Specific Examples of Conservative Talk-show Hosts Inciting Violence

Specific Examples of Conservative Talk-show Hosts Inciting Violence

Keaton Finlay

In responding to Gabrielle Gifford’s assassination attempt, House Speaker Boehner said that the shooting was a reminder that public service “comes with a risk.”  (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/10/us/politics/10giffords.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&hp)

One might say that Gifford, a Democrat recently elected in a Republican-leaning district, was more at risk than others. Last year, Sarah Palin produced a map showing Gifford’s district in the crosshairs of a rifle scope, with the heading: 

“Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!””


After Friday’s shooting, Palin took down her target map, but you can still see it here: http://www.webpagescreenshot.info/img/325954-18201190524PM

Additionally, the man running against Gifford held a campaign event in June 2010, inviting participants to “shoot a fully loaded M-16” at his side, as a way to “Get on target for victory and remove Gabrielle Gifford from office.” http://yfrog.com/h5p7wp and http://thinkprogress.org/2011/01/08/democratic-rep-gabrielle-giffords-shot-at-event-in-arizona/

Also, the judge murdered by congresswoman Gifford’s would-be killer had previously received death threats for ruling in favor of undocumented workers in an earlier case:




And finally, Congresswoman Gifford’s home and office were previously vandalized after her support for the Health Care overhaul bill


Threats of violence against Obama and Democrat office-holders are so common that they are not widely reported. For example, two days before Gifford’s assassination attempt, white male John Troy Davis, a frequent call-in ranter at Colorado Democrat Senator Mike Bennett’s office, threatened to come down and shoot everyone and set “the perimeter” on fire.


Like Gifford, Bennett is a Democrat recently elected in a largely Republican district. Below is a summary of some of the most heinous calls for violence by the usual gang of talk-show hosts, Beck, Savage, et. al. These spokesmen have an audience of millions. It was only a matter of time before a few listeners began taking their words at face value.

Mike Huckabee: Members of Congress “should be tarred and feathered as the original tea partiers would have done.” As RightWingWatch.org noted, Fox News host Mike Huckabeesaid of members of Congress in January:   HUCKABEE: Every member of Congress knows in his gut what’s in the people’s interest and what’s in K Street’s interest. If you think your real boss is some smug guy in a corner office with his Gucci loafers up on a mahogany deck and not the folks back home, those folks who voted for you, who gave you 25 or 50 hard-earned bucks, who put up yard signs and made calls for you, you deserve to lose. Shame on you, you shouldn’t just be fired, you should be tarred and feathered as the original tea partiers would have done. That’s my view and I welcome yours.

Erickson: “At what point do the people … march down to their state legislator’s house, pull him outside, and beat him to a bloody pulp?” In a March 31, 2009, post on RedState.com discussing a Washington county’s ban on certain kinds of dishwasher detergent, Erick Erickson wrote: “At what point do the people tell the politicians to go to hell? At what point do they get off the couch, march down to their state legislator’s house, pull him outside, and beat him to a bloody pulp for being an idiot?” Later in the post, Erickson added: “Were I in Washington State, I’d be cleaning my gun right about now waiting to protect my property from the coming riots or the government apparatchiks coming to enforce nonsensical legislation.”

Erickson: I’ll “[p]ull out my wife’s shotgun” if they try to arrest me for not filling out the American Community Survey. On the April 1 edition of WMAC’s In the Morning with Erick Erickson, Erickson said of the American Community Survey: “This is crazy. What gives the Commerce Department the right to ask me how often I flush my toilet? Or about going to work? I’m not filling out this form. I dare them to try and come throw me in jail. I dare them to. Pull out my wife’s shotgun and see how that little ACS twerp likes being scared at the door. They’re not going on my property. They can’t do that. They don’t have the legal right, and yet they’re trying.”

Right-wing blogger: People should “have a swing at” lawmakers “if you’re willing to do the time.” In a March 24 post on his blog, Confederate Yankee, Bob Owens – who also currently contributes to the Washington Examinerwrote:

No matter what you think of Obamacare and the craven ideologues that passed it, is totally unacceptable to threaten their relatives or friends and put them in danger.

