Megyn Kelly's attempt to reveal hypocrisy of the left on #BlackLivesMatter's violent rhetoric only reveals her own

Like all her cohorts at Fox, Kelly's forced to argue against the position she took after Gabby Giffords shooting


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Scott Eric Kaufman
September 2, 2015 4:20PM (UTC)

So eager is Fox News to pin the murder of Darren Goforth on the #BlackLivesMatter movement that the network's hosts are selectively revising their own history in order to do it -- as well as claim that the liberal media is being hypocritical by failing to condemn the movement.

The latest example is Megyn Kelly, who last night on "The Kelly Files" lit into Richard Fowler for suggesting that the Minnesota protesters who chanted "pigs in a blanket, fry them like bacon" were representative of the entire movement. "Why were so many on the left so quick to tie a few comments made by alleged Tea Party members to the entire Tea Party?" she asked, referring to the 2011 shooting of Gabby Giffords.

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Her endgame, obviously, is prove that Democrats are hypocrites for failing to condemn the #BlackLivesMatter protesters in Minnesota, but the problem is, in order to do that, she's going to have to argue that their violent rhetoric is responsible for Goforth's shooting -- which is the exact opposite of what she was arguing when Jared Loughner shot Giffords in 2011.

For example, when she grilled Sheriff Clarence Dupnik -- who was investigating the Giffords shooting -- he told her that there were "a lot of vitriolic statements made night and day on radio and TV about her support of health care, about her support of some of the other things, and some of the vitriol got...a lot of people agitated." Kelly replied that there was no evidence that Loughner was "listening to radio or watching television and was in any way inspired by what he heard or saw."

If she applied a similar standard to her current argument, she'd have to admit that there's no evidence that Goforth's alleged killer, Shannon Miles, was "listening to radio or watching television and was in any way inspired by what he heard or saw" -- and yet she and the network are now committed to linking his actions to the #BlackLivesMatters movement. Or, in her 2011 words, they're committed to "injecting speculative opinion" into the issue because they're more concerned with tarring the Democrats and liberal media as hypocrites than remaining intellectually consistent.

The problem with that technique is that it makes it very easy for ideological opponents to turn the tables and ask, "Well, were you correct in 2011 or are you correct in 2015?" Kelly -- as well as Bill O'Reilly and Brian Kilmeade -- are now arguing that violent rhetoric can cause mentally unstable people to act irrationally. Are they admitting that the Tea Party should be held accountable for Loughner shooting Giffords? Or is it only when irrational black people act on the violent rhetoric of a black-led movement that this happens?

If asked that second question, they'd vehemently deny that they're making that argument -- but in their eagerness to attack Democrats and the liberal media, they've unwittingly left themselves open to that charge.

Watch Megyn Kelly's entire interview below via Fox News.


Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at skaufman@salon.com.

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