Fox News suggests atheism is to blame for Las Vegas shooting

Lucy Pasha-Robinson

Fox News has been widely criticised for claiming atheism was responsible for the worst mass shooting in US history.

The channel's morning show said a growing disconnect from Christianity may be to blame for Stephen Paddock's killing spree, which saw him open fire on a crowd at a country music festival from his Las Vegas hotel room.

Investigators have admitted they are finding it difficult to find a motive for the 64-year-old's attack.

But Fox and Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt suggested: "Maybe this guy heard that song, God Bless America.

"His brother said he didn’t believe in God, or didn’t have a God, or didn’t have faith in his life, so maybe this is all speculation, but that possibly could be the reason, because he knows country musicians or country music fans are normally pro-God and go to church on Sundays.

"Maybe he has a problem with that or had a problem with that."

Later, Fox host Laura Ingraham went further, claiming America had "done a lot to kick Christianity, God, to the curb in our society."

It is not the first time Fox News has been criticised in the wake of the shooting.

Brian Kilmeade, co-host of Fox & Friends, said in the wake of the attack: "Bin Laden, we knew who to hate, you saw Sandy Hook, we saw that mutant living in his basement. We don't even know enough about him to hate him yet."

Psychiatrist Michael Welner also blamed Fox rival CNN on air for the mass shooting.

"I think that CNN’s going to have to answer how they demonise gun enthusiasts and how CNN actually contributes to mass shooting. And I think that they do," he said.