Yesterday, Media Matters hosted a panel at the National Press Club where five liberal activists discussed the use of "extremist" language by the conservative media and its allegedly violent effects. "We all need to set a tone for civil national discourse," declared Nancy M. Zirkin of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. It was a noble sentiment, though a bit ironic at an event where liberals tarred conservatives as bigots who inspire other bigots to commit acts of violence. "FOX News is really mainstreaming this sort of vigilante almost malicious rhetoric," Media Matters senior fellow Eric Boehlert said. He added that Lou Dobbs and pretty much everyone at FOX News were a "toxic group of people." "Hateful words have hateful consequences and blood will be on their hands if they don't take actions to repudiate [them]," said Clarissa Martinez De Castro of the National Council of La Raza. The Southern Poverty Law Center's Heidi Beirich agreed. "It amazes me that these people can go on TV and say whatever they want," Beirich said. No word yet on whether Beirich has heard of the First Amendment. Update: The SPLC's Heidi Beirich, and not Media Matters' Eric Boehlert, referred to "certain conservative commentators" as a "very toxic group of people". We regret the error.
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