Are the Crazies Being Egged On?

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

The New York Times' columnist Frank Rich wonders if conservative blow-hards like Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck are stoking the flames of hatred. He doesn't go so far as to say right-wing talking heads are responsible for encouraging people like James von Brunn to go on shooting rampages, but he doesn't let them off the hook completely.

Rich notes that O'Reilly likened abortion Dr. George Tiller to the Nazis 29 times before he was murdered by an anti abortion rights zealot. One of the more even-keel Fox News personalities, Shepard Smith asked a germane question on a recent broadcast in which he said his viewer emails had become increasingly frightening. “If you’re one who believes that abortion is murder, at what point do you go out and kill someone who’s performing abortions?” Smith wondered allowed.

Maybe domestic terrorists will commit acts of violence no matter who's yammering on the tube or radio. But O'Reilly, Beck and the rest of the gang's hate-speech helps justify blood shed.