State Rep. Todd Rutherford (D), a longtime friend of State Sen. Clementa Pinckney, the pastor of the AME church, who was murdered last night, told CNN the suspected shooter did this "because he watches things like FOX News" and hears "hate speech."
Rutherford is the Minority Leader in the South Carolina State House.
TODD RUTHERFORD, South Carolina is one of five state that does not have a hate crimes law. South Carolina is still the only state that I am aware of that still flies a Confederate flag in front of the statehouse dome. South Carolina represents and is emblematic of the problem, which is words that come from these networks that broadcast what they call news, but it's not. It's really hate speech and coded language and leads people to believe that they can walk into a church, because it's no longer a house of God, but a killing ground. It's a place they can feel free to desecrate and leave blood everywhere and that's what this young man did.
And he did so based on some ill-gotten belief, on some wrong belief that it's okay to do that. He hears that, because he watches the news and he watches things like FOX News, where they talk about things that they call news, but they're really not. They use that coded language, they use hate speech, they talk about the president as if he's not the president. They talk about church-goers as if they are really not church-goers. And that's what this young man acted on. That's why he could walk into a church and treat people like animals when they are really human beings.