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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 8, 2010
12:28 PM

CONTACT: Media Matters for America

Jess Levin (202) 772-8162
jlevin@mediamatters.org

Pelosi Death Threats Linked to Fox News

Media Matters' Burns: There are "real consequences" to network's history of violent rhetoric

WASHINGTON - April 8 - Today, after the mother of Gregory Giusti -- the man arrested for allegedly threatening Speaker Nancy Pelosi's life over health care reform -- stated that Fox News was a factor in her son's alleged actions, Media Matters for America released the following statement:

"The violent language and scare tactics we see on Fox News every day have real consequences," said Eric Burns, President of Media Matters. "This is a network that ran a 14-month campaign against health care reform, which left their viewers confused and angry. The question is, now that one of those viewers has allegedly threatened Speaker Pelosi's life over health care reform, is Fox News going to do anything about it?"

BACKGROUND

On April 7, the Los Angeles Times reported that "[s]everal federal officials say the man [Giusti] made dozens of calls to Pelosi's homes in California and Washington, D.C., and to her husband's business office. The suspect allegedly recited her home address and said that if she wanted to see it again, she should not support the healthcare overhaul bill that was recently signed." The same day, Giusti's mother, Eleanor Giusti, made the following comments to ABC's San Francisco affiliate, KGO-TV:

ELEANOR GIUSTI: Greg has -- frequently gets in with a group of people that have really radical ideas and that are not consistent with myself or the rest of the family and -- which gets him into problems. And apparently I would say this must be another one that somehow he's gotten onto either by -- I'd say Fox News or all of those that are really radical, and he -- that's where he comes from.

As Media Matters has noted, Fox News hosts and guests have repeatedly used violent rhetoric and apocalyptic language to describe health care reform and other issues. Additionally, a number of network personalities have a history of issuing inflammatory remarks about Pelosi. Most notably, Glenn Beck discussed "put[ting] poison" in Pelosi's wine:

INFLAMMATORY REMARKS ABOUT PELOSI

  • Beck talks about "put[ting] poison" in Pelosi's wine. Glenn Beck stated:

BECK: So, Speaker Pelosi, I just wanted to -- you gonna drink your wine? Are you blind? Do those eyes not work? There you -- I want you to drink it now. Drink it. Drink it. Drink it.

I really just wanted to thank you for having me over here to wine country. You know, to be invited, I thought I had to be a major Democratic donor or a longtime friend of yours, which I'm not.

By the way, I put poison in your -- no, I -- I look forward to all the policy discussions that we're supposed to have -- you know, on health care, energy reform, and the economy. [Glenn Beck, 8/6/09]

