Fox News President Roger Ailes has told his network commentators to “shut up” and “tone it down” in the wake of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. Heated political rhetoric can be found on the left and the right, Ailes said, and target imagery has been used against former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, GlobalGrind.com reports
“I told all of our guys, shut up, tone it down, make your argument intellectually,” Ailes said in a conversation with hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons that was posted on the website. “You don’t have to do it with bombast. I hope the other side does that.”
Since the Saturday shooting in Tucson that left six dead and 14 injured, debate has swirled on the Internet, cable talk shows, and traditional media about whether the harsh political tone of the past two years influenced shooter Jared Loughner. But Ailes said there is plenty of blame to go around.
“They knew about this guy,” he said. “The education system knew about this guy . . . they kicked him out of school and told him until he gets a letter saying he’s not going to kill anybody, he can’t come back to school. The police department picked him up five times and let him go, and nobody screened him for getting a weapon . . . So, by the time he decided to go to a mall and wanting to kill somebody, he was attached to nobody. He was a flag burner. He just was not attached to the tea party.”
Ailes told the co-founder of the Def Jam record label that both sides are guilty of excess.
“Apparently there was a map from one of Palin’s things that had her (Congresswoman Giffords) targeted district,” he said. “So, we looked at the Internet, and the first thing we found in 2007, the Democrat Party had a targeted map with targets on it for the Palin district. These maps have been used for years that I know of. I have two pictures of myself with a bull's-eye on my head. This is just bulls**t. This goes on . . . both sides are wrong, but they both do it.”
Simmons told the New York Daily News that he speaks to Ailes often, and the two have discussed the political tone in the country before. Simmons said he believes there will be a change in tone at Fox News.
"I think Roger's a man of integrity despite the fact I don't agree with anything that he says," Simmons told the Daily News. "I don't believe he would say one thing to me and then wink and tell his anchors another thing."
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