Fox's Smith unloads on "frightening" e-mailers

The anchor's worried about the volume of potentially violent people who e-mail Fox News about the president.

Published June 10, 2009 11:30PM (EDT)

Wednesday afternoon, Shep Smith showed — and not for the first time — why he's one of Fox News' most valuable assets. Smith is, far more than some of his colleagues, always willing to call out both ends of the political spectrum for doing wrong, and he does it well and passionately.

Smith's reaction to the shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Wednesday was one of those moments. He reminded his audience that so many people had been critical of a Department of Homeland Security report that warned about just these kinds of attacks, and defended the document. And he discussed some of the e-mails sent by Fox News viewers every day, some of which he termed "more and more frightening" for the tenor of their anti-Obama tone, especially in the wake of this attack and the murder of abortion provider George Tiller.

As someone who works on the Internet, I often get exasperated with commentators — in print, on the Web or on television — who use the venom contained in some of the mail they receive as evidence for whatever point they're trying to make. By now, anyone who's done any sort of professional writing on the Internet knows that a whole lot of disturbed people are roaming cyberspace, on all sides. But Smith hit the nail on the head with this one, and given some of what I've seen, which is almost certainly milder than what Fox gets, he probably has very good reason for his concern.

Video, via Talking Points Memo, is below.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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