Go to your Congressman’s office and scream at him in the most colorful language possible. Hang him in effigy at protests. If you’re willing to do the time for the crime, have a swing at him.”

Stossel said he has “Barney Frank in effigy” hanging above his sofa. In a February 3 interview with New York magazine, when Fox Business host John Stossel was asked, “What’s hanging above your sofa?” he responded: “Barney Frank in effigy.” [New York, 2/3/10]

Beck portrays Obama, Democrats as vampires, suggests “driv[ing] a stake through the heart of the bloodsuckers.” Beck aired a graphic portraying Obama and Democrats as vampires and said, “The government is full of vampires, and they are trying to suck the lifeblood out of the economy.” Beck then suggested “driv[ing] a stake through the heart of the bloodsuckers.” [Glenn Beck, 3/30/09]

Beck: “To the day I die, I am going to be a progressive hunter.” Telling his listeners that they “are going to learn so much on Friday,” Beck compared himself to “Israeli Nazi hunters” and commented, “I’m going to find these big progressives and, to the day I die, I’m going to be a progressive hunter.” He added:

BECK: I’m going to find these people that have done this to our — you know, to our country, and expose them. I don’t care where — I don’t care if they’re in nursing homes. I’m going to expose what they have done and make sure that the people understand, because our Constitution, our republic — if it survives — it will only survive because the people are waking up and through the grace of God, because we are that close to losing our republic. [Premiere Radio Networks’ The Glenn Beck Program, 1/20/10]

Beck: “Grab a torch.” Asserting that politicians are addicted to spending, Beck stated: “When do we ever run those who are bankrupting our country and literally stealing our children’s future out of town? Grab a torch.” [Glenn Beck, 1/6/10]

Beck speaks for one-third of the nation: “[Y]ou will have to shoot me in the forehead before you take away my gun” and “before I acquiesce and be silent.” During the July 30, 2009, edition of his radio show, Beck warned “ACORN, GE, Obama, SEIU” that “you are awakening a sleeping giant, and I have nothing to do with it” and that “America is waking up. You know the American Revolution took place with 12 percent of the population? Twelve. Are you telling me there is not 30 percent of this population that you will have to shoot me in the forehead before I let somebody into my house to tell me how to raise my children; you will have to shoot me in the forehead before you take away my gun; you will have to shoot me in the forehead before I acquiesce and be silent.”

Beck: “There is a coup going on. There is a stealing of America.” On his radio show, Beck stated that “there is a revolution, and they think they can get away with it quietly.” Beck further claimed: “At this point, gang, I’m not sure, they may be able to because they are so far ahead of us. They know what they’re dealing against; most of America does not yet. Most of America doesn’t have a clue as to what’s going on. There is a coup going on. There is a stealing of America, and the way it is done, it has been done through the — the guise of an election, but they lied to us the entire time.” He also said, “And they’re gonna say, ‘we did it democratically,’ and they are going to grab power every way they can. And God help us in an emergency.” [The Glenn Beck Program, 8/31/09]

Beck pours gasoline on “average American,” asks, “President Obama, why don’t you just set us on fire?” On his Fox News program, Beck claimed to be imitating Obama while pouring liquid from a gasoline can — which he later stated was water — on an “average American.” Beck said during his demonstration: “President Obama, why don’t you just set us on fire? … We didn’t vote to lose the republic.” [Glenn Beck, 4/9/09]

Quoting Jefferson, Beck warns about “rivers of blood.” On his Fox News show, Beck quoted a letter by Thomas Jefferson warning that ” ‘if they lose freedom’ — he’s speaking of us, future generations — ‘if they lose freedom, there will be rivers of blood.’ ” Beck continued in his own words, “Boy, I hope that’s not true, but I can tell you there will be rivers of blood if we don’t have values and principles.” [Glenn Beck, 5/14/10]

