Scott Pelley, the CBS News fixture who hosted the “CBS Evening News” from 2011 until Friday of last week, has come under fire after an on-air editorial before he left the show in which he said the shooting in Alexandria, Virginia last Wednesday was “self-inflicted.”
Now, Pelley may lose his job after the horrifying suggestion and at least one congressman is saying that Pelley should be fired from CBS and that the veteran newsman should “never be employed in the media again” after claiming the individuals who were shot on the baseball field Monday — including House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise — may have been partially responsible for their wounds.
The comments came one day after the Wednesday shooting and one day before Pelley left the “CBS Evening News” for good, according to the Media Research Center.
“It’s time to ask whether the attack on the United States Congress, yesterday, was foreseeable, predictable and, to some degree, self-inflicted,” Pelley’s editorial began.
It became clear Pelley believed the answer was in the affirmative.
“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,” Pelley said. He then pointed his finger directly at President Donald Trump.
“In February, the president tweeted that the news media were the ‘enemy of the American people,’” Pelley continued.
“Later, at a lunch for reporters, President Trump was asked whether he worried that language would incite violence. His pause indicated it had never crossed his mind. Then he said, ‘No, that doesn’t worry me.’
“As children we’re taught, ‘Words will never hurt me.’ But when you think about it, violence almost always begins with words. In ‘Twitter world,’ we’ve come to believe that our first thought is our best thought,” Pelley concluded. “It’s past time for all of us — presidents, politicians, reporters, citizens, all of us — to pause to think again.”
The irony of that line — blaming the president for an attack on Republicans in spite of the media’s rhetoric against both the president and Republicans — and then saying it was time “to pause and think again” — was apparently lost on Pelley.
Pressure to dismiss Pelley is growing. Rep. Tom Reed, a New York Republican, issued a statement that said Pelley should be dismissed.
“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,” Rep. Reed’s statement read, according to the Washington Examiner.
“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.”
To imply that the Republicans deserved what happened on that ballfield in Alexandria is the height of inappropriate rhetoric and the fact that it came from a seasoned newsman with a major broadcast network is especially vile. Pelley’s reprehensible remarks are an insult to dignity and a debasement of the political atmosphere in this country. The fact that he hasn’t been fired yet — that he wasn’t fired the moment he walked off set — speaks volumes about CBS’ agenda.
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