Right-wing media rush to blame “incivility” from Democrats and the media for bombs targeting Trump critics

Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

Beginning Monday, October 23, several prominent Democrats and CNN were targeted with improvised explosive devices sent to them in manila envelopes. In the face of these apparent assassination attempts against leaders of one political party and a media organization -- many of whom Trump has spent years viciously attacking -- right-wing media opted to pin the blame for the attempted bombings on their would-be victims' “incivility.”

Fox’s Sean Hannity: “We can’t, of course, forget about Congresswoman Maxine Waters repeatedly calling for Republicans to be stalked, harassed, confronted” in public.

Fox’s Laura Ingraham: “I found [it] disgusting” that “other networks” blamed Trump’s rhetoric for the attempted bombings, “yet we had Holder, … Hillary, Booker, Maxine Waters, … and Joe Biden” previously criticizing the president.

Rush Limbaugh addressed Hillary Clinton while talking about the bombs he said were “supposedly” sent to Democrats, saying, “Mrs. Clinton, it's your party, forgive me, that is encouraging this kind of thing. … Mrs. Clinton herself who said that being uncivil at this point in time is entirely proper.”

Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade said comments by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), former Attorney General Eric Holder, and Hillary Clinton “plays into” their being targeted by explosives. Later, Kilmeade also blamed Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and pop star Madonna for their rhetoric.

Fox & Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt said to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders: “I’m not saying it’s just Democrats," but “we saw what happened to you and your family in the restaurant, we have Maxine Waters that’s calling for” harassment, and “Hillary Clinton was saying that we won’t be civil.”

Newt Gingrich said that cable news had “earned” the nickname “the enemy of the people” and rhetorically asked, “The culture of [CNN’s] building is so relentlessly hostile that what are you going to call them?”

Washington Free Beacon’s Elizabeth Harrington said in a Twitter thread that “Hillary Clinton literally said there can be no civility a week ago” and that “her rhetoric is part of the problem.” Later on Fox News, Harrington doubled down on blaming Clinton for “stoking this” and said that the media also have “culpability in driving up this division, this rhetoric.”

Fox contributor and Federalist writer Mollie Hemingway: “A lot of people on the left have been calling for incivility” and “mob violence,” and “our media are not contributing to civility.”

Fox's Harris Faulkner: “Congresswoman Maxine Waters, though, called for the attacks of those people with whom you don't agree.”

Fox Business’ Charles Payne complained that a Clinton adviser “was just on TV Sunday promoting in your face incivility.”

Republican National Committee spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany misleadingly claimed that a CNN anchor endorsed a play “depicting the assassination of the president” and claimed that the network is “culpable for the rhetoric” that led to the attempted bombing spree. (The play was a production of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar that featured a Trump-resembling lead. The lesson of that work is that political violence is bad, and it’s common to base the titular role on real-life politicians.)

Ryan Saavedra also tweeted comments from four Democrats -- three of whom received bombs in the mail. Donald Trump Jr. liked the tweet, but Saavedra later deleted it.

Hollywood conservative James Woods blamed “Democrat #mob behavior of late” for false flag conspiracy theories about attempted bombings of Democrats.