A California man was sentenced Tuesday to a year in jail and five years of probation for threatening to shoot employees of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) offices in San Diego and Washington, D.C. The lawyer for John Weissinger, 54, blamed alcohol, anxiety, depression, and Fox News coverage for his client's dangerous threats against CAIR.
According to San Diego's CBS News 8, Wessinger's lawyer attributed his threats to the Muslim advocacy group to “problems with alcohol, anxiety and depression and [having] just finished watching a week of Fox News coverage on the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris when he threatened the CAIR offices.” Weissinger's threats directly referenced the Charlie Hebdo attack as reported by NBC San Diego:
“We're waiting for you. And you know what's going to happen? One day you're going to wake up and there's going to be a big, big incident,” the voice on the recording states. The phone message was played in open court Tuesday.
“You're going to be in the news. It's going to be like Charlie Hebdo. Guess what? It's coming your way motherf--ers.”
Fox has a long history of demonizing CAIR and Muslims. In November, Fox host Sean Hannity used a Pew Research poll titled “Views of ISIS Overwhelmingly Negative” to claim that a “significant” number of Muslims support ISIS, misleadingly claiming that the poll showed hundreds of millions of ISIS sympathizers. After the Charlie Hebdo massacre, Fox News ignored Muslim condemnation of the attacks and instead telling Muslims and groups like CAIR to keep “their mouth shut when things happen.”
On numerous occasions, Fox News has likened CAIR to terrorist organizations. Fox personalities attacked the group after it condemned the December 2 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California. Frequent Fox guest Dr. Zuhdi Jasser accused the group of seeing radicalization as “sort of normal behavior” and that it “inculcates those first steps of radicalization.” In January, Megyn Kelly condemned Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and other Democrats for inviting representatives from CAIR to the State of the Union address.
Recently, CAIR has reported an increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes and according to TPM, “CAIR has faced a number of other threats in recent months, many of them in the immediate aftermath of terrorist attacks."