Fox Crossed The Line With Elliot Rodger Coverage

Of the few things that seem clear in the aftermath of Friday's grisly shooting in Isla Vista, California, one looms large — based on his own videos, and a sprawling manifesto written before the attack, Elliot Rodger hated women. But Fox is never shy about bold new theories, so here's one for you: Elliot Rodger was gay and struggling with it, according to Fox News. The claim was made by psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig last Saturday, on an episode of Justice with Judge Jeanine.

It's hard to know precisely why Ludwig drew this conclusion. Taken in a vacuum, without any firsthand accounts of Rodger's state of mind, this would appear a wild, needless shot in the dark, whipping up the notion that lethal violence against women is a logical follow-up to repressed homosexuality. But in context, the claim is even more inane. Rodgers left behind a raft of his own virulently misogynist writings and proclamations, and there's absolutely nothing in the material to suggest Rodger was gay. Unless you're indulging in freewheeling speculation, which is something Fox News-approved mental health professionals seem to do an awful lot of.

When I was first listening to him, I was like, ‘Oh, he’s angry with women for rejecting him.’ And then I started to have a different idea. Is this somebody who is trying to fight against his homosexual impulses? Was he angry with women because they were taking away men from him?

After all, this sort of thing is nothing new for Fox News, which has featured Dr. Keith Ablow for years (he's part of their "Fox News Medical A-Team"), their foremost culprit for these kinds of hands-off, politically-suggestive psych evaluations.

Ablow has a long and storied career of going on TV to make shocking assumptions, unbecoming of anyone with a background in mental health — he warned that watching Chaz Bono on Dancing With The Stars was "toxic" for kids; that Vice President Biden's 2012 VP debate performance showed signs of dementia or alcoholism; and most relevantly, brought video games into the Sandy Hook school shooting discussion.

With a guy like that firmly in the midst of Fox News' talking-head cadre, that a less-visible professional like Ludwig would follow his inglorious example perhaps isn't surprising. But she's at least taken one step that he might find unfamiliar — she apologized for her remarks in a Facebook post Tuesday.

I was misunderstood on @FoxNews this weekend, when I was asked to hypothesize several factors which could have triggered ‪#‎ElliotRoger‬ 's spree killing. I in NO way meant to indicate being a homosexual or having homosexual impulses is a cause for spree killing. My job on @judgejeanine was to [assess] several possible triggers for #ElliotRoger and his behavior ‪#‎peace‬ ‪#‎forequalrights‬ However, I apologize to all those who felt offended. That was never my intention.

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