Man Who Threatened To Shoot Muslims Uses The ‘Fox News Made Me Do It’ Defense

A California man who by his own account spent much of 2015 binge watching Fox News and getting progressively more angry about Muslims says that the only reason he repeatedly threatened to kill Muslims was because he had a toxic mix of alcohol abuse and Fox abuse problems.

In 2015, after months of watching Fox News air thinly veiled hate speech regarding Muslims, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations activist group in particular, California resident John David Weissinger began leaving voicemail messages for the employees of CAIR in which he threatened to shoot them. Even more disturbing, Weissinger had already been known to linger around the front of the CAIR office.

Apparently, Weissinger could have made good on his threats as well. After police went to arrest him for his threats, they found he possessed an illegal assault rifle. (In at least one of his voicemails, Weissinger insisted that he had enough guns and ammo to come and “kill all of you.” He wasn’t kidding.)

In many ways, Weissinger’s story bears a striking resemblance to that of the right-wing terrorist who went on a mass shooting at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood that same year. Like Weissinger, the man charged with the crime gave verbatim right-wing talking points as justification for his murder spree. Also like Weissinger, he had plenty of guns and ammo to make his threats turn into a massacre.

Weissinger pled guilty to hate crime allegations, making a criminal threat, and possession of a illegal assault rifle. At his sentencing hearing, his lawyer tried to diminish his culpibility by suggesting Fox News had whipped him up into a hate-fueled fury and alcohol had lowered his judgment.

“He barks when he’s drunk,” Malowney told a judge during the Tuesday sentencing hearing, as quoted by KFMB. “He was reeling from depression and anxiety.”

Between Fox News, Donald Trump, and other conservative politicians, the most fanatical right-wing extremists have plenty of material to stoke their paranoid racial and social anxieties. In at least one analysis, Fox News was found to lie to its audience on a consistent basis — over 50 percent of statements made by Fox News pundits were found to be blatantly false — and many of those lies center around stereotypes of groups conservatives hate. Fox has always been a network built by and for conservatives, but increasingly, it has become a gross manufacturer of smears against minorities meant to confirm pre-conceived biases of its old, white audience.

The results of all this hate-mongering is as disturbing as it is clear: Instances of hate crimes, particularly against Muslims, have skyrocketed. Mosques and other Muslim owned buildings are being vandalized. Many are being burned to the ground in a national outbreak of arson cases.

And if there is any question as to who is stoking these acts, just listen to the right-wing terrorists themselves. They’ll tell you. Weissinger has told you. “Fox News made me do it.”

Feature image via Fox News screengrab