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Did Paranoid Right-Wing Media Fuel the Pittsburgh Cop Killer’s Rage?

By Max Blumenthal, The Daily Beast. Posted April 8, 2009.

Richard Poplawski, the man who allegedly murdered three Pittsburgh cops, was clearly influenced by Fox News’s Glenn Beck and right-wing radio.

On April 6, two days after the 22-year-old Richard Poplawski allegedly murdered three police officers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a radio host named Alex Jones settled in before a microphone in his studio in Austin, Texas to do some damage control. “The mainstream media has certainly enjoyed tying me into this story,” Jones complained. “They’re attacking me and saying I’m delusional and there’s no New World Order The Second Amendment, what the country’s founded on–it’s all my fault!”

Poplawski was a neo-Nazi wannabe who railed against blacks, Jews, “Zionists,” and gun control. And like many members of the far-right fringe, he allegedly visited Jones’ Web sites and posted alarming reports by Jones’ writers on the white supremacist message board, Stormfront. (Poplawski’s posts are here, authored under the handle, “Braced For Fate.”) While Alex Jones generally avoids overt racism, he has found an eager audience on Stormfront by conjuring dark visions of an impending New World Order, claiming FEMA is secretly building a national concentration camp network, and announcing that President Barack Obama has planned mass gun seizures on his way to establishing a leftist dictatorship. “Remember, the first step in establishing a dictatorship is to disarm the citizens,” warned a March 13 commentary on Jones’ website, Prison Planet.

In the wake of Poplawski’s alleged murder spree, the killer’s friends and family members painted a portrait of a paranoid young man whose worldview was informed almost totally by the kind of conspiratorial themes entertained by Jones. Poplawski’s best friend, Edward Perkovic, who also spouted white supremacist rhetoric, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that his friend “grew angry recently over fears Obama would outlaw guns.” Poplawski’s mother remarked to police investigators that her son targeted cops “because he believed that as a result of economic collapse, the police were no longer able to protect society.”

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