Ranting that gov’t under Nixon “wasn’t as corrupt as it is now,” Beck suggests Obama admin might kill “10 percent” of population. Beck warned that “anarchists, Marxists, communists, revolutionaries, Maoists” have to “eliminate 10 percent of the U.S. population” in order to “gain control.” They couldn’t achieve such a goal when Richard Nixon was president, Beck stated, because “the family was together” and the government under Nixon “wasn’t as corrupt as it is now.” Beck added: “Now they can. Now they can.” Beck later played a clip of an FBI agent who infiltrated the Weather Underground and warned about extremists who want to kill people. Beck responded to the clip by stating: “These are the same people that are everywhere in our government and our education system. Please, please. Learn from history. Please.” [Glenn Beck, 6/10/10]

Beck on progressives: When the “soft revolution” fails, they “just start shooting people.” Beck claimed that progressives are engaging in a “soft revolution” designed to silence voices like his. He added: “If somebody starts to turn on them, or they can’t get everyone to silence, that’s when the arrests come, or that’s when they start a hard revolution. That’s when they start just shooting people. I hope we don’t get to that point. I pray that we don’t get to that point, but I never thought this country would get to the point where we are today.” [The Glenn Beck Program,5/27/10]

Beck: “God will wash this nation with blood if he has to, but he doesn’t have to.” Referencing Lincoln’s second inaugural address, Beck said that “God will wash this nation with blood if he has to, but he doesn’t have to.” Beck added that “we are passing all of the exits. Gang, there is one exit left. There is one exit left, and it is God. Everything that is coming our way is too big to handle on our own. If we do not put God at the center of our own personal lives and the center of our country, we will not survive. The country will be washed with blood and then someone will have to start over, and God only knows how long that takes.” [The Glenn Beck Program, 8/25/10]

Beck: “The army … of the extreme left is gathering” and they are saying “cops are bad, kill the cops.” On his radio show, Beck discussed riots in Oakland, stating: “The army, if you will, of the extreme left is gathering, and they are coming to the conclusion of cops are bad, kill the cops, they’re the oppressors. It’s all the 1960s, you know, pig stuff. It’s the same stuff.” [The Glenn Beck Program, 7/12/10]

Beck’s advice to Liberty grads: “Shoot to kill.” During his May 15 commencement speech at Liberty University, Beck told graduates that they “have a responsibility” to speak out, or “blood … will be on our hands.” His advice for graduates (as well as his daughter) included “shoot to kill.”

O’Reilly: “[I]f I could get my hands on Tiller — well, you know. Can’t be vigilantes. Can’t do that. It’s just a figure of speech.” On the November 6, 2006, broadcast of his radio show, Bill O’Reilly said of the late Dr. George Tiller: “[I]f I could get my hands on Tiller — well, you know. Can’t be vigilantes. Can’t do that. It’s just a figure of speech.” [Westwood One’s The Factor with Bill O’Reilly, 11/6/06]

Peters stated that if a Taliban-held soldier is a deserter, “the Taliban can save us a lot of legal hassles and legal bills.” Ralph Peters asserted of Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl, who wascaptured by the Taliban in June 2009 and appeared in two Taliban propaganda videos: “[W]e know this private is a liar; we’re not sure if he’s a deserter.” Peters added that if he is a deserter, “the Taliban can save us a lot of legal hassles and legal bills.” NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski subsequently reported that the Pentagon said Peters’ comments “could endanger” the captured soldier. [Fox News’ America’s News HQ, 7/19/09]

Scheuer: “The only chance we have as a country right now is” for bin Laden to “detonate a major weapon” in U.S. Michael Scheuer, who has frequently appeared on Fox News as a terrorism expert, said during an appearance on Glenn Beck, “The only chance we have as a country right now is for Osama bin Laden to deploy and detonate a major weapon in the United States.” [Glenn Beck, 6/30/09]

Note that the above list does not include anything by the Great Hater Rush Limbaugh himself. The Reason: He preaches hate, all day, all the time, so individual examples are hard to isolate. Indeed, as TV blog The Wrap has noted regarding Limbaugh:  “His claims about Democrat-backed death panels may bear only a tenuous relationship with reality, but his 15 million listeners will prevent stations from messing with the overheated formula — even in the wake of an assassination attempt on a U.S. congresswoman.”

Nothing to do but wait until another loose screw listener grows as overheated as Jared Loughner?