Fox guest Anthony Shaffer spent nearly four minutes politicizing the Las Vegas shooting with evidence-free claims that gunman Stephen Paddock had been inspired by liberals and massacred a country music audience because they were likely to be conservative. But despite Fox’s vehement opposition to politicizing tragedy, host Martha MacCallum was most receptive.
Shaffer is a “CIA-trained intel operative” but he appeared to have no more knowledge about the Las Vegas tragedy than anyone else. That did not stop him from spouting off with an obviously malicious intent to use the tragedy to demonize liberals.
First, Shaffer argued that shooter Stephen Paddock was a kind of soulmate to James Hodgkinson, who shot Rep. Steve Scalise out of some kind of liberal vendetta, on the flimsy pretext that they are the same age and are both unstable.
SHAFFER: It’s shaping up to be a very deliberate act of terror. This is beyond dispute. The question becomes motive. Everybody seems to be searching for a motive. Martha, I would argue most of the clues of the motive is right in front of us.
First off, this individual parallels in many ways, by age and by predisposition of being unstable, the shooter who attacked Congressman Scalise back in June. The Hodgkinson attack. Very similar age, they are both considered unstable and so, in many ways, after talking to both a psychological professional and other folks in law enforcement, there’s a lot of parallels there.
Then Shaffer ridiculously suggested that the crimes were similar:
SHAFFER: Let’s look at the target as well. It is a politically-selected target. I think the target being selected – and let me say this is the perception based on the available information. The perception was there was going to be a lot of pro-gun folks there, Trump supporters, at this concert. So, therefore, I believe the perception was, by the shooter, by the individual who did this, by Paddock, that this was a legitimate target of political expression.Martha, this may be something people don’t like to understand but the very reason that Hodgkinson did what he did and I believe Paddock did what he did, is because the left has now encouraged the use of violence as an extension and use of political speech. And this is what we have to be very careful about, this slippery slope. The idea here that violence can somehow become part of someone expressing themselves and I think that’s the real danger here.
But that wasn’t enough exploiting for political purposes for Shaffer:
SHAFFER: There was no violence perpetrated against Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton during the run up to this election so this has become a feature of desensitization by the left. The Kathy Griffith [sic] beheading, fake beheading the president - things like this, I think, are what’s pushing a lot of folks to believe now that somehow violence is an acceptable piece of – it’s politically justified.
Instead of challenging such vile rhetoric, MacCallum sat with a look of thoughtful consideration. She replied, “We will see. I mean, it’s an interesting theory.” She went on to suggest that Paddock might be connected to ISIS because they claimed responsibility twice.
Shaffer took that and ran with it for more politicization. He called the FBI’s dismissal that the shooting was an act of terror “insane.” He then took a swipe at Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. “For goodness sake, the special counsel’s been investigating the president’s team for a year, looking at Russia collusion. How does the FBI comes to a conclusion there’s no terror link, especially now, Martha, in light of [Paddock's] $100,000 transfer to the Philippines?”
Despite Fox’s relentless poutrage over politicizing the Las Vegas tragedy, MacCallum gave Shaffer a stamp of approval. Without questioning a word he said, she closed the interview by saying, “Thank you very much. Always good to talk to you.”
And, funny, I have not heard a peep of objection about this politicization on Fox News since.
Watch the kind of politicization that Fox News is all on board with below, from the October 3, 2017 The Story with Martha MacCallum.