Fox News seized on the execution style murder of New York City police officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos to condemn President Barack Obama and other African American leaders for advocating reforms to the justice system following the deaths of two unarmed black men.
The 28-year-old gunman, identified as Ismaaiyl Brinsley, may have been seeking revenge for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, whose killers were not indicted though the grand jury system. Those decisions, seen by many as an injustice, sparked protests across the country and led to massive demonstrations in New York City.
Fox argued that African American leaders inspired these protesters and created an anti-police environment that motivated Brinsley to murder the two officers.
The network played video of some agitators in New York City calling for “dead cops.” Host Tucker Carlson lamented that while the killer is ultimately responsible for the massacre, “it’s — almost hard not to point at some of the people who have been whipping up hatred in race over the last few months.” And, the network showed a super cut of Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, and Rev. Al Sharpton calling for reforms to the justice system, implying that those words led Brinsely to murder:
While pundits were divided about the grand jury’s failure to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the Michael Brown case, opinion leaders and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle were angered by the lack of indictment for Eric Garner. In fact, following that announcement on Dec. 3, Fox News repeatedly played video footage of Garner choking at the hands of Officer Daniel Pantaleo and its star contributors openly agreed with New Yorkers who took to the streets to protest the grand jury’s decision.
Fox News syndicated columnist and contributor Charles Krauthammer characterized the grand jury’s decision to not indict as “totally incomprehensible.” “I think anybody who looks at the video would think this was the wrong judgment,” Krauthammer said. “The problem is in our system, you don’t have double jeopardy,” adding, “If a grand jury makes a mistake, that the way it is.” In fact, the entire panel on Fox’s signautre nightly news show, Special Report with Bret Baier was aghast at the decision. Even Bill O’Reilly — the host of the network’s highest rated show and its most recognizable personality — noted on his program, The O’Reilly Factor, “Many analysts here at Fox News believe the Staten Island grand jury made a mistake in the Eric Garner death.”