I had dinner tonight with a friend who knows Congressman Steve Scalise, the Republican from Louisiana who was critically injured in last month’s assassination attempt. He told me a story that’s personal, that almost nobody knows, but that reflects very well on Scalise’s character. It was good to hear that.
So then I came home and ran across this story from Peter Holley in the Washington Post. It’s about Bob Romanik, a talk-radio DJ in the Illinois hometown of James T. Hodgkinson, the angry left-winger who nearly killed Scalise, and who shot others. Excerpts:
The nation was shocked, but Romanik — who seems to delight in launching savage attacks on local politicians and stoking his listeners’ many frustrations about race, crime and government — certainly wasn’t. Despite being a die-hard supporter of President Trump who has perfected the art of the dire populist message, many of Romanik’s biggest fans in southern Illinois are disgruntled Democrats like Hodgkinson.
“I can’t say for sure if this Hodgkinson guy listened to me, but he probably did,” Romanik said in a recent interview. “If people would be honest about what drove Hodgkinson to the point of violence, you’d probably see a lot of people right on the same page with him all over the country. But around here, for sure.”
That’s it. That’s all they have here. The only connection between the left-wing shooter and this repulsive right-wing lunatic who mouths off on a small radio station is the speculation of the host himself.
The Washington Post built an entire story around this — a story that blames right-wing talk radio for a left-wing crackpot opening fire on a baseball field full of Republicans, because they are Republicans.
Let that sink in: the Washington Post blames right-wing talk radio for a left-winger’s assassination attempt on Republican politicians.
Donald Trump doesn’t have to encourage people to hate the media. The media are doing a good job of that on their own. “Democracy dies in darkness” — what self-regarding horses**t! How does a story like this get published? Was there no one in that newsroom who questioned the premise of the piece? How would the media react if the conservative Washington Times blamed Dylann Roof’s massacre of the black churchgoers in Charleston on Black Lives Matter?
Remember the June 2016 massacre of gay clubgoers in Orlando? Killer Omar Mateen was a radical Muslim who pledged allegiance to ISIS in a call from inside the club, where he was in the process of slaughtering dozens. The New York Times reported this on June 12, in a story that also quoted Mateen’s co-workers as saying that he often talked of killing people, and expressed hatred of blacks, Jews, gays, and women.
Three days later, the the editorial board of The New York Times blamed Republicans:
While the precise motivation for the rampage remains unclear, it is evident that Mr. Mateen was driven by hatred toward gays and lesbians. Hate crimes don’t happen in a vacuum. They occur where bigotry is allowed to fester, where minorities are vilified and where people are scapegoated for political gain. Tragically, this is the state of American politics, driven too often by Republican politicians who see prejudice as something to exploit, not extinguish.
… As the funerals are held for those who perished on Sunday, lawmakers who have actively championed discriminatory laws and policies, and those who have quietly enabled them with votes, should force themselves to read the obituaries and look at the photos. The 49 people killed in Orlando were victims of a terrorist attack. But they also need to be remembered as casualties of a society where hate has deep roots.
No wonder some leading lights in the national media class hears Donald Trump give an ordinary speech taking a few paragraphs to praise the good things about Western civilization, and declare it to really be a farrago of dog-whistling about white supremacy. Left-winger attempts mass murder of Republicans: it’s the fault of right-wing talk radio. Radical Muslim massacres gays and lesbians, and says in a phone call from the murder scene that he’s doing it for ISIS: it’s the fault of Republicans. So, I guess if you get right down to it, Steve Scalise pretty much shot himself — right, Washington Post? Better get a reporter right on that story. It shouldn’t be too hard to nail down, seeing as how you only need a single quote from somebody willing to speculate on the record.
These people are so lost in their anti-conservative bigotry that they can’t tell up from down or right from wrong.
UPDATE: Today, NYT columnist Frank Bruni asks the question that’s on everybody’s mind: “Why does Donald Trump keep dissing Jews?” Says Bruni:
Then there was an initial, strange silence from Trump and his aides about a rash of anti-Semitic vandalism and bomb threats around the country in January and February.
Isn’t anybody embarrassed over twice citing this example? As you may remember and I remember, but Frank Bruni and his editors apparently don’t remember, two people have since been arrested for these bomb threats: a black leftist journalist and a Jewish Israeli man.
Whatever is useful to sustain the narrative…