  • Cal Thomas: Pelosi's "deliberately provocative" walk across Capitol was like "the march through Skokie, Illinois, by the Nazis." Columnist Cal Thomas said, "When Nancy Pelosi went through those tea partiers, it was like -- what should we analogize this to? -- the march through Skokie, Illinois, by the Nazis. It was deliberately provocative. They wanted a reaction." [Fox News Watch, 3/27/10]
  • Fox & Friends re-enacts pro-life heckler who told Pelosi to "burn in hell." Co-host Steve Doocy played a heckler who shouted, "Nancy Pelosi, you'll burn in hell!" during a Pelosi speech while co-host Alisyn Camerota imitated Pelosi. After they re-enacted the events, co-host Peter Johnson Jr. laughed. [Fox & Friends, 10/30/09]
  • Beck asks if Pelosi was "inciting" tea partiers with House gavel -- "a big hammer." Beck asked, "If [Pelosi] was really worried about violence and she thought these people were violent, why would you grab a big hammer and walk into a sea of these people?" He later asked, "Did anyone say to Nancy Pelosi, 'You're inciting these people. You're slapping them across the face'?" [Glenn Beck, 3/25/10]
  • O'Reilly says Pelosi is pushing "Fidel Castro stuff." Bill O'Reilly stated that "Nancy Pelosi and her far-left crew want to raise the top tax rate to 45 percent. That's not capitalism, that's Fidel Castro stuff, confiscating wages that people honestly earn. [The O'Reilly Factor, 11/4/2009]
  • Beck lists Pelosi among California's "really dangerous people" that include communists, eco-terrorists, Black Panthers. Beck stated that "California has become quite a hotbed for all kinds of radicals -- communists, socialists, all in the 1960s, but they were here before -- progressives. Now, eco-terrorists, they're here. You have the Panthers formed here. Nancy Pelosi is here. A lot of really dangerous people in a state as volatile as this one, and it is on the edge." [Glenn Beck, 2/9/10]
  • O'Reilly hosts tea party activist who says it "would have been more symbolic had [Pelosi] had a whip." On The O'Reilly Factor, tea party activist Kevin Jackson characterized the walk to the Capitol by Pelosi and other members of Congress on the day the House voted for health care reform as "this very wealthy white lady leading a group of black, you know, men up to the thing with her gavel in her hand. It would have been more symbolic had she had a whip." [The O'Reilly Factor, 3/31/10]
  • Miller: Pelosi has a "sub-reptilian intellect." On The O'Reilly Factor, radio host Dennis Miller claimed that voters "did not want to turn $1.2 million over to a sub-reptilian intellect like Nancy Pelosi." After O'Reilly compared Pelosi's comments following the November 2009 elections to "George Custer at the Little Big Horn, before the arrow went through his throat," Miller added, "This woman could lose a game of Tic-Tac-Toe to an amoeba, for God's sakes. It will show you the holes in the system we have that this is the most powerful woman in the United States of America. Look at her -- she's sub-reptilian. ... Empty, vapid, nobody's home." [The O'Reilly Factor, 11/4/09]
  • Miller: "If you go in with her and the long knives ... you better be ready to play hard." Dennis Miller said of Pelosi: "There's blood in the water on her, and I hope they bring in Cousteau's kid to document it because this is going to be a beautiful demise. ... It's going to get ugly, and if you go in with her and the long knives, I would warn you -- and you're not a plastic surgeon, you better be ready to play hard, because you will get the speaker's gavel from her when you pry it from her cold, dead hand, as they say in the trade." [The O'Reilly Factor, 5/19/09]
  • Doocy thought O'Reilly asking if Pelosi is a "kook" was a "great question." On Fox & Friends, Doocy played a clip of O'Reilly asking Sarah Palin, "Do you think that [Pelosi's] a kook? ... Do you think she's actually crazy?" Doocy added, "What a great question: 'Is she a kook?' " [Fox & Friends, 1/13/10]

VIOLENT, APOCALYPIC RHETORIC

  • Palin: "Don't Retreat, Instead - RELOAD!" Palin posted a list of House Democrats who voted for health care reform with crosshairs aimed at their locations. In a March 23 tweet about her map, Palin wrote: " 'Don't Retreat, Instead -- RELOAD!' " Palin's list was criticized by conservative Elizabeth Hasselbeck, who introduced and endorsed Palin during the 2008 campaign, as helping foster a climate of violent rhetoric. Hasselbeck added that the list is "purely despicable" and "insane."
  • Beck: "Grab a torch." Asserting that politicians are addicted to spending, Beck stated: "When do we ever run those who are bankrupting our country and literally stealing our children's future out of town? Grab a torch." [Glenn Beck, 1/6/10]
  • Huckabee: Members of Congress "should be tarred and feathered as the original tea partiers would have done." As RightWingWatch.org noted, Fox News host Mike Huckabee said of members of Congress in January:

HUCKABEE: Every member of Congress knows in his gut what's in the people's interest and what's in K Street's interest. If you think your real boss is some smug guy in a corner office with his Gucci loafers up on a mahogany deck and not the folks back home, those folks who voted for you, who gave you 25 or 50 hard-earned bucks, who put up yard signs and made calls for you, you deserve to lose. Shame on you, you shouldn't just be fired, you should be tarred and feathered as the original tea partiers would have done. That's my view and I welcome yours. [Fox News' Huckabee, 1/25/10]

  • Stossel said he has "Barney Frank in effigy" hanging above his sofa. In a February 3 interview with New York magazine, when Fox Business host John Stossel was asked, "What's hanging above your sofa?" he responded: "Barney Frank in effigy." [New York, 2/3/10]
  • Morris: "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." During a long conspiracy theory about a "super-national authority" that will oversee U.S. financial institutions, Fox News contributor Dick Morris asserted that because President Obama's policies are "internationalist ... [t]hose 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]
  • Beck portrays Obama, Democrats as vampires, suggests "driv[ing] a stake through the heart of the bloodsuckers." Beck aired a graphic portraying Obama and Democrats as vampires and said, "The government is full of vampires, and they are trying to suck the lifeblood out of the economy." Beck then suggested "driv[ing] a stake through the heart of the bloodsuckers." [Glenn Beck, 3/30/09]
  • Beck: "To the day I die, I am going to be a progressive hunter." Telling his listeners that they "are going to learn so much on Friday," Beck compared himself to "Israeli Nazi hunters" and commented, "I'm going to find these big progressives and, to the day I die, I'm going to be a progressive hunter." He added:

