When national tragedies that include gun violence occur, liberals and the mainstream media are very quick to implicate the Right for their “hateful rhetoric” – the recent Aurora, CO mass theater shooting and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) shootings are perfect examples of the unhinged Left’s finger pointing. But when the Family Research Council was the recent target of a politically-motivated attack, will the media and liberals condone Left-wing rhetoric? The answer: its highly unlikely.
Within hours after the terrible mass shootings in Aurora, Colorado last month, ABC News wasted no time linking the incident to the Tea Party. ABC’s smoking gun? Somebody with the shooter’s name was listed on a Colorado Tea Party website, even though it ended up being a different man.
Likewise, after the attempted assignation of Representative Gabrielle Giffords, liberal commentators almost immediately blamed the Tea Party’s “uncivil” rhetoric for inciting the violence. So, what was the evidence for “uncivil” rhetoric in that case? Sarah Palin had “targeted” Giffords’ seat in a map with little crosshairs. As it turned out, the shooter was just crazy and likely had never seen the map.
This week, a deranged gunman walked into the lobby of the Family Research Council, a Christian lobbying group in Washington D.C., and shot a security guard.
Allegedly, the gunman was carrying a Chick-fil-A bag, volunteered at a community LGBT center, and made political statements regarding the group’s positions before opening fire. Incidentally, this happened after weeks of inflammatory rhetoric directed at Chick-fil-A because of its corporate officers’ conservative social views, which like the Family Research Council’s, includes opposition to same-sex marriage.
Cue media outrage? Don’t count on it.
While Republicans across the country were expected to answer for Sarah Palin’s “crosshairs map,” nobody will ask whether Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Grey’s over-the-top “hate chicken” reference might have helped inspire an over-zealous, Chick-fil-A carrying, gay-rights activist to commit violence.
It’s also unlikely that the Southern Poverty Law Center will be asked to justify its listing of the Family Research Council as a “hate group.” To give you an idea of context for the SPLC’s labeling, SPLC also lists as a “hate group” the Ku Klux Klan and the New Blank Panthers, a group that just this week announced its view that white babies should be killed in nursery bombings. If figuratively targeting an elected official’s district is enough to earn a media “civility” reprimand, surely comparing a pro-traditional marriage group to the KKK is equally uncivil?
Of course, reasonable people understand that harsh rhetoric from liberals can’t be blamed for the actions of a crazy person, and I have a hunch that reporters and politicians will go out of their way to emphasize that very fact.
However, to quote National Review’s Jonah Goldberg, “you know the next time there’s the slightest, remotely exploitable tragedy or hint of violence, the same reporters, editors, producers, and politicians are going to insist that blood was spilled because of the right wing’s rhetoric.”
It’s too early to know precisely how this story will develop, but it’s not hard to imagine what the media reaction would have been had the gunman shot-up a liberal-group’s headquarters, was discovered to have been a Tea Party activist, and was carrying a map created by Sarah Palin which “targeted” the organization.
The Tea Party has already been unfairly labeled “terrorists” by Vice-President Biden and other politicians, so I cringe to imagine what the movement might be called if one of its members actually committed an act of domestic terrorism.