October 30, 2009

Lou Dobbs claimed on his radio show this week that the evil people who have targeted him for removal from his CNN anchor's seat are now taking shots at him and his wife in their home:

"But I want to tell you, when you talk about what they've done - they've created an atmosphere and they've been unrelenting in their propaganda," Dobbs said. "Three weeks ago this morning, a shot was fired at my house where I live. My wife was standing out and that followed weeks and weeks of threatening phone calls."

Dobbs detailed the event, the notification of law enforcement and threatening phone calls he had received after the fact.

"And, as I told the state patrol, and by the way, the New Jersey State Patrol is absolutely terrific - they responded instantly. But this shot was fired with my wife not, I don't know, 15 feet away and we had threatening phone calls that I decided not to report because I get threatening phone calls," Dobbs continued. "I now - it's become a way of life - the anger, the hate, the vitriol, but it's taken a different tone where they've threatened my wife. They've now fired a shot at my house while my wife was standing next to the car. It's become something else."

The CNN host later took a shot at the "national liberal media," which he claims has taken a side on the immigration issue and has created this sort of reckless environment.

Naturally, not only did Newsbusters sucker for this story, but so did Bill O'Reilly on his Fox News show last night, tut-tutting the incident as "a very serious matter."

The only problem: It was almost certainly a stray shot from a hunter's rifle, as Andrea Nill at ThinkProgress reported yesterday, well before O'Reilly's broadcast:

While Dobbs and his anti-immigrant supporters were quick to jump to conclusions about the motive of the shooting, Sgt. Stephen Jones confirmed to ThinkProgress this morning that the New Jersey State Police are stilling “looking at all the possibilities” and that a hunting-related accident has not been ruled out.

Sgt. Jones, a spokesperson for the New Jersey State Police, confirmed that a bullet was found which struck the siding of Dobbs’ house. However, he pointed out that Dobbs’ residence is located in a “very rural” area. “With hunting season starting up,” such incidents are “not at all uncommon,” Jones told us.

CNN had even more details:

"State Police Sgt. Steve Jones said Thursday that his department received a call from Dobbs' wife, who heard a shot and said a bullet hit her house. Jones said she had been outside her house with "an employee who worked with Dobbs" at 10:25 a.m. October 5.

Jones said a bullet struck the section of the house where the attic is but didn't penetrate the dwelling. He said the bullet fell to the ground and was recovered. Dobbs' wife saw damage to the siding, Jones said.

"The bullet was taken by our detectives and turned over to our ballistics unit for further analysis," Jones said. "At this point, all I can say is that it appears to be a long gun, not a handgun or shotgun."

..... Police aren't saying for now that the shot was fired at the house but only, as Jones said, that it struck the house. A stray shot from a long gun would not be a "totally uncommon occurrence because of the hunters and target shooters" in the region, Jones said.

Jones couldn't give his opinion on what kind of shooting this might be, and he said the incident is being investigated "further past a stray hunter's bullet" because of Dobbs' "public persona." Police have conducted interviews and patrolled the area, Jones said."

A shot fired deliberately to terrorize the Dobbses would have been fired from a distance close enough to penetrate the house siding. The fact that it fell off the siding tells you this shot was fired from very, very far away.

We take violence seriously, and any actual incident of anyone taking a shot at Dobbs, his wife, or even his home would be a terrible thing.

But crying wolf -- and especially trying to blame his critics for such an incident -- that's a whole 'nother ball game. One that invites nothing but contempt.

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