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The Colorado shooting & the media narrative

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:54 pm - July 21, 2012.
Filed under: Media Bias

Glenn Reynolds offers the BLOG COMMENT OF THE DAY:

Fascinating that a man shouting ‘Allahu akbar’ as he mows down 35 people on an army base isn’t motivated by Islam… but a guy who has the same name as hundreds of others—and says nothing as he fires—is obviously a Tea Party zealot.

And quips, “It’s all about the narrative.”  James Taranto probes this narrative a bit more deeply:

It is reasonable to interpret Ross’s hasty unsubstantiated report as an expression of hostility–bigotry–toward the Tea Party and those who share its values, which are traditional American ones. ABC’s carelessness here is in sharp contrast with the way the mainstream media treat criminal suspects who are black or Muslim. In those cases they take great pains not to perpetuate stereotypes, sometimes at the cost of withholding or obscuring relevant facts such as the physical description of a suspect who is still at large or the ideological motive for a crime.



  1. Again I ask, when will Stephanopoulos and Ross be fired?

    Comment by Richard Bell — July 21, 2012 @ 2:46 pm - July 21, 2012

  2. Brian Ross, at the very minimum, should be fired, as well as everyone else who is responsible for floating the Tea Party insinuation. Inexcusable and loathsome.

    Comment by Cinesnatch — July 21, 2012 @ 3:05 pm - July 21, 2012

  3. Again I ask, when will Stephanopoulos and Ross be fired?

    Comment by Richard Bell — July 21, 2012 @ 2:46 pm – July 21, 2012

    It’s not likely that they will be, Richard, so don’t hold your breath waiting for it to happen.
    Our fellow citizens on the left share a neanderthal tribalism that is inviolate. Standing for solid principles and values could create a rupture that causes the entire structure to crumble.
    However, if any of them did stand on on solid principles and values, they wouldn’t be leftists in the first place.
    It’s the narrative….always the narrative.
    And in spite of their retractions and ‘apologies’ (no one on the left ever delivers an earnest one), they advanced their agenda, which was, and is, their goal.

    Comment by jman1961 — July 21, 2012 @ 3:19 pm - July 21, 2012

  4. Credit where credit is due: Good for you, cinesnatch @2.

    Comment by Bastiat Fan — July 21, 2012 @ 5:38 pm - July 21, 2012

  5. It would seem Holmes is an Occudouche so I guess we can add mass murder to the things they stand for. WTG George Soros.

    Comment by TGC — July 21, 2012 @ 7:23 pm - July 21, 2012

  6. I second Bastiat Fan’s comment.

    TGC, as much as I loathe Occupy Wall Street, I am guessing most of them don’t support murder that isn’t committed against conservatives, Jews, rich people (leftist rich people excluded), the military, or a fetus. So I guess that a mass murderer is an Occupier (if that is true) isn’t needed to conclude that they support mass murder.

    Comment by Rattlesnake — July 21, 2012 @ 8:34 pm - July 21, 2012

  7. @2: Agreed. Myself, I’m wondering if this guy in Colorado (not the shooter, the Tea Party guy) has grounds for a lawsuit.

    It’s one thing for the media to make a good-faith mistake (a typo, for example) but it’s another to tag someone as a mass-murderer with no corroboration whatsoever.

    I’d like to see ABC stuck with a big, fat judgement to pay.

    There’s enough misinformation in the world as it is.

    Comment by SoCalRobert — July 21, 2012 @ 10:05 pm - July 21, 2012

  8. Taranto makes an excellent point about the media going out of its way to sidestep stereotypes for certain groups, and it’s not just for those who are “black and Muslim.” It’s also for those who are in the country illegally. Anyone who lives in a southwestern state and watches the local news has probably come to realize by now that most of the crimes reported in the area involving suspects with Hispanic names are usually committed by illegal aliens. But the press does everything it can to hide that fact or not report it most of the time.

    Comment by Kurt — July 21, 2012 @ 11:41 pm - July 21, 2012

  9. #7: SoCalRobert, The Tea Party member Jim Holmes who was misidentified arguably has a defamation case against ABC and in my opinion, George Zimmerman has a slam-dunk case worth millions against NBC (and possibly CNN & ABC as well) for intentionally smearing him as a racist. But the problem with private lawsuits is that liability costs are often built into the budgets of huge corporations as a foreseeable cost of doing business and don’t have the immediate deterrent value of high profile employees being fired. Even if Holmes sued ABC and Brian Ross individually, Ross’s attorneys’ fees & costs would be covered by ABC and the company would probably settle it on behalf of all defendants, paying the entire settlement amount itself. In my view, this would not cause any high profile ‘journalist’ to think twice before smearing the Tea Party or conservatives in general in these explosive situations.

