Lawyers for accused mail-bomber Cesar Sayoc are trying to shift blame away from their client and put it onto Fox News, the most widely-watched cable news network in America, and President Donald Trump, whose words are read and heard by hundreds of millions of Americans on a daily basis. Avoiding the difficult question of why the entire U.S. public can watch Fox’s reporting and listen to the president’s words without committing violence, Sayoc’s lawyers insist that he was radicalized by both.
Sayoc, who has already plead guilty to mailing explosive devices to 13 political opponents, including foremer President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, insists that he deserves a light sentence because of the cable news network’s “propaganda.”
“Mr. Sayoc was an ardent Trump fan and, when Trump announced he was running for President, Mr. Sayoc enthusiastically supported him,” wrote his public defenders. “He began watching Fox News religiously at the gym, planning his morning workout to coincide with Fox and Friends and his evenings to dovetail with Hannity.”
Mr. Sayoc began watching Fox News religiously and following Trump supporters on social media. He became a vocal political participant on Facebook, something he had not done previously. He was not discerning of the pro-Trump information he received, and by the time of his arrest, he was “connected” to hundreds of right-wing Facebook groups. Many of these groups promoted various conspiracy theories and, more generally, the idea that Trump’s critics were dangerous, unpatriotic, and evil….They deployed provocative language to depict Democrats as murderous, terroristic, and violent…..Fox News furthered these arguments. For example, just days before Mr. Sayoc mailed his packages, Sean Hannity said on his program that a large “number of Democratic leaders [were] encouraging mob violence against their political opponents.” Hannity Transcript, FOX NEWS (Oct. 11, 2018).
Well, that last part is nothing if not absolutely accurate.
Alas, the media is quick to jump on anything they can that will demonize Fox News, President Trump, and anyone who has the gall to support him. When a left-wing nutter attacks Rand Paul or shoots up a congressional baseball game or savagely brutalizes an independent journalist, nothing can be said about the temperature of the media’s coverage of Trump. But when a right-wing psycho goes too far, the blame is not on him but on his influences. How interesting.
“The sentencing memo sends a pointed message to Fox News: A confessed domestic terrorist found comfort in your programming. His targets overlapped with the people vilified on your air. What do you have to say about this?” wrote the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple.
We imagine they would say: Yeah, it’s a defense lawyer’s desperate attempt to get leniency for his client. You’re reporting it as if it had more merit than that. Why is that?