June 19, 2015

Fox’s choice of conservative writer Rich Lowry as an “expert” on whether or not the Charleston shooting was racist said as much about Fox as anything Lowry had to say about the shooting at a historical black church in Charleston.

Whatever you think of Lowry, it's undeniable that the guy has no credentials in either policing, crime or law. He is however, a proud member of the “Blame The Blacks for Baltimore” legion of Fox News pundits. Last month, Lowry whitesplained that if black lives really mattered to African Americans, they would clamor for tougher law enforcement:

More people need to be arrested in Baltimore, not fewer. And more need to be jailed. If black lives truly matter, Baltimore needs more and better policing and incarceration to impose order on communities where a lawless few spread mayhem and death.

Apparently, that animosity was all that was needed to qualify Lowry as an authority on the question of whether or not the Department of Justice should be investigating the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church as a hate crime. After all, when a white man shoots up a black church and, according to witnesses, said he was there “to shoot black people,” it could be a sign our president is "too black" if his DOJ opens an investigation, eh?

Fox host Martha MacCallum began her interview with Lowry by asking, “This decision by the Justice Department to begin a hate crimes investigation – is that called for at this point, do you believe?”

Lowry refused to say an investigation is warranted – even as he insisted more information is needed.

LOWRY: I’ll just caution everyone to avoid drawing large social lessons from this in the immediate aftermath when we don’t really know the facts. And in past mass shootings, that’s been the impulse. That’s what we’ve done and we’ve learned that the killer is actually a mentally disturbed person who has had an untreated serious mental illness and there hasn’t been any social lessons at all.

Now obviously, this is an unspeakably heinous act, there are tremendous historical resonances to this church but let’s get all the facts before we begin drawing enormous lessons from it.

MacCallum said that “the conclusion is being drawn” based on words the shooter supposedly said in the church, including one survivor who was supposedly told to “go tell the story of what happened,” as MacCallum put it.

That right there is a whitewash by MacCallum. As Huffington Post noted, in addition to the “shoot black people” remark, Dylann Storm Roof, the alleged killer, is “known to have sported the flags of the white supremacist Rhodesian and apartheid-era South African governments. …’You rape our women and are taking over our country and you have to go,’ Roof told his victims, according to a witness.

Funny how that never got mentioned!

“I’m sure he said hateful things,” Lowry said. “But you can say hateful things and be a completely sane, cold-blooded racist killer, which perhaps this young man is. You can also say hateful things and be a completely out-of-your-mind lunatic which it’s also possible this young man is. So we need to know more.”

“As you point out, Rich, quite appropriately I think, we don’t know,” MacCallum added. “There’s so much that we don’t know at this point so we do have to be very careful in characterizing his motives, his mental state and what was going on here. But what we do know is that this is an absolute tragedy.

Instead of thinking Roof might be a racist, we should be praying, apparently. “The very first impulse should be to pray,” Lowry advised us, “for the victims, for the families and for justice to be done in this case.”

“Well said,” MacCallum agreed.

Can you help us out?

For 18 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.