    Brian Ross has been a journalist for almost 40 years and he has been with ABC as a national, on-air correspondent for almost 20. If ABC unceremoniously fired his ass and ended his career, this would likely NEVER happen again and it would certainly give ABC’s credibility a boost. But unfortunately, Ross’s long, ‘distinguished’ career is probably what will be used as the excuse to save him. Thus, he will suffer no punitive consequences for what he did and the reckless smears of conservatives by the MSM will continue unabated.

    Comment by Sean A — July 22, 2012 @ 12:25 am - July 22, 2012

  10. Dylan Byers of Politico had a great article this morning about Brian Ross’ misteps over the past decade. He has had some great scoops, but he has also put out stories that are blatantly false. He generally puts himself first and is so egotistical that he doesn’t care if he’s right or wrong. The Jim Holmes story is likely due to his bias against conservatives, but there is the aspect of getting a story out first, no matter the consequences.

    Comment by davinci — July 22, 2012 @ 9:23 am - July 22, 2012

  11. Vince,

    It is a great measure of your character and your inner sense of justice that has shown through in calling out the base ideology of Brian Ross. I seriously doubt he will be fired as his fellows only see his act as a “gaffe” and the reaction to it as a “tempest in a teapot.” If anything, he will probably get a larger role in commenting.

    It is a weakness of base ideology that causes the fellow ideologue to ignore the inconvenient and/or justify the unjustifiable.

    Stick to your guns with what you truly believe, but you elevate your integrity immensely when you are fair minded about calling “foul” when someone you might normally support goes off the tracks.

    In my opinion, this Holmes guy is an evil person who is greatly satisfied with his performance. If he regrets anything, it is that one of his guns apparently jammed on him. We can not try to understand evil in terms of elevated anger caused by this or that. That is what is distressing about ideologues who constantly try to dream up solutions to such out of the blue evil. Life is not risk free. Tornados strike, the lunacy of evil boils over, trees fall. Jack the Ripper, John Wayne Gacy, Richard Speck, Charles Manson, and too many others are not the products of society, but the beyond-all-reason actors who present society with the shocking perspective of what raw evil looks like.

    Comment by heliotrope — July 22, 2012 @ 11:09 am - July 22, 2012

  12. Excellent analysis. To the point and spot on.

    Of course there is one problem . . . it makes sense and doesn’t fit the narrative of today’s “main stream” media, which the majority are nothing more than Op ed reporters.

    Comment by nebraskapatroit — July 22, 2012 @ 12:24 pm - July 22, 2012

  13. Credit where credit is due

    Sorry BF, I have to LOL at that one 🙂 Not at you. You are right, the sentiments which you have paused to praise are indeed fine ones. The sincerity of the speaker, though…

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — July 22, 2012 @ 12:31 pm - July 22, 2012

  14. ILC: I like to take people at their word and ALWAYS give them the benefit of the doubt. However, if I ever have reason to re-think my “generosity of spirit” about someone and their character, it’s NO HOLDS BARRED.

    Fair enough?

    Comment by Bastiat Fan — July 22, 2012 @ 12:40 pm - July 22, 2012

  15. No problem, BF. In forming judgments about the sincerity of another, each person should put the greatest weight on his first-hand experiences.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — July 22, 2012 @ 12:56 pm - July 22, 2012

  16. #´s 7 & 9

    I agree, moreover, I think that TEA Party groups should unite and sue the the leftist media outlets for slander. Not only have criminals been erroneously tagged as a member of the TEA Party but its membership have been mischaracterized as racists, extremists, and rowdy. Yet police has never had to been called to quell a riot. Nobody, including opposition, has been assaulted, and at the end the meeting place was left clean. None of this can been said of OWS which the media and Democrats have called patriots.

    Comment by Roberto — July 22, 2012 @ 4:14 pm - July 22, 2012

  17. # 9

    Speaking of George Zimmerman, the MSM had help. I still can´t get the image of that Florida Congresswoman, who painted a picture of Zimmerman as a mid 19th Century ¨massa¨ looking for a runaway slave. ¨He hunted him down like dawg and killed him.¨ Then there was Rev. Al Sharpton who fueled the fire that Killing Treyvan was racially motivated. Where was the outrage of the MSM when the Black Panthers were publically offering a reward for George Zimmerman dead or alive?

    Comment by Roberto — July 22, 2012 @ 4:27 pm - July 22, 2012

  18. I wouldn’t UN-ceremoniously fire him – I would make a big song and dance about what a fucking stupid thing he had done, and THEN I would fire him and THEN I would encourage the Tea Partier to go after him once he was clear of the company and thrown on his own resources.

    Comment by perturbed — July 22, 2012 @ 5:04 pm - July 22, 2012

  19. The murderer is also a scientist. Aren’t these murders also somehow tied to scientism and atheism? (/semi-sarc)

    Comment by Jeremayakovka — July 24, 2012 @ 12:24 pm - July 24, 2012

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