STUDY: When There’s a Slaughter, the Press Loves to Blame Conservatives

On May 14, 2022 an avowed racist murdered 10 African Americans in a Buffalo grocery store. Unfortunately, the mainstream media responded in predictable fashion: They attempted to connect conservatives all over the world to an evil act by a disturbed individual. 

According to NBC’s Chuck Todd, “the chickens are coming home to roost” when it comes to white supremacy. The New York Times smeared that congressional Republicans “have stoked the beliefs that led to the killing.” CNN’s Brian Stelter said that, in regards to the killing, “you’re talking about the biggest stars on Fox News.” CBS Mornings on Wednesday connected “many conservative politicians” to the views of the racist alleged gunman. 

This is something we’ve seen again and again over the decades: An isolated loner or mentally unstable person commits violence and journalists connect it to the broader conservative movement. However, when a self-described Rachel Maddow fan attempts to kill congressional Republicans at a practice baseball game, journalists downplay the connection to the political left. 

The liberal media makes the boldest claims that conservatives cause appalling violence, and then tries to hide it by blatantly pretending they are.

Oklahoma City Bombing (1996)

Terrorists Timothy McVeigh (left) and Terry Nichols (right), detonated the bomb at Oklahoma City’s Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995. One hundred sixty eight victims were killed. These networks were joined by President Bill Clinton to denigrate the right. Time magazine called conservative talk radio an “an unindicted co-conspirator in the blast.” 

The 25th of April 1995 Today, then-co-host Bryant Gumbel attributed culpability to Rush Limbaugh, G. Gordon Liddy and Oliver North: “While no one’s suggesting that right-wing radio jocks approve of violence, the extent to which their approach fosters violence is being questioned by many observers, including the President of the United States.” 



In the South: Church Burnings (1996) 

In 1996, there was a massive wave of south-side church fires. The Washington PostWe examined them all and saw a pattern of young, isolated men on drugs, often with racist views. But that didn’t stop TimeMagazine from publishing a defamatory smear that blamed Pat Buchanan and Newt Gingrich as well as Republicans generally. In the March 18, 1996 issue, Jack E. White was the national correspondent. 

Torches being set on black churches in the South are a sign of the ugly rhetoric. [Pat]Buchanan campaign ….It is true that all conservative Republicans, Newt Gingrich through Pete Wilson, have tried to exploit white anger for political gain. They should go and see the burning ruins at New Liberty Baptist Church in Tyler. [Alabama]We wonder if the coded phrases they used encouraged arsonists.

George Tiller murdered as an abortionist (2009)

A man killed George Tiller, an abortionist in Kansas on May 31, 2009. A number of prominent pro-life organisations condemned the murder. Yet, the next day, NBC speculated that then-Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly fueled the killing with “his blunt remarks regarding abortion and Dr. Tiller.”
Then-MSNBC host Keith Olbermann proclaimed a “straight line” from O’Reilly to the shooter. 

Holocaust Memorial shooting 

James von Brunn (anti-Semite) entered Washington D.C.’s Holocaust Memorial on June 10th 2009 and shot and killed a cop. MSNBC was quick to smear talk radio hours after the incident, rather than blaming the man who had been arrested for hostage-taking, kidnapping and other criminal offenses. On that night’s Hardball, journalist Joan Walsh connected, “There is a very disturbing and disturbed element of political discourse. And I would throw in Rush Limbaugh.” 

Gabby Giffords shoot (2011)

On January 8, 2011, Jared Loughner murdered six people and injured Congresswoman Gabby Giffords (D) at a constituent meeting in Arizona. In less than an hour, The New York TimesPublication by Paul Krugman, blaming Sarah Palin & Rush Limbaugh 

“We don’t have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was. She’s been the target of violence before…. She was on Sarah Palin’s infamous ‘crosshairs’ list…. You know that Republicans will yell about the evils of partisanship whenever anyone tries to make a connection between the rhetoric of Beck, Limbaugh, etc. and the violence I fear we’re going to see in the months and years ahead.” 

Loughner was convicted of drug possession offenses in the past and held conspiracy theories regarding mind control and gold standard. Yet media outlets have tried for many years to link conservatives with the murder. 2017 The New York Times falsely wrote in an op-ed: “The link to political incitement was clear…Sarah Palin’s [PAC] circulated a map of targeted electoral districts that put Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs.” 

