I was going to put this as #5 on the “clarification” themed warm-up today, but it deserves special attention. The conservative blog’s clickbait headline is “Identity of Ashli Babbitt Killer Confirmed — Careless Capitol Police Lieutenant Is Being Protected by Democrats, Pelosi and Deep State FBI.” It’s a lie, through and through. Nothing is confirmed at all.
We get speculation on Tucker Carlson’s show [which I also will not rely upon here] from mid-June that the Babbitt family lawyer “believes” the shooter of the unarmed Capitol rioter was Lt. Mike Byrd, who earlier had been disciplined for leaving his loaded weapon in a restroom. [And Johnny Cochran believed O.J. was innocent.] Then the blog produces a transcript that indicates that Byrd was indeed the officer who left his gun. We see a transcript of testimony on the shooting in which the name of the officer involved is not mentioned. Then, today, the blog breathlessly announced that “Capitol Hill Sergeant At Arms Timothy Blodgett accidentally CONFIRMED during testimony that Lieutenant Mike Byrd killed Ashli Babbitt. He named Byrd during his testimony.” No, he didn’t. He said, “We’re in close contact. The situation where you discussed where officer Byrd was at the door when Miss Babbitt was shot. It was our sergeant at arms employee who rendered the aid to her.” That “confirms” that Blodgett believes that Byrd was at the door when Babbitt was shot. Until someone on the record says, “I saw Officer Byrd shoot her,” or “Mike Byrd told me it was he who shot Babbitt,” there is no confirmation.
Nevertheless, the Gateway Pundit then goes on with “The Democrats, Pelosi, the Deep State, dirtbag FBI Director Chris Wray and the mainstream fake-news media have all been protecting Lt. Mike Byrd. They are all protecting a cold-blooded killer and see nothing wrong with it. This is who they are.”
Maybe Byrd is the shooter. He’s black—like many people, I assumed that the shooting cop would probably turn out to be black—and if he already had a record of misconduct and recklessness, that would be two reasons why his identity has been withheld. Whoever the shooter is, “fake news media” isn’t too unfair a description considering journalists have been studiedly incurious about what would have been a major race scandal if an unarmed black woman had been shot and authorities withheld the identity of the officer involved. Then reporters would be in a race to find out who the officer was. That Byrd was the shooter is a plausible theory, but at this point it is still a theory. There had been no “confirmation.” Calling what we have so far “confirmation” is dishonest and irresponsible.
It is unethical writing like this that gives the leftward media’s dismissal of conservative stories as “conspiracy theories” cover it doesn’t deserve. The Gateway Pundit advances the cause of progressive propaganda by being helpfully untrustworthy and hysterical.
Pointer: James Hodgson