BECK: I'm going to find these people that have done this to our -- you know, to our country, and expose them. I don't care where -- I don't care if they're in nursing homes. I'm going to expose what they have done and make sure that the people understand, because our Constitution, our republic -- if it survives -- it will only survive because the people are waking up and through the grace of God, because we are that close to losing our republic. [Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program, 1/20/10]

  • Beck: "This is the end of prosperity in America forever ... the end of America as you know it." Telling his audience, "You must not allow this to pass," Beck stated in November 2009 that "they're going to get passed that 60-vote barrier. And they'll get there by people like [Sen.] Joe Lieberman, who's a reasonable guy and has good intent. You'll get passed it by people like that, who say, you know what? Look, we got to be reasonable; we have to have a debate. And then Harry Reid will go for the 51 count and he'll pass this thing. And it will be a nail in the coffin of America." Beck added: "You must -- must get on the phone in your districts. You must wake everybody up you know. This is the end of prosperity in America forever if this bill passes. This is the end of America as you know it." [Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program, 11/19/09]
  • Beck: "[T]he fundamental transformation of America is complete." Beck also said: "Not only are they doing health care, but they are doing education in this same bill. Education and health care." He added: "It is overwhelming the system. And I'm telling you, if this bill passes -- health care and education all in one bill -- if this passes, the fundamental transformation of America is complete. There's no going back from this point. It must not pass." [The Glenn Beck Program, 3/15/10]
  • Beck: "If you can be deemed someone who maybe shouldn't have a baby, they can have their people come in." Beck said on his Fox News show: "You know and I know in this 2,300-page bill that includes education, the control that this government has is endless. They will -- if this passes, they will control every aspect of your life." Beck further said: "They will be able to -- there is places in here that if you can be deemed someone who maybe shouldn't have a baby, they can have their people come in. The government is in our homes on this." [Glenn Beck, 3/16/10]
  • Beck: We lose "the Democratic Party to the socialists." On his March 19 Fox News program, Beck stated: "If this passes, I think it makes the election of people like Lindsey Graham, who are the compromise with big government, darn near impossible, because you can't tone this one down. You've got to pull this back by strong constitutionalists. Don't we -- if this passes, don't we lose, really, the Democratic Party to the socialists? And the Republican Party either has to be, you know, real federalists, real people that understand controlled power, or you are going to have a third party?" [Glenn Beck, 3/19/10]
  • Moore: "This is a dark day for America if we pass this bill." Discussing the market reaction to passing the health bill, The Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore said on Fox News: "I think personally -- I think that the markets have always thought for the last year and a half that eventually this day would come. And I think, by the way, this is a dark day for America if we pass this bill." [America's News HQ, 3/21/10]
  • Cal Thomas claimed health reform "is an outrage" and "a sham"; "[e]uthanasia is coming." On Fox News' America's News HQ, Thomas said the health bill is "a triumph of the humanistic, atheistic philosophy. Instead of being endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, those rights are going to be taken away by bureaucrats who will decide whether you get a hip replacement or a heart bypass, based on your age and your ability to pay more taxes." He continued:

THOMAS: It is an outrage. It is a sham. Euthanasia is coming. You can call them death panels. That's exactly what they're going to be. We are going to really be sorry for this, but, unfortunately, when the guy in the white robe comes to give us our little pill, as President Obama told ABC, the 100-year-old woman who wants to live must get in order to make it equal for everybody and not to spend so much, it will be too late. [America's News HQ, 11/21/09]

  • Hannity: "If we get nationalized health care, it's over; this is socialism." In November 2009, Sean Hannity said, "When you look at the extreme czars, and you look at Barack Obama, and you look at the Barack Obama that portrayed himself one year ago as a very different candidate, you know, why -- I feel like I have been vindicated. I was excoriated for saying he is far more radical than people know. You know, what do you see about him? Do you think he is far -- do you think he's a socialist? Do you think he's -- because I think this is -- if we get nationalized health care, it's over. This is socialism, and that's a kind word." [Fox News' Hannity, http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/200911020054 blocked::http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/200911020054">11/2/09]
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Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.



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