Fox News host Bill O'Reilly confronted a South Carolina representative Thursday night after the legislator suggested "hate speech" from Fox News was in part responsible for the Charleston church shooting that left nine dead.
Democratic state Rep. Todd Rutherford said earlier in the day on CNN that "it's really hate speech and coded language" that ultimately leads to such acts of violence.
"And he did so based on some ill-gotten belief, on some wrong belief that it's okay to do that. He hears that, because he watches the news and he watches things like Fox News, where they talk about things that they call news, but they're really not," the state representative said on CNN. "They use that coded language, they use hate speech, they talk about the president as if he's not the president. They talk about church-goers as if they are really not church-goers. And that's what this young man acted on. That's why he could walk into a church and treat people like animals when they are really human beings."
O'Reilly confronted Rutherford for his remarks.
"You going to stand by that? I mean, it's disturbing. I know you're upset and I know it's an emotional day —," the Fox News host said before being interrupted.
"It is disturbing. It is disturbing to most African-Americans to watch as Fox News continues to cover stories as to whether the president is truly the president, whether he was born in this country."
O'Reilly interjected, "Okay, I don't know, anybody on this network — I don't know anyone on this network who does that. No one. And I see everything here."
The Fox News host then attempted to ask Rutherford a few questions.
"Now you say that this [Dylann] Roof kid watches Fox News. Do you know that he watches Fox News?" O'Reilly asked.
"No, what I said is —," the Democratic representative responded, before being cut off.'
"No, no you said that he watches Fox News!" O'Reilly quipped back, before asking whether Rutherford was equating what Roof did in the church to the cable news-network's commentary.
Rutherford and O'Reilly then began to spar, speaking over each other.
"Mr. Rutherford, let me get a question out!" O'Reilly said. "Are you going to stand there tonight and say there that Fox News justifies brutal crimes against black Americans?"
Rutherford then denied that he had suggested that and accused O'Reilly of "inflaming the rhetoric."
"You are exactly what I'm talking about!" Rutherford said, before adding that he thought Fox News was irresponsible in their coverage of President Barack Obama.
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