Fox News' Contrived Outrage Over "'Cop Killer' Rapper"

Fox News has been ginning up hysteria over hip hop artist Common's appearance at a White House poetry event. The same Fox News smearing Common with claims that he “praise[d]” a “cop killer” has regularly hosted G. Gordon Liddy and employs Dick Morris and Ralph Peters, all of whom have seemingly expressed support for killing law enforcement officials or soldiers.

Fox News Regulars Promote The Merits Of Killing Law Enforcement Agents And Troops

Morris: “Those Crazies In Montana Who Say 'We're Going To Kill ATF Agents'” Are “Beginning To Have A Case.” In 2009, regular Fox News contributor Dick Morris warned that President Obama was an “internationalist” and that coordination of financial regulations would lead to a “super-national authority” that would oversee U.S. financial institutions. Morris concluded, “Those crazies in Montana who say, 'We're going to kill ATF agents because the U.N.'s going to take over' -- well, they're beginning to have a case.” [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 3/31/09]

Peters: If Captured U.S. Soldier Is A Deserter, “The Taliban Can Save Us A Lot Of Legal Hassles.” Fox News contributor Ralph Peters said of Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured by the Taliban in June 2009 and appeared in Taliban propaganda videos: “We know this private is a liar, we're not sure if he's a deserter.” Peters added that if he is a deserter, “the Taliban can save us a lot of legal hassles and legal bills.” NBC's Jim Miklaszewski subsequently reported that the Pentagon said Peters' comments “could endanger” the captured soldier. [Fox News, America's News HQ, 7/19/09; MSNBC, Morning Meeting, 7/21/09]

Liddy Repeatedly Advised Audience On How To Kill ATF Agents. During the 1990s, conservative radio host G. Gordon Liddy, who has appeared on Fox News regularly in the past, repeatedly advised his listeners on how to shoot ATF agents:

  • Liddy: “Well, if the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms comes to disarm you and they are bearing arms, resist them with arms. Go for a head shot; they're going to be wearing bulletproof vests.” [CBS News, 4/26/95, via Nexis]
  • Liddy: “Shooting Back” At ATF Agents “Is Reasonable... I Have Counseled Shooting Them In The Head.” [The Washington Post, 10/24/94, via Nexis]
  • Liddy: "If the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms insists upon a firefight, give them a firefight. Just remember, they're wearing flak jackets and you're better off shooting for the head." [Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting, July/August 1995]

Fox Gins Up “Cop Killer” Smear Of Common To Attack White House Visit

O'Reilly: “When You Get Into Areas Where The Man Is Praising Convicted Cop Killers, You've Got A Major Problem.” Bill O'Reilly discussed hip hop artist Common's White House visit and claimed that Common “has sympathized with convicted cop killers.” O'Reilly said:

O'REILLY: A man like Common targets a very select audience: young, urban, mostly African-American. He is certainly entitled as an artist to rap whatever he wants to rap, but by inviting him to the White House, the President and First Lady tacitly endorse him. And when you get into areas where the man is praising convicted cop killers, you've got a major problem. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 5/11/11]

Hannity: Common “Talks About Strapping On A Gun And Killing Cops.” While criticizing the decision to host Common at the White House, Sean Hannity claimed that Common “wrote a song praising cop killer - a cop killer. He talks about strapping a gun on and killing cops.” Hannity later said:

HANNITY: He's praising a cop killer in the lyrics. No, no -- and he's done it in other things. He's praising people that have killed cops! [Fox News, Hannity, 5/11/11, via Nexis]

Fox Contributor Palin: Common Is “Inciting Violence And Cop Killing.” During a Fox News appearance, Sarah Palin criticized the White House for hosting Common, whom she called “a rapper who would glorify a sense of racism and all those things that I've already named, with the inciting the violence and the cop killing.” She also said:

PALIN: This rapper -- we thought that we were to be united under the leader of the free world, Barack Obama, in tamping down racism and inciting violence and cop killing, certainly, and killing a former president. All those things that this rapper has glorified and really is known for, it just certainly reflects a lack of judgment on the White House's part.

And I'm saying this not a proponent of stifling any kind of free speech. I am obviously a proponent of free speech. I'm not anti-rap. In fact, like Bret Baier, I know the lyrics to “Rapper's Delight.” too. But I am saying just common decency in the White House -- wouldn't we like to see a reflection of all that is wonderful and great, a shining city on a hill that the White House is supposed to be, with events inside of that house that reflect the patriotism and the decency and the influence of America. [Fox News, On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, 5/11/11, via Nexis]

Fox Nation: “Obama Lets 'Cop Killer' Rapper Perform At White House.” Fox Nation displayed the following headline:

[Fox Nation, 5/12/11]