“So let’s get this straight. When a lunatic shoots up a Family Research Council office, it has nothing to do with its political opposition. When an abortionist [ Kermit Gosnell ] runs loose because public officials are too intimidated to enforce the laws that do exist, it has nothing to do with political support for abortion. But when a lunatic shoots up an abortion clinic, it’s the fault of millions of Americans who oppose abortion, and who argue peacefully for limits on the practice and better oversight of those who operate in the industry?
“Even when “police have not yet identified a clear motive for the shooting”?
“The shootings in a clinic and the deaths of two people are horrific acts that everyone with a lick of sense and humanity abhors. But what the Washington Post and pro-abortion advocates are conducting in its wake is an attack on free speech and the political process, not to mention the unconscionable smearing of millions of Americans. It’s disgusting, manipulative, exploitative, and un-American.”
—–Conservative blogger Ed Morrisey, in his post, WaPo: Let’s hold free speech guilty for the acts of a lunatic, shall we?
Yes, it’s disgusting, manipulative, exploitative, and un-American—see yesterday’s Ethics Alarms post regarding how the manipulative part works—but it is also one of the clearest and most undeniable examples of mainstream media bias and of how journalists actively adopt and advance even the most blatantly dishonest Democratic Party talking points. (To be fair, they are almost all Democrats, and most of them aren’t very bright, so they often believe this stuff).
For “the Washington Post” in Morrissey’s quote, read The New York Times, CNN, “Meet the Press” and almost every major news media source. All I want from progressives and Democrats is an admission that this slanted distortion of journalism is wrong—bad for the democracy, bad for the civic literacy of citizens, bad for society. That’s all! What I get, even from otherwise fair and rational readers of Ethics Alarms, is rationalizations and denial, aping the protests of the journalists themselves. Morrissey is a very restrained and circumspect writer, but he’s obviously angry. So am I. The point is, so should be every American regardless of political bent who cares about the truth.
Other conservative writers have been in grand form on the politicization of Robert Dear’s murder spree. Here’s the always razor-sharp James Taranto, of the Wall Street Journal:
Post hoc ergo propter hoc: On Friday a man started shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colo. By the time the suspect, Robert Dear, was in custody, he had allegedly killed a policeman and two civilians.
“Why is it the same knee-jerk Republicans freaking out about ISIS are fostering terrorism in the homeland? Recruiting and influencing loonies to do their dirty work to eliminate the evil scourge known as abortion?” rants Bob Lefsetz, “a music industry analyst and critic,” in New York’s Daily News…We’ve heard this before. And at least this time there is evidence, albeit far from conclusive, of a political motive: An anonymous “senior law enforcement official” tells the New York Times “that after Mr. Dear was arrested, he had said ‘no more baby parts’ in a rambling interview with the authorities.” But also: “The official said that Mr. Dear ‘said a lot of things’ during his interview, making it difficult for the authorities to pinpoint a specific motivation.”
…We were struck by the contrast between the left’s responses to the Paris and Colorado Springs attacks. The former brought out a display of empathy toward Muslims; the latter, of antipathy toward pro-life Americans.
Hillary Clinton: “Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.” It would be at least as true to say that pro-life Americans are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism—but instead Mrs. Clinton responded to Colorado Springs with this false choice: “We should be supporting Planned Parenthood—not attacking it.”
“I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for ISIL than some of the rhetoric that’s been coming out of here during the course of this debate [over accepting Syrian refugees],” President Obama said Nov. 17. “ISIL seeks to exploit the idea that there is a war between Islam and the West.”
Why wouldn’t a similar logic apply to the demonization of pro-life Americans in the aftermath of Colorado Springs? That’s not a rhetorical question: The logic doesn’t apply because the attacks were very different. The ones in Paris were carried out by an organization that unmistakably has religious motives and political goals. By all accounts the Colorado Springs killer was a lone nut. There is no antiabortion terrorist organization to which to recruit anyone.
