Media Blame Vegas Shootings on Right: ‘Just As Deadly As Homegrown Jihadist Counterparts’
Tip for liberal journos: If you’re going to try to smear conservatives every time some homicidal nut shoots innocent people, it’s a bad idea to cite the Southern Poverty Law Center.
When Floyd Lee Corkins tried to shoot up the conservative Family Research Council in 2012, he later admitted he targeted the conservative organization because the SPLC listed the FRC as a “hate group” for it’s “anti-gay” stance on marriage. (Oh, and he brought along a big bag of Chik-fil-A sandwiches to stuff in the dead mouths of his would-be victims.)
Unfortunately, liberals aren’t blessed with the self-awareness to avoid wounding their own credibility. That’s why CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen cited – you guessed it – SPLC in an article blaming the right for the deadly cop shootings in Las Vegas. The Washington Post did as well.
This is a hobby horse for Bergen. He led the charge on the Boston Bombing anniversary by claiming that, “U.S. right wing extremists [are] more deadly than jihadists” and again on June 10 stating, “right-wing extremists have demonstrated their ability to be just as deadly as their homegrown jihadist counterparts.”
Bergan’s evidence? A study by the George Soros-funded New American Foundation, of which Bergen is a director. The study found “right-wing extremists have killed 37 people in 16 violent incidents, in the United States since the 9/11 attacks. That number is more than the 21 people killed by militants motivated by al-Qaeda's ideology in the United States in the post-9/11 era.”
Bergen condemned the media for not addressing right-wing violence more: “Despite the history of deadly violence by individuals motivated by political ideologies other than that of al Qaeda, it is jihadist violence that continues to dominate the news and the attention of policy makers.”
However, the New America study conveniently left out key things – such as the number of prevented terrorist attacks each year and the multitude of jihadist attacks that happen globally. It also avoided the day of the biggest terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Nor did it address the attacks on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi in 2012, which killed four Americans.
The Washington Post, LA Times, PolicyMic, MSNBC, and The Nation, inspired by Bergen, used the same tactic: if there’s a shooting, it must be the fault of conservatives.
The LA Times Scott Martelle cited the Anti-Defamation League’s data which found “43 separate violent incidents between domestic extremists (of all types) and law enforcement in the United States...Of these 43 incidents, fully 39 of them involved extremists sporting some sort of extreme right-wing ideology.” The ADL includes 21 acts of violence by white supremacists in their count of 39 acts by the right-wing. As ADL does not state their research methodology, it’s hard to know what cases make up their list, but since their number is close to the New America Foundation’s tally, it’s presumable that they drew from the NAF findings, which had it’s own inconsistencies and absurd presumptions on what makes a person “right-wing.” For example, the New America study lists clear examples of domestic violence as cases of right-wing terrorism because of fragmentary details of hearsay.
The Washington Post and The LA Times mentioned how the Las Vegas shooters had been part of the militia in support of rancher Cliven Bundy, yet they failed to mention that even Bundy kicked the couple off his ranch for being too “radical.”
Conservative Media Madness
And of course, what would a high-profile crime be without liberals hand-wringing over conservative media? The Washington Post went even further to suggest that conservative media was to blame for enticing conservatives to commit acts of violence. Paul Waldman wrote: “It’s long past time for prominent Conservatives and Republicans to do some introspection and ask whether they’re contributing to outbreaks of right-wing violence.” To Waldman, at least, “The most obvious component is the fetishization of firearms and the constant warnings that government will soon be coming to take your guns.” Obviously!
Later, he wrote,
To my conservative friends tempted to find outrageous things liberals have said in order to argue that both sides are equally to blame, I’d respond this way: Find me all the examples of people who shot up a church after reading books by Rachel Maddow and Paul Krugman, and then you’ll have a case.
Touché! Except for that whole SPLC –Floyd Lee Corkins thing. But never mind.
PolicyMic cited Bergen and the New America study and also blamed conservative media and politicians for inciting violence: “Certain politicians could stand to think twice before irresponsibly stoking the flames of the anti-government movement. And perhaps the next time security agencies warn about far-right extremist movements, they could be taken seriously.”
MSNBC’s Eric Dyson took the same approach on June 9 when he said on “The Ed Show”: “Right wing media and conservative politicians have drummed into the unconscious collectively of this nation, that this is not a country worthy of being led by the man who’s been chosen to lead this nation ... You must stop the constant drum beat of negativity that rolls so easily and so glibly from the tongues of conservative politicians and right-wing media.”
It’s pretty rich to talk down to conservative media for using hateful and negative language while on the network that employs Al “White Interlopers” Sharpton, but again, nobody ever accused liberals of too much self-awareness.
— Kristine Marsh is Staff Writer for MRC Culture at the Media Research Center. Follow Kristine Marsh on Twitter.