Neither the judge nor John David Weissinger, the San Diego-area man who pleaded guilty for making violent threats against the local Council on American-Islamic Relations office, were buying the argument defense attorney Michael Maloney made at Weissinger’s sentencing on Tuesday. Malowney claimed that the judge should go easy on his client because he had been heavily influenced by Fox News and alcohol when he committed a hate crime against Muslim-Americans.
According to Malowney, Weissinger phoned the CAIR office and left the message that he planned to shoot an unnamed female employee and her colleagues “after a week of watching Fox News, over and over.” Weissinger made the threatening recordings a week after the attack in Paris on the Charlie Hebdo offices.
After the female victim notified police of the threatening message, police searched Weissinger’s home and found an illegal assault rifle.
Weissinger was sentenced to a year in prison and five years probation for the illegal weapon and hate crime.
While the “Fox News Defense” is, in fact, no defense according to Judge Timothy Walsh, the case does lend more support to the idea that the media plays a large role in the spread of violent Islamophobia and irrational anxiety about Muslim-Americans.