Fox Dismisses Fearmongering Over Guns As Fox News Figures Fearmonger Over Guns
Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS
Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly criticized President Obama for blaming "gun rights supporters" for recent spikes in gun sales, which Obama said were motivated by fearmongering about upcoming gun violence prevention measures, but omitted the role of conservative media figures -- particularly on Fox -- in promoting the issue.
On the January 15 America Live, Kelly highlighted the following statement from President Obama in response to a question at his press conference the previous day about long lines at gun shows and gun stores in recent months:
As far as people lining up and purchasing more guns, I think that we've seen for some time now that those who oppose any common-sense gun control or gun safety measures have a pretty effective way of ginning up fear on the part of gun owners that somehow the federal government is about to take all your guns away. And there's probably an economic element to that. It obviously is good for business.
In her conversation with Fox Digital Politics Editor Chris Stirewalt, Kelly highlighted the concerns of "gun rights advocates," saying:
And in the day or so, 24 hours or so since he's made those remarks, there's been a considerable amount of pushback from gun rights supporters who say he just doesn't get it, that it's not that anybody has scared them, on their side or otherwise into believing something's going to happen that's not going to happen, it's that they're listening to the actual proposals being debated right now on Capitol Hill and they are concerned about their Second Amendment rights based on what they're hearing directly from the President and his surrogates.
Stirewalt agreed, asserting that Obama was "impugning the motives of those on the other side of this debate."
In fact, there has been a constant drumbeat in the conservative media -- particularly Fox news personalities -- of fearmongering about the issue contributing to the fears of those purchasing weapons. This sort of rhetoric has long been used by the National Rifle Association and the gun industry to spur higer firearms sales.
Fox's own Fox Nation today highlights these types of comments with the headline "Hannity Predicts Secession," embedding video of the Fox prime time host warning on his radio show, "If this pattern continues and gets worse and worse and worse, I can see at some point the states saying, 'Forget it. I don't want to be a part of this union anymore.'"
Hannity isn't alone. Fox radio host and contributor Todd Starnes has recently said that if the government decides to "confiscate our weapons" that he'll be on the first flight "back south of the Mason-Dixon line." Starnes also declared that "I think there will be a revolution" if the government tries "to confiscate our guns."
Other Fox News personalities have warned about gun confiscation -- something the Obama administration has not proposed -- while warning about a coming "civil war" and describing the country "on the verge of an explosion."
The wider conservative media has gone even further, comparing imagined gun confiscation policies from Obama to dictators like Stalin and Hitler while warning that "governments have gone tyrannical before."
When Obama spoke about people fearmongering about the issue, he didn't invent it out of whole cloth, but rather he described many of the voices appearing on the network of Kelly and Stirewalt on a daily basis.