As expected, after the Boston Marathon bombing, liberals immediately began speculating that right-wing individuals or groups could be to blame. After all, it was Patriots Day (and Tax Day!). At the very least they were hoping it was a white American, and not a Muslim. But, when it turned out that only part of their wish came true (white, but also Muslim), they immediately began to ask the usual questions like: “what did we do to deserve this?” After all, it could not be that anyone’s religious fanaticism alone drove them to kill innocent people. No, it had to be the boxing career of one of the bombers that caused it. After all, just think of all of the boxers who have ended up becoming Muslim terrorists (a point made by one of the commenters of this piece).
Then I started seeing stories like this from The Root, fretting over the stereotyping of Muslims when things like this happen. In it they state (emphasis added):
The Constitution’s First Amendment protection of “freedom of the press” has morphed inexplicably into a safe haven in which stereotypes, falsehoods and outdated racial codes are protected under the law — allowing poisonous lies to masquerade as fact.
Last week the media coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings led to numerous instances of misinformation being reported. In the wake of confusion following the events, there was a rush to judgment as many desperately searched for answers…
..But a blatant display of Islamophobic rhetoric and racial profiling became a benchmark of many reports, proving what some had already suspected — that xenophobia and racially tinged, anti-Muslim sentiment have become tacitly accepted byproducts of post-Sept. 11 American society. Most disturbing was that these attitudes were readily articulated by standard-bearers of credible news outlets, whose profession it is to disseminate “facts” without bias.
I could not agree more. But it made me wonder what the author of this piece, and those who feel the same way he does, think about the “rush to judgement” to blame the Tea Party, Conservatives or Republicans every time violence breaks out? It happened in the Boston Marathon and it has happened numerous times in recent years. Hear are six examples:
1. Rep. Gabby Gifford’s shooting
2. The IRS kamikaze attack
3. The Times Square Bomber
4. The Census Taker death
5. The Discovery Channel Eco-Terrorist
6. The Dr. Amy Bishop murders
Much of the initial speculation from those on the Left was that these had to be acts performed by right-wingers. It did not turn out to be the case in any of them. So the question is: is it more acceptable to stereotype, or rush to judge, Conservatives, Republicans or Tea Party members than it is other groups? Shouldn’t we be striving for less stereotyping and less rushing to judge certain groups without having all of the evidence?
Two recent, and glaring, examples of the double standard in the media are the recent shootings by Christopher Dorner and Floyd Lee Corkins (both left-wingers). Mediaite sums up the media’s approach very well:
Alleged Los Angeles shooter Christopher Jordan Dorner, influenced by left-leaning mediacoverage 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.
This is exactly my point:
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.
Why is it only when a shooter’s ideology is left-wing that the media shows restraint in linking their politics to their acts of violence? I would love to see those calling for less stereotyping to lead by example.