a picture of a Palin doll hanging by a rope.

"This goes on," Ailes said. "Both sides are wrong, but they both do it."

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Fox news is the propaganda arm of the republican party. Their goal is perpetual republican control of government. Nothing more, nothing less. And, they don't care what they have to do to help achieve it. Truth is a stranger there. Hypocricy and outright lies are standard operating procedure.

February 26 2011 at 11:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Bottom line no one can make you do something,you choose to do of your own freewill.
There maybe laws you should follow but some choose to willfully ignore them or think it does not apply to them. You alone are totaly responsible for you choices.

January 17 2011 at 9:58 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to osu's comment

You spout platitudes that have no basis in reality. People are malleable - if not, why is propaganda so effective? Countless times - in fact every time there's a War the populous (it doesn't matter what country) are whipped into a blood frenzy. People are just built like that - politicians understand which buttons to push. If they didn't, for example, how could the Republican party get some guy making 10 an hour to vote for a party who's most important priority is making it easier for the millionaires and billionaires that pay for the propaganda?

January 18 2011 at 12:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It would be great if both sides told THE HOLD TRUTH when it comes to policies, healthcare, etc, etc. Both side twist the facts to make the other side appear to be non-american, and the govt over reaching. The guy in Arizona is ill, my heart goes out to all those who were hurt and killed. And yes Faux entertainment is guilty, and all the other new shows as well. I watch CNN, for the most part they do stick to the truth. I also fact check and research for myself. That is the problem we believe the Beck, Limbaugh, and others w/out checking out the REAL FACTS.

January 17 2011 at 9:34 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to angiebarnes919's comment

Obviously angie is a left-winger. Fox News is no more guilty of causing this massacre than MSNBC, ABC, CBS and other mainstream media. It's accusations and inuendos such as this that only serve to heat things up and stir the pot of dirty politics.

January 17 2011 at 11:48 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

The very essence of the problem with this great country is right there in front of all of our eyes--the last line of the article. Aisles says they--when it's we. We do it, we say it, we believe it. The problem is us, all of us, at every second of every moment. And I have no really good ideas to fix it, which sucks for all of us, not that I'm the one that we we're all counting on to come up with a solution

January 17 2011 at 6:00 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

There are still some Loughners in-waiting in the tea party. We see them here all the time complaining about the president without offering any substance in their arguments. They just come out with concealed or blantant racist statements, even when the article being discussed is about the improving economy, or improving bipartisanship. I think the KKK has just completely morphed into the tea party.

January 17 2011 at 1:20 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to okorieoko's comment

Totally irrational, liberal thinking...Here is your agrument..complaining, i.e freedom of speech, translates into a Loughner "still in waiting among the Tea Party".

January 17 2011 at 12:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Loughner was clearly very socially liberal so why aren't liberal broadcasters such as the ones on CNN and MSNBC being attacked for what he did? It doesn't make any sense.

January 16 2011 at 8:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Isn't this a hell-of-a-note having both sides of the governing parties in congress trying to make political hay out of the killing of some people and hurting others by a deranged person. The media can be forgiven because they are trying to sell to ANY audience, but the political parties should find answers to our many and various problems - not create new ones.

January 16 2011 at 12:15 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

People this is not about healthcare as Bill Maher and Geraldo Rivera want you to believe. It's not about black or white, it's not about red or green, it's not about Fox news or Msnbc, it's not about Sheriff Dupnik or Sheriff Joe Arpaio, it's not about Democrat or Republican, it's not about liberal or conservative, it's not about libertarian or progressives, it's not about Obama or Sarah Palin, it's not about the tea party or left-wing is bout right and wrong, good and's about the truth and the lie are we going to recognize it or are we going to argue and point blame than look in the mirror and face up to reality? There is a time to lead and a time to keep your mouth closed. Is our President going to lead or just give up and fall by the waste side??????? Can we see the opportunity to do what is right for the people or are we just going to except what someone else says without really lookin for the answers ourselves???????????? Stand up and wake up America. The answers are for us to find, please step up and be accountable for YOUR lives and your family.....You can't tell people what to do but you can tell them where to find answers fro themselves and their families. Read and study when you have the chance, there is a lot to discover than just believing what someone says. Find out the TRUTH because it is there.

January 16 2011 at 11:12 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Backman threatend 'concentration camps for conservatives,' Palin, well just go over her talks and remember. I understand conservative women have to sound tough, it is a mans world. However, it got so bad last year from all sides, a couple of comics held a rally for sanity. Meanwhile, we have military personal dying to keep the American way of life safe, and free. Perhaps the way to best honor our military is to make our way of life closer to the principles for which they are dying and fighting for.

January 15 2011 at 1:24 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply

Jared Loughner was mentally ill and a lot of people apparently knew it but let's face it in this country we basically have no mental health support for the average person. As a country we need to focus on developing more resources for people with mental illness many of whom end up in prison as a last stop after they've committed some crime including at the extreme hurting or killing someone. Yes, the political rhetoric could stand to be toned down on all sides but my guess is that Jared had some long standing mental health problems that obviously got worse to the point of being lethal over time.

January 15 2011 at 12:17 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply

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