In a discussion about the psychology of Las Vegas mass shooter Stephen Paddock, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Michael Welner all but called for CNN to be criminally charged with aiding and abetting the crime. It wasn’t until the end of the show that Fox News distanced itself from his comments.
Welner appeared at about 8:25 ET to discuss, as the lower third put it, what’s “INSIDE THE MIND OF A MADMAN.” It turns out, Welner thinks it’s CNN.
WELNER: Absolutely, people who are gun enthusiasts, and who are populists or nationalists in this country, are dehumanized. They’re demonized. I travel all over the United States, I don’t experience hatred. I turn on the television, and certain media, and I see these people demonized.
I think that CNN’s going to have to answer for how they demonize gun enthusiasts and how CNN actually contributes to mass shooting, and I believe that they do, but that’s a side issue.”
Nobody challenged that outrageous comment from Welner.
Instead, Brian Kilmeade gave it the stamp of approval, saying, “Fascinating,” as the interview ended.
But later, at the end of the show, about a half hour later, Kilmeade distanced the show from Welner:
KILMEADE: A short time ago, we had a contributor on, Dr. Michael Welner, who said CNN contributes to mass shootings. That’s his point of view, that is not our point of view, but he was just a guest on our show.
Yes, a guest that Fox deemed credible despite a history of promoting conservative talking points as dubious psychological theories. Think Progress has some examples:
Welner has a long history of defending conservative positions in his arm-chair diagnoses of various people. For example, he defended President Trump as the “embodiment of healthy narcissism.” He blamed the San Bernardino shooting on “the state of feminism in Muslim America,” suggesting that attack could have been “the birth of ISIS in America.”
After the Sandy Hook shooting, Welner blamed the violence on video games, telling the ladies of The View, “The major myth of this that we are all making a mistake about is to focus on guns and mental health at the bottom of this. Guns may make things worse, guns may be a contributor, some people are mentally ill and deserve help and need help but aren’t getting it — I get it — but that’s not why this is happening.” He asserted then, as he did Tuesday morning, that as long as the media creates a spectacle, it’ll inspire other shooters.
Welner offered no evidence for either his claim about gun owners being “dehumanized” nor for his allegation that CNN “contributes” to mass shootings. Even worse, neither cohost of the segment asked for any.
So part of that lunatic’s argument (sensationalizing mass carnage) is an interesting topic and the other part (gun owners are turned violent by CNN) is batsh*t crazy.