First things first: We’re not about to argue that there is any excuse for Cesar Sayoc or Robert Bowers, two right-wing nutjobs who used a hodgepodge of political nonsense to justify their thirst for violence. And we’re not even going to blame the media for looking into the message boards and social media postings of these individuals, tracing the line to certain ideas on the far right, and making the connections that are there to be made. That is responsible journalism, and it’s exactly what we would expect them to do if these were left-wing villains.
But then, that’s the problem.
The media does not do these things when the perpetrator is a left-wing psycho. In fact, for the most part, the media pays as little attention to left-wing violence as it possibly can. In doing so, it creates the perception – one that they take full advantage of at times like this – that only the right is responsible for radicalizing violent actors. This certainly suits their own political agenda and gives them plenty of cause to bash President Trump and Fox News (not that they needed another reason), but it does nothing to actually bring the political temperature down in this nation. That is, after all, what they claim to want, right?
When Republican congressional candidate Rudy Peters was attacked by a leftist with a knife in September, it barely registered on network news.
When Rand Paul was sneak-attacked by his socialist neighbor last year, the whole thing was treated like a joke by mainstream news.
When Republican Shane Mekeland, a candidate for the Minnesota House of Representatives, was punched in the face by a leftist (resulting in a concussion), it did not result in op-eds in The New York Times calling on Maxine Waters and Eric Holder to retract their mob-inciting language.
The media covered the Republican congressional softball shooting last year, of course, but did they give it anywhere CLOSE to the amount of coverage they’ve given the pipe bombs? Steve Scalise nearly lost his life that day; as far as we know, no one lost so much as a fingernail courtesy of Sayoc’s actions.
This is not whataboutism. This is about telling the truth about what’s happening in America right now, and the media is abdicating their responsibility to do so. By ignoring left-wing violence (and the above examples only scratch the surface), they are cementing the very “Assault on the Right” type of thinking that leads to these horrific incidents. Similarly, they are conveying to ordinary Democrats that Trump’s supporters are insane, violent terrorists and that the president himself is loving every minute of it. That only inspires more left-wing violence.
Which, of course, the media will again ignore.