Shep Smith: Our viewers' e-mails are starting to scare me

Take a group of people who are politically conscious, add Internet access and anonymity, and elect the other party’s guy president and voila: You’ve got a perfect petri dish in which to grow your very own nutroots culture. And no, before people start whining, of course I’m not saying that everyone who fits those criteria is nutroots. Just that we’re seeing a strain of paranoia in some righty blog comments since The One took office that was formerly relegated to lefty assertions about how the Bushitler would cancel the elections and declare himself king or whatever. If that were Shep’s point, it’d be fair enough; as it is, this is his hamfisted attempt to draw a straight line between dopey “Hussein” invective and the sort of decades-long dementia displayed by the Jew-loathing nut who pulled a shotgun in the Holocaust Museum today. (And who, by the way, hated neoconservatives generally and the GOP’s last two nominees for president in particular.) I don’t know how else to read this clip except as Shep warning America that his own viewership is teeming with would-be presidential assassins. If he truly believes that, why doesn’t he quit? How can his conscience stand it?

The bonus nuance here is that this vid was cut by TPM, which is suddenly shocked, shocked to find incendiary rhetoric online notwithstanding the notoriety their fellow travelers have for trafficking in it. Doubtless the point is to prove how unhinged Fox viewers are, but surf around on CNN or MSNBC or any other news website and compare the comments there. Jake Tapper’s mentioned more than once on Twitter how even his scrupulously balanced posts at ABC attract nutjobs by the dozen from both sides. Trolls are an Internet fact of life, alas. It’s time to stop being surprised.

Jazz Shaw Jun 22, 2021 6:01 PM ET