Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh both excoriated the media on Wednesday for radicalizing Americans and mainstreaming violent rhetoric in the wake of a shooting attack on congressional Republicans.
Two of America’s most famous conservative radio hosts say some culpability for the Alexandria, Virginia, ambush that sent Rep. Steve Scalise and at least four others to the hospital rests with the media.
Each man separately told his millions of fans that 66-year-old gunman James Hodgkinson was ultimately responsible for his actions, but that his delusions were stoked by violent rhetoric.
“I’ve been talking often on my radio show about the rise in violence on the left,” Mr. Levin said in a video posted to his Facebook page. “The language is violent, the conduct is violent, and that it is getting increasingly more dangerous. Now, of course, the point is that you have kooks out there. You have people who are on the edge. When you dumb down or mainstream violence, these people become violent and they act out.”
“I make no excuses for a murderer or a would-be murderer like this guy Hodgkinson, but on the other hand I make no excuse either for the rhetoric of the left, the media coverage on the left, for the nature in which our president has been attacked — where assassination becomes mainstream,” he continued.
Mr. Limbaugh shared similar sentiments on his radio show, noting the abundance and brand of political commentary shared on Mr. Hodgkinson’s social media pages.
“I think these people on the left have been driven to this extreme for quite a while. I have been worried about it for I don’t know how long,” Mr. Limbaughsaid. “I could read you statements made by elected Democrats and others promoting just this kind of behavior, just this kind of behavior. You can find it. If you look at the TV programs and the media personalities that this guy, Hodgkinson, was devoted to, you’ll find out how radicalized he was by left-wing TV and comedy.”
“I don’t know that this guy’s ever been a rational, invisible functioning member of a community, but at some point he got radicalized, and if you dig deep you’ll find — we’ve got examples of it to share with you,” Mr. Limbaugh said. “This guy is the exact personification when I sit here and talk about the lunatic fringe base, the deranged base of the Democrat Party. This is the guy. This is the face. This is the picture. This is what you get when you stoke and fuel hatred, raw hatred and resentment, at some point it’s gonna blow over, because it cannot be contained, this kind of rage and repeated disappointment.”
The gunman, who worked as a volunteer for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, died from wounds after a shootout with cops.
Mr. Sanders condemned the assailant’s acts as “despicable” shortly after his identity was confirmed.
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