As NewsBusters Executive Editor Tim Graham wrote in a January 26, 2022 column: “This was deeply wrong, and it wasn’t an innocent mistake. The Times had also reported that this was false. Loughner wasn’t motivated in any way by Sarah Palin or her map. The map merely suggested that 20 Democrats who voted for Obamacare should be defeated in the next election.” 

Aurora movie theatre massacre (2012) 

James Holmes killed 12 victims at a midnight screening of a movie in theaters on July 20, 2012. Hours later, ABC’s Brian Ross appeared on Good Morning America and said, “There is a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado page on the Colorado Tea Party site as well. We were talking about his joining the Tea Party this year. Now, we don’t know if this the same Jim Holmes.” It wasn’t. 



ABC President Ben Sherwood later apologised for his comment. Ross, however, was not shown the door until 2018. Ross had misrepresented the facts in an unrelated story. 

Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue shoot (2018)

After an anti-Semitic terrorist entered a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania synagogue and murdered 11 people on October 27, 2018, CNN’s Brian Stelter brought on Bill Kristol to blame Donald Trump: “Can we talk about the fact he’s helped create an environment that made this possible?” The Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan said the killer’s target list “reads like a list of Sean Hannity’s pre-broadcast crib notes.”


To Bury the Left-Wing Connections to Violent Attacks 


What is the best way for journalists to respond when violent acts of murder are committed by people connected with left-wing celebrities or causes? They change their minds quickly. These are just a few recent examples. 

Attack on Family Research Council (2012) 

Floyd Lee Corkins entered FRC’s lobby, and shot one security guard. He chose his target from a Southern Poverty Law Center so-called “hate map.” Corkins was an LGBTQ volunteer and, according to CNN, he planned to rub Chick-fil-A sandwiches in the dying faces of staffers he expected to kill. NBC covered it once. It was not reported by the networks. 

Dallas Police shootings (2016) 

Micah Xavier Johnson attacked a Dallas police officer group on July 7, 2016. He shot and killed five of them and injured nine more. Johnson claimed he was angry about the shootings of black police officers and tried to sign up for Black Lives Matter. MSNBC’s Brian Williams the next day brought on a guest to spin that Black Lives Matter protests “have never been anti-police.” 

CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King on July 12, 2016 attempted to contain the damage: “The thing they wanted to stress most is that Black Lives Matter didn’t have anything to do with the shooting….the shooter was someone who had nothing to do with the cause and has sort of tainted the movement…” 

Baseball shooting at Congressional (2017)

James Hodgkinson a left-wing activist opened fire at the GOP congressional baseball practice on June 14, 2017. He almost killed Congressman Steve Scalise. Before the attack, in a series of letters to a local Illinois newspaper, Hodgkinson declared, “One of my favorite TV shows is Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC.” 

On ABC, CBS, and NBC, he was never mentioned as a fan of the liberal host. However, a somber Maddow addressed the killer’s fandom for her on June 14, 2017. She defensively noted, “I should tell you we went through our correspondence today as soon as we got his name, as soon as we got that detail about him. We didn’t find evidence he ever sent anything to this show or tried to contact us at all.” 



Hodgkinson’s support for Bernie Sanders was mentioned on the networks for a day then dropped.

Attack on the Capitol, murder of a Police Officer (2021). 

Noah Green drove into the Capitol and stabbed to death a Washington D.C. officer. He was a black nationalist and follower of the radical Louis Farrakhan. There were three quick mentions of Farrakhan and Green’s motive. The networks dropped the whole story three days later. 

Twenty-two pro-life groups were firebombed (2022). 

A radical pro-abortion group attacked a Madison pro-life organization on May 7, 2012. They allowed only 77 seconds. It was not possible to attribute the actions of pro-abortion. 

This is a good example of corrupt media. Any time there’s an opportunity to exploit a tragic outburst of violence, journalists jump at the opportunity to blame conservatives and Republicans. However, journalists tend to ignore connections when the killer is a Left-winger or draws inspiration from prominent liberal figures. 

Violent killers are the ones responsible for violent murderers’ actions. And unless there is direct, reliable proof connecting violence to politics, it’s time for our media to stop slandering those they disagree with as somehow part of the death and destruction. 

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