Man, M.Z. Hemingway is on fire over the very, very different treatment the MSM gave to Sarah Palin in the wake of the Gabby Giffords shooting, versus how they’re treating the Southern Poverty Law Center in the wake of Floyd Corkins’ guilty plea. Excerpts:
The mainstream media narrative, initially, was that a right wing Tea Party supporter acting under the orders of Sarah Palin had assassinated a sitting member of Congress. Precisely none of that was true or even close to true, but it didn’t keep the media from pushing a particular narrative about it for some time. (It wasn’t the biggest religion story, per se, but see our posts here, here and here) I also wrote a post about the role that alternate realities played in the shooting and media coverage of same. The shooter was said to engage in alternate realities. But, I argued,the same might be said of the media, feverishly trying to create a world where political opponents could be blamed for the most brutal crimes imaginable even if the facts didn’t support that.
For days the media focused on the need for civility, and how this shooting was the result of conservative political rhetoric. Some media outlets suggested that campaign and battle words be avoided when talking about politics. See, a PAC associated with Sarah Palin had put out a map with races to “target” and had identified those “targets” with crosshairs. The Atlantic Wire highlighted some of The Atlantic‘s writers on the matter in a piece headlined “Did Sarah Palin’s Target Map Play Role in Giffords Shooting?”
M0llie lists many more stories from the MSM exploring the possible connection between conservative rhetoric and the Giffords shooting — this, even though it emerged that the shooter, Jared Loughner, was profoundly mentally ill, and neither Palin’s rhetoric nor anybody else’s had a thing to do with this shooting. There were even pieces (e.g., a Psychology Today essay Mollie links to) exploring the role that violent rhetoric plays in creating an atmosphere in which acts like Loughner’s take place. The media flooded the zone, in other words.
But now? Here’s Mollie:
So yesterday, Floyd Lee Corkins II pleaded guilty to three criminal counts involving his August 2012 attack on the Washington D.C. headquarters of the Family Research Council. He told the FBI that he picked his target from a “hate map“ (!) on the web site of the Southern Poverty Law Center. That’s the liberal group that is frequently used as a legitimate source in news reports (I sort of thought they jumped the shark when they identified “pick-up artists” as hate groups but this Reason archive might be worth a read for developing a tad of skepticism of their treatment by the media).
OK, so we have a real criminal who cites a real “hate map” as a key factor in his violence. How do you suppose the media treated that story?
Read Mollie’s entire entry for the answer. Her observation on how the Washington Post downplays this aspect of the story is acute.
On cultural issues, the media really, really is despicably biased. And they have no idea. None at all.