Conservative commentator Alex Jones, a repeat Fox News guest and 9/11 conspiracy theorist, said events like the alleged shooting by Byron Williams may occur again given the anger of the country.
“You are going to have unstable people,” Jones told me Monday. “When they lose it, you are going to see more of this.”
But he defended Glenn Beck, who has spoken out dozens of times against the Tides Foundation - one of the groups Williams told investigators he was traveling to attack on July 18 when he allegedly opened fire on highway patrolmen in Oakland, Calif.
Williams, who recently spoke to Media Matters' John Hamilton, repeatedly cited Beck and Jones when discussing his conspiracy theories that informed his assassination plot.
Beck, Williams said, is “like a schoolteacher on TV.” Williams added, "... he's been breaking open some of the most hideous corruption."
Williams also told Hamilton: “Beck would never say anything about a conspiracy, would never advocate violence. He'll never do anything ... of this nature. But he'll give you every ounce of evidence that you could possibly need.”
Jones, whom Williams has said he also follows, said Beck should not be blamed for Williams' actions, despite his ongoing campaign of fear-based commentary that targeted The Tides Foundation and other groups.
“That is Glenn Beck's free speech,” Jones told me. “We don't want to shutdown everyone's speech because of one lone nut.
”This goes to a classic lie that has been retreaded that this fellow follows Glenn Beck and Alex Jones. This is a classic guilt by association tactic," Jones said. “It is just more of an attempt to imply that anyone who criticizes corruption is contributing to an atmosphere that will cause another Oklahoma City bombing.
”You have a Discovery Channel person who goes into take hostages but I don't think that means that all environmentalists are that way."
Jones said any violence that stems from angry citizens' reactions is based more on the state of the country and its leadership, not on the opinions of talk show hosts.
“This is a corrupt, out of control country. Both parties at the leadership positions are bought and paid for by special interests,” he told me. “I think it is a stretch to imply that Glenn Beck was trying to cause this. There are unstable people who go chop up their neighbor because they think there is a devil inside them. Where does this [blame] end?”
Asked if the presence of unstable people in the audience means broadcasters have a responsibility for what they say that might incite violence, he said, “it would be irresponsible to not say what you truly believe is the truth so justice be done. You have your free speech and as long as you don't direct someone to go out and commit violence, you can have your speech.”
He also said, “Glenn Beck constantly talks about non-violence,” adding, “I speak out against violence unless it is against you or yourself, self-defense.”