84-year-old Andrew Lester was described by his grandson as radicalized and immersed in Fox News before he shot teenager Ralph Yarl.
The Kansas City Star spoke to Lester’s grandson and reported:
“But in the last five or six years or so, I feel like we’ve lost touch,” he said. “I’ve gotten older and gained my own political views, and he’s become staunchly right-wing, further down the right-wing rabbit hole as far as doing the election-denying conspiracy stuff and COVID conspiracies and disinformation, fully buying into the Fox News, OAN kind of line. I feel like it’s really further radicalized him in a lot of ways.”
Ludwig said his grandfather had been immersed in “a 24-hour news cycle of fear and paranoia.” “And then the NRA pushing the ‘stand your ground’ stuff and that you have to defend your home,” he said. “When I heard what happened, I was appalled and shocked that it transpired, but I didn’t disbelieve that it was true. The second I heard it, I was like, ‘Yeah, I could see him doing that.’”
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It is chilling that Lester had become so radicalized that his own family members could see him shooting an innocent teenager who mistakenly went to the wrong house to pick up his siblings.
The radicalization of older Americans who watch and consume conservative media is a problem that has been studied for years, but the radicalization has moved from holding political beliefs that are based on inaccurate information to actually shooting innocent people because consumption of conservative media fuels a state of fear and paranoia.
Fox News, OAN, and Newsmax make their money in the same way that the NRA sells guns, and Trump and Republicans court voters. Fear is the motivating force within the conservative movement.
Guns and a conservative media culture that feeds people nothing but fear and paranoia is a dangerous combination.
The fear for profit industry on the right is damaging the country, and getting people killed.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association