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Media Matters: Guns Don't Kill People, Fox News Kills People

10:15 AM, Jun 19, 2009 • By AMANDA VALAURI
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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 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, if 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 (conservative media) 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, saying that conservative TV personalities could light a fuse, and "when people get exposed to these kinds of people, like Alex Jones and Glenn Beck, when they are certainly not straight, these things can trip wire explosive responses."

"It amazes me that these people can go on TV and say whatever they want," Beirich said. One got the feeling that Beirich and her comrades, though they didn't say it, would love nothing so much as a return of the Fairness Doctrine.