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The Rise of Glenn Beck's Bizarre Media Militia

Fox News is playing an increasingly erratic and dangerous game by embracing paranoid insurrection rhetoric and conspiracy theorists.

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And it's not just Beck. Appearing on Fox News, Dick Morris recently made a wildly irresponsible comment that looks even worse in light of the Pittsburgh law-enforcement slayings: "Those crazies in Montana who say, 'We're going to kill ATF agents because the U.N.'s going to take over' -- well, they're beginning to have a case."

And it's not just Fox News. Radio nut Michael Savage recently claimed that "we have a naked Marxist for president." And high-profile conservative blogger Erick Erickson contemplated the beating of politicians: "At what point do [people] get off the couch, march down to their state legislator's house, pull him outside and beat him to a bloody pulp for being an idiot?"

Of course, the right-wingers at Free Republic are way ahead of Erickson as they fantasize about Obama's assassination: "And let's face it: all the speculation about Obama being the actual Antichrist will either be confirmed or denied if someone gets off a lucky shot at the SOB."

'Go Kill Liberals!'

I wonder if Beck knows who Jim Adkisson is? Adkisson made headlines on July 28, 2008, when he took his sawed-off 12-gauge shotgun into the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, Tenn., and, after whipping it out of a guitar case, opened fire on parishioners while a group of schoolchildren performed songs up by the altar. Adkisson killed two people and wounded several others.

Adkisson, a 58-year-old unemployed truck driver, brought 70 shotgun shells with him and assumed he'd keep killing until the police arrived on the scene and shot him dead as well. Instead, some members of the congregation were able to wrestle him to the ground and hold him for police.

When investigators went to Adkisson's home in search of a motive, as well as evidence for the pending trial, they found copies of Savage's Liberalism is a Mental Disorder, Let Freedom Ring by Sean Hannity, and The O'Reilly Factor, by Fox News' Bill O'Reilly. They also came across what was supposed to have been Adkisson's suicide note: a handwritten, four-page manifesto explaining his murderous actions.

The one-word answer for his deed? Hate. The three-word answer? He hated liberals.

The only way we can rid ourselves of this evil is kill them in the streets. Kill them where they gather. I'd like to encourage other like-minded people to do what I've done. If life ain't worth living anymore, don't just kill yourself. Do something for your Country before you go. Go Kill Liberals!

What Adkisson especially hated about liberals ("this cancer, this pestilence") and what he hated about candidate "Osama Hussein Obama" was that they were marching America toward ruin: "Liberals are evil, they embrace the tenets of Karl Marx, they're Marxist, socialist, communists." Adkisson seethed over the way liberals were "trying to turn this country into a communist state" and couldn't comprehend why they would "embrace Marxism."

Sound familiar, Beck?

John Bohstedt was one of the church members who tackled Adkisson after the first round of gunfire began inside the sanctuary. Two months ago, Adkisson pleaded guilty to the murder charges and was sentenced to life in prison. At the hearing, Bohstedt told the Associated Press he didn't think the killer had been insane, but rather had been manipulated by anti-liberal rhetoric.

"There are a lot of people who hate liberals, and if we stir that around in the pot and on the airwaves, eventually there will be people (like Adkisson) ... who get infected by the violent rhetoric and put it into violent action," Bohstedt said.