- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Rep. Tom Reed said Tuesday that outgoing “CBS Evening News” anchor Scott Pelley should never work in media again over comments he made on-air following last week’s shooting attack on Republican members of Congress.

“For CBS News’ Scott Pelley to describe the brutal shooting of Congressman Scalise as ‘self-inflicted’ was beyond the pale and further proved that the Mainstream Media has completely lost any moral compass to guide its journalistic endeavors,” the New York Republican said in a statement. “I call on all Americans to unite against this disgusting display of insensitive arrogance that I never thought I would experience in America’s media.”

In his penultimate broadcast as anchor of “CBS Evening News,” Mr. Pelleyquestioned whether Wednesday’s assassination attempt of Republicans in Alexandria, Virginia, was “foreseeable, predictable and, to some degree, self-inflicted.”

“Too many leaders and political commentators who set an example for us to follow have led us into an abyss of violent rhetoric which, it should be no surprise, has led to violence,” Mr. Pelley said Thursday. “You might think that no sane person would act on political hate speech, and you’d be right. Trouble is, there are a lot of Americans who struggle with mental illness.”

Mr. Pelley’s remarks came after a gunman opened fire at a congressional baseball practice Wednesday morning at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park, wounding House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a congressional staffer, a Tyson Foods lobbyist and two Capitol Police officers. The accused shooter, James Hodgkinson, was a supporter of Sen. Bernard Sanders and had a history of posting anti-Republican and anti-Donald Trump messages on social media. There have been no reports indicating that Mr. Hodgkinson, who died after a shootout with police, suffered from mental illness prior to the attack.

Mr. Pelley appeared to suggest that Mr. Trump’s rhetoric, specifically his calling the left-wing media “the enemy of the American people,” could have contributed to a politically violent environment.

“As children we’re taught, ‘Words will never hurt me.’ But when you think about it, violence almost always begins with words,” the CBS host said. “In ‘Twitter world,’ we’ve come to believe that our first thought is our best thought. It’s past time for all of us — presidents, politicians, reporters, citizens, all of us — to pause to think again.”

Mr. Pelley anchored his last “Evening News” broadcast Friday night before moving to “60 Minutes” full-time. In his statement, Mr. Reed opined that the host’s departure came one day too late.

Mr. Pelley was scheduled to officially end his tenure as an evening anchor the next evening but for those of us who care about human decency, the end of his time on air, came a day too late,” he said. “Mr. Pelley should be ashamed of himself for doing the despicable deed of blaming the victim. He should never be employed in the media again by any forum or entity.”

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