Whatever the merits of his refugee policy, the president is right to reject “the idea that there is a war between Islam and the West,” although it would be fatuous to deny that that is how Islamic supremacists see the matter. To judge by the reactions to Colorado Springs, though, many on the left really do regard Americans who oppose abortion—almost all of whom do so peaceably—as their enemy.
True, Taranto only spoke of “the Left,” not the media. But they are one and the same today. Fair and reasonable progressives and Democrats are either in denial, or they don’t want to louse up a good thing for their “side.” We’re all on the same side, though; this is the key point. Institutionalizing the biased framing of facts in the news harms everyone, sooner or later.
Now here’s Jim Geraghty, in the National Review:
Let me get this straight. In the eyes of the Left… ….criticism of Planned Parenthood means something like the shooting in Colorado “was bound to happen”… …but chants where people describe police as ‘pigs’ and call for them to be ‘fried like bacon’ doesn’t lead to attacks on police… …when an event by Pamela Geller is targeted by an Islamist shooter, it is “not really about free speech; it was an exercise in bigotry and hatred” and the attempt to kill her means she has “achieved her provocative goal”… … while at the same time, investigators contend we may never know what motivated a 24-year-old Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez to kill four Marines and a sailor in an attack on Chattanooga’s U.S. Naval and Marine Reserve Center last July… … a shooting by a diagnosed schizophrenic, who believed that grammar was part of a vast, government-directed mind control effort, is characterized by the Southern Poverty law Center as having views that are the “hallmark of the far right and the militia movement” … … while the shooter who opened fire in the lobby of the Family Research Council in downtown Washington in 2012, who planned to target the Traditional Values Coalition next, does not spur any need for a broader discussion or societal lessons about the demonization of political opponents… … a California killer, who was treated by multiple therapists and already had police checking on him after posting disturbing YouTube videos, is a reflection of “sexist society” … …but there’s little reason to ask whether the Oregon shooter’s decision to target Christians reflects a broader, societal hostility to Christians, or whether it reflects his personal allegiance to demons… … When white supremacist Dylann Roof committed an act of mass murder in an African-American church, Salon declares “White America is complicit” and the Washington Post runs a column declaring, “99 percent of southern whites will never go into a church, sit down with people and then massacre them. But that 99 percent is responsible for the one who does”… … but the Roanoke shooter’s endless sense of grievance and perceptions of racism and homophobia in all of his coworkers represents him and him alone… Do I have all that right? And does that make sense to anyone? Wouldn’t Occam’s Razor suggest that those already driven by a desire or compulsion to kill other people are going to do so, and will merely latch on to whatever “reason”, justification or excuse is at hand or is most convenient? Isn’t it ridiculous to expect sane people to watch what they say and restrict what thoughts they express in order to prevent a rampage by someone with an inherently illogical, literally unreasonable, not-sane thinking process? Isn’t “don’t say what you think, because it might set off a crazy person” the most insidious form of censorship, because none of us can really know what prompts a crazy person to go on a violent rampage?
I don’t think the case can be made any more definitively. Jim Geraghty seems angry too, and why wouldn’t he be? Progressives, with the full support of the news media,are engaged in this full-on attempt to demonize and muzzle opponents of abortion emotion and employing a double standard and flawed logic—but persuasive to the average low-information voter and low-wattage thinker, aka the majority).
Yup: Geraghty, Taranto and Morrissey are all conservative pundits, so they will be discredited as biased themselves. This is the bind that an overwhelmingly biased news media lacking professional integrity places on getting the objective truth out. “Oh, come on: ignore them. They are just a right wing minority, like “Faux News.” It’s so effective. The reporting of the Robert Dear murders proves that it is also sinister and intolerable.
Everyone ought to be angry at the news media for this. Journalists should be angry at themselves, for betraying their professional ethics and their duty to the public.
Why aren’t they?