Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke penned an op-ed Tuesday accusing conservative media outlets like Fox News and Breitbart of sowing the “seeds of terror” that result in political violence such as the El Paso mass shooting.
In a piece for CNN, the former congressman and El Paso native wrote that the “white terrorist” who allegedly sought to kill Hispanics at a local Walmart and gunned down 22 people last weekend “followed a path of vile inspiration that reaches from the darkest chapters of our history and runs directly to the White House today.”
“The seeds of terror we saw that August day are transmitted day and night on Fox News, the most watched cable news channel in the country,” Mr. O’Rourke claimed. “They are amplified by right-wing websites like Breitbart, and in messages forced onto local news broadcasts by Sinclair Media. They metastasize on Facebook. And they filter up from grotesque online havens for white supremacists who preach intolerance and worship violence.
“Every media outlet that covers Trump’s rallies uncritically is serving dangerous ends. This language of fear and intimidation is not, as some would have it, simply political theater; it actually changes our behavior,” the former congressman continued. “Right before a terrorist came to our community to kill 22 innocent people, police believe he wrote a manifesto that used the President’s language of ‘invasion.’ The President used the word ‘invasion’ to describe immigration in over 2,000 ads on Facebook.”
Mr. O’Rourke went on to explain that if elected he would push for “common-sense” gun-control policies, such as universal background checks, red flag laws, a ban on “assault weapons, and creating a “system of federal licensing requirements.”
“In this great democracy, the power still rests with the people,” he wrote. “And it is on all of us, individually and through the institutions of the press and Congress, to decide what this country will stand for at this defining moment of truth.”
Mr. O’Rourke, a long-shot candidate who is currently polling at 2%, according to the Real Clear Politics national average, has repeatedly called Mr. Trump a racist and a white nationalist. Last week, he claimed that white men like the El Paso shooter are “motivated by the kind of fear that this president traffics in.”