Within the past year and a half, we have had two major attacks on our political leaders – the recent bomb scare against a number of prominent Democrats by a deranged Republican Trump supporter and the shooting of Republican congressmen playing baseball by a Democrat Bernie Sanders supporter.
The media coverage of these stories tells us a lot about the partisan bias and journalistic ethics of the Fourth Estate. Before examining the coverage, we need to understand both the similarities and difference in the two events.
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While the number of people who might have been killed in both events is about the same, the bomb scare involved people higher up the political pecking order – including two past presidents. The baseball diamond shooting involved a larger number of potential targets but was limited to elected members of Congress – including a couple of senators – and onlookers.
The bomb targets also included former bureaucrats and a couple of high roller Democrat donors. In the case of the shooting, staffers and lobbyists were in the line of fire.
The most significant difference in the two events was that the bomb scare did not injure or kill anyone – neither those targeted nor any innocent bystanders. In the case of the shooting, Congressman Steve Scalise suffered a life threatening wound and was subjected to several major surgeries before returning to Congress almost a year later. Suffering less serious wounds was Scalise’s security guard, Capitol Police Officer (and true heroine) Crystal Griner, congressional aide Zach Barth and lobbyist Matt Mika.
The biggest difference between the two events was the tenor of the political dialogue and the media coverage in terms of the time and space devoted, the content of the coverage and the partisan political spin.
While it was perfunctorily noted that the shooter was a Bernie Sanders supporter, the media did not dwell on that angle with day-after-day-after-day coverage as they did in both the lead up and the follow up to the bomb scare. One might conclude that the media does not believe that gunning down Republicans is as serious as scaring Democrats – Democrats who, incidentally, were never even close to being harmed by the devices because the bombs never got close to them and the devices may not have been constructed to explode in any case.
This is not to minimize the seriousness of the bomb scare. It was not just an insane political assault on the Democrat recipients, but an attack on our very system of government. We settle our differences with ballots, not bombs and bullets – a tradition that the #NeverTrump Resistance Movement should keep in mind. The bomb scare was a dastardly deed by a deranged individual, who hopefully will suffer the full consequences of the law.
But why would it have gotten so much more media coverage than an actual shooting where public officials were wounded? And why was there soooooo much spin to place the blame for the bomb scare at the foot of Trump? It is virtually impossible to find anyone in the media who laid blame on Sanders for the shooting. Or what about the role of the left-wing media that had been telling the public repeatedly how Republicans were trying to take away social security, Medicare, Medicaid – tell the public that Republicans were racists, misogynists, xenophobes, and homophobes. Where they culpable in motivating the shooter?
It is not a matter of opinion that the media treated the actual shooting of Republican officeholders as a far less serious event than the bomb scare. One only needs to objective review the amount of time devoted to the coverage and the analysis – spin – on the basic facts.
The anti-Trump press myopically focused on the “Trump connection,” using the image of the perpetrator’s van that expressed his support for Trump and his hatred for Democrats. They repeatedly referred to the targets as individuals Trump has spoken out against, implying that creates a causal relationship.
Hmmmm. Now that I think about it, Sanders has spent a LOT of time condemning millionaires and billionaires. Should he be held partially culpable for those bombs sent to George Soros and Tom Steyer? But I digress.
One should also keep in mind that much of the press and their pundits defended the personal assaults of White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Ted Cruz as legitimate protest. That is just the left’s version of protest. Shouldn’t Congresswoman Maxine Waters be chastised for her role in promoting such confrontations? Instead, she is invited to spew here venom on MSNBC on a regular basis.
There are reasons why prominent people have guards and have their mail cleared through distribution centers. People who enter the spotlight of public notoriety naturally accept the higher risk of being physically attacked by nuts cases.
It cost the life of John Lennon and nearly the life of President Reagan. President Ford was shot at on two different occasions – by women no less. A number of congressmen were wounded on the floor of the House by shooters that took seats in the upper gallery. When President Truman was staying at Blair House during renovations to the White House, his guard was shot dead by crazies trying to get to the President. Presidents Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and Kennedy were all assassinated – and Teddy Roosevelt took a bullet and survived. Martin Luther King and Senator Robert Kennedy both died at the hands of deranged gunmen in the same year. Presidential candidate George Wallace was crippled for life by a bullet as he campaigned. Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak was shot down standing next to President Franklin Roosevelt. Even a Pope has been shot. In none of those cases, did the press blame the rhetoric of political adversaries as a motivator.
Let’s face it. The recent bomb scare would not have been such a major story had the intended recipients not been individuals long favored, promoted and politically protected by the elitist left-wing media. That should be obvious to anyone who follows the news.
Psychotic malcontents pop up every now and then. They are less the agents of political adversaries and more the victims of their own malignant minds. But at least … at least … we should be able to have our all-important news media cover the situations factually and fairly – and not have these events be just more fodder for political partisanship on the part of a press that supposedly holds truth and fairness as the cornerstones of the profession.
So, there ‘tis!