When Crazed Shooters Can’t Be Linked To The Tea Party, Media Displays Admirable Restraint

gun in faceAlleged Los Angeles shooter Christopher Jordan Dorner, influenced by left-leaning media coverage of gun crime in the wake of the Newtown shootings, has virtually paralyzed the City of Angels. Floyd Lee Corkins, a gunman incensed by anti-gay marriage bias after reading articles by the liberal advocacy group Southern Poverty Law Center, took a firearm into the Family Research Council’s headquarters with the intention of killing “as many as possible.” He hoped to smash Chick-fil-A sandwiches in the faces of as many corpses as he could. These shooters were clearly moved by left-wing media, and we should thank every benevolent force in the universe that they were. Had either shooter possessed even a tenuous link to a conservative group, a media-driven hysteria about the malevolent influence of right-wing broadcasters and commentators would be gripping the nation today. Fortunately, when a crazed shooter’s ideology is explicitly and demonstrably left-wing, the media displays admirable restraint about linking a gunman’s politics to their acts of violence.

The instinct by many high profile voices in the media to link violence to right-wing politics is not a new phenomenon, but it has enjoyed a renaissance since the tea party began to achieve political power. The broadcasters who subtly implicated former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in the 2011 attack on a Democratic congresswoman in Tucson, Arizona, is indicative of this bias. CNN host Piers Morgan exemplifies the lamentable instinct to blame conservatism for senseless violence well.

In a November, 2011, interview with Mark Kelly, Morgan said he was shocked by the “extraordinary” fact that Palin did not reach out to former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) immediately after the shooting. Kelly agreed, saying that the infamous map on Palin’s website which featured targets over a variety of congressional districts that Republicans were “targeting” in that year’s midterm elections – an infraction which sparked a national uproar about the martial imagery employed by politicians since the time of Demosthenes – was “not the right thing to do.”

The implication was clear: Palin had some influence on the crazed gunman who shot up an impromptu meeting of a Congresswoman and her constituents. Palin’s crosshairs map had become a scapegoat for prominent voices from Paul Krugman to Randi Zuckerberg. It did not take much investigation into Loughner’s background to learn that he was not especially political, and was…


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