Emanuel AME Church’s pastor, the Reverend Clementa Pinckney, was eulogized on Friday afternoon in Charleston. In that connection, it’s worth reflecting on one of the most bizarre and despicable responses to the June 17 mass murder of Pinckney and eight other worshippers at the hands of racist terrorist thug Dylann Storm Roof.
Bill Maher, host of HBO’s Real Time, blames this slaughter on Fox News Channel. “Well, we can never tell why someone snaps, but I bet you I can tell ya where he got his news,” Maher said on his show, referring to Roof. “I wouldn’t say we should be droning Fox News, but we did drone Anwar al-Awlaki because he inspired people. He didn’t do terrorist acts, he just inspired them.”
Townhall.com’s Guy Benson dismissed this as “toxic nonsense on stilts.” Yes, or it could be that Maher is telepathic. Indeed, unless Maher has secret access to police reports, how would he know whether Roof watched FNC, had cable, or even owned a TV? And if Roof did tune in to FNC, the only reason that the channel would have stirred his racist mania is that he might have been angry at it for being so black.
Full disclosure: Since January 2012, FNC has had me on staff as a Fox News contributor. Fox pays me money. In exchange, I very frequently walk into its studios in Manhattan and occasionally those in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Washington, D.C. I offer my opinions on current events, and Fox kindly uses cameras, wires, and satellites to beam them across America and around the world.
FNC has similar arrangements with pundits on the center-left (e.g. Juan Williams, the Reverend Jacques de Graff, and Jehmu Green) and others, like me, on the center-right (Deneen Borelli, Stacy Dash, and Jason Riley).
Indeed, in addition to numerous black guests who are not on the payroll (including dozens who have appeared on Sean Hannity’s audience shows about Ferguson, Baltimore, and others topics of particular black interest), I count at least 17 other black people who are paid reporters, anchors, or contributors at Fox News Channel and the Fox Business Network: Deneen Borelli, Kevin Corke (often reporting from the White House), Stacey Dash, Reverend Jacques De Graff, Harris Faulkner, Jehmu Green, Lauren Green, Santita Jackson, Angela McGlowan, Arthel Neville, Charles Payne, Jason Riley, David Webb, Rod Wheeler, Juan Williams, Ted Williams, and Kelly Wright.
It would be fascinating to learn from Maher how paying all these black folks and putting our faces and ideas on U.S. and international TV screens fuels homicidal, white-supremacist bigotry.
Of course, rather than Fox News Channel, maybe Dylan Storm Roof simply listens to voices inside his head. And so, perhaps, does Bill Maher.
— Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.