When a Fox News anchor cautions against the rising extremism of hate-driven Americans, as Shepard Smith did after the Holocaust Museum shooting, we should take note, argues Frank Rich in the New York Times. Unlike his fear-mongering colleagues, says Rich, Smith—not known for having an agenda—had "extraordinary words to hear on Fox" when he warned of the "frightening" email he has received since Barack Obama's election.
"What is this fury about?" Rich wonders. An irrational minority, "fearful of the fast-moving generational, cultural, and racial turnover Obama embodies," only grows angrier as the president's popularity rises. This rage is spilling over, and it's not just the TV and radio entertainers that are feeding this hysteria: The conservative establishment is dipping into fringe rhetoric. Such views are "toxic," and "no one, not even Fox News viewers, can say they weren’t warned," concludes Rich.