- The Washington Times - Friday, June 29, 2018

Fox News host Sean Hannity denied that he drew parallels between Thursday’s mass shooting at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis and recent comments by Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters, slamming reporters who accused him of making the comparison.

Mr. Hannity sparked the firestorm while speaking of the shooting during Thursday’s episode of his syndicated radio program.

“It’s so sad that there are so many sick, demented and evil people in this world,” Mr. Hannity said shortly after reports of the shooting first surfaced Thursday afternoon. “It really is sad. You know imagine you go to work and this is what you’re dealing with today. Some crazy person comes in — and I’m not turning this into a gun debate, I know that’s where the media will be in 30 seconds from now. That’s not it.

“I’ve been saying now for days that something horrible was going to happen because of the rhetoric,” he said. “Really Maxine? You want people to create — ‘Call your friends, get in their faces,’ and Obama said that too. ‘Get in their faces, call them out, call your friends, get protesters, follow them into restaurants and shopping malls,’ and wherever else she said.”

Ms. Waters, an outspoken critic of President Trump, days earlier said people should confront members of his administration and “tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.” Mr. Trump falsely claimed afterwards that she encouraged his supporters to be physically “harmed,” and the congresswoman responded by saying that the president had lied and that she never called for violence.

Mr. Hannity stressed during Thursday’s broadcast that he wasn’t suggesting the two events were connected “in any way.”

“Again, I want to be very, very clear here. I am not equating or comparing. I am only pointing out that I have been saying that there’s going somebody’s going to get hurt or worse here.”

Nevertheless, media critics including David Zurawik of The Baltimore Sun, the Capital Gazette’s sister paper, subsequently slammed Mr. Hannity after his comments were widely shared by Media Matters for America, a watchdog group funded by liberal megadonor George Soros.

“His inflammatory words tossed on to the bonfire of anger, pain and grief connected to these deaths matter on several levels, and they need to be immediately denounced,” Mr. Zurawik wrote. “Maybe this is just too personal today. But the hypocrisy, the dishonesty, the willingness by Hannity to try and score partisan political points on the bodies of five dead journalists feels like almost too much to bear with any amount of equanimity tonight.”

Mr. Hannity fired back through his website Thursday evening, claiming that “certain members of the media have used their selective listening to create a false narrative that fits their agenda” — an argument he supported with other excepts from his afternoon radio show.

Sean Hannity never tied today’s horrific shooting to the comments made by Representative Maxine Waters,” reads a post on the website. “Today’s event was pure evil, and no one can control someone who is intent on inflicting pain and violence.”

Jarrod W. Ramos, 38, was arrested following Thursday’s shooting and charged with five counts of first-degree murder.

“The fellow was there to kill as many people as he could kill,” Anne Arundel County Police Chief Timothy Altomare said Friday.

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