Since the latest mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, right-wing media commentators have been falling over themselves to deflect any responsibility for the tragedies, away from the president.
On Sunday night’s Media Buzz, host Howard Kurtz decried the media’s reaction to the shootings, saying that it was unfair to place the blame on president Trump.
“We just heard Beto O’Rourke saying on CNN that president Trump actually encouraged this sort of thing, with what he said after Charlottesville. And I knew this was coming. It’s the pattern after every shooting. Often it’s about gun control.
“I understand that the president’s actions and verbiage are going to be a part of this debate – but to suggest that he’s responsible, that he’s encouraging, that he’s condoning the actions of a crazed gunman, seems to me to be horribly unfair on the media’s part. Politicians can do it, they’re running for office. But should the media tolerate this?”
Has the media gone a little over the top in their accusations that Trump is to blame? Yes, and no. Yes, he shares a responsibility through the divisive language he has used, especially in regard to immigration. Is he directly responsible? Certainly not. He didn’t pick up a gun himself and pull the trigger. But his language when speaking of illegal immigrants, referring to them as criminals, and rapists, and referring to them as an invading horde that must be stopped, certainly play a partial role.
Conservative panelist Katherine Timpf claims to disagree with the language used by the president regarding immigration, but also believes it’s unfair of the media to blame him.
“Unfair is the word that I would use here,” she said, “and I say this as someone who has had problems with some of the things Trump has said about immigration in the past. I certainly do not agree with Trump on immigration.”
At a recent rally Trump asked, “How do you stop these people?” To which, someone in the audience shouted, “You shoot them!” “Only in the pan handle can you get away with that!” Trump replied.
Do conservatives like Timpf and Kurtz – whom are both considered to be intelligent – actually believe that some unhinged person was not going to hear that and not act on it? Apparently so. Conservatives who support Trump don’t seem to understand this, and obviously don’t care to.
Timpf continued: “However, I’ve seen a few columns. There’s one in the Intercept basically saying the same thing Beto is saying, that Trump is responsible for this, and that’s just insane. Obviously Trump doesn’t want to see all these people murdered. Nobody wants to see something like this. They’re crazed lunatics. And if this manifesto does turn out to be from this shooter then yes, I would definitely call it domestic terrorism, and white supremacist, anti- immigrant terrorism… but to blame president Trump, that’s just – illogical, in addition to being unfair.”
Kurtz brought up the ridiculous notion that the same level of blame could be assigned to Barack Obama concerning his rhetoric against law enforcement officers after their deaths, which he added would be wrong.
“The president has already issued a statement calling this a hateful act, and a cowardly act. At the same time I feel a sense of deja vu. During the Obama administration sometimes when police officers were killed, certain conservative commentators would go on air and say ‘Obama has blood on his hands because of his anti-law enforcement policies. Well, he did not and president Trump did not.
“It’s fair to challenge his rhetoric and handling of the immigration Issue. But to suggest that he would in any way be condoning the shooting of so many innocent people is something the media needs to be really careful about.”
Whether Kurtz is aware of it or not, he’s wrong. The same level of responsibility could not be assigned to Obama. Obama had no anti-law enforcement policies. He never engaged in anti-police rhetoric; he never stated that he hated the police, or even spoke negatively of law enforcement, despite what conservatives claimed.
He never engaged in divisive language when criticizing his political opponents. He never told his Republican counterparts – especially those of color – to go back to Africa. He never publicly referred to Republican run cities as ‘rat-infested,’ or crime ridden. He never accused Republicans who criticized his policies of being un-American. He never accused his political opponents of having sympathies to terrorist organizations.
Ironically, it was Obama who Republicans told to go back to Africa, who they accused of being un-American, of having terrorist sympathies.
Timpf brought up the media’s double standard concerning the Steve Scalise shooting.
“Remember the shooting at the congressional baseball game? That guy was a Bernie supporter and nobody brought that up.”
Whether Timpf was aware of it or not, she was also wrong. It was mentioned in the media.They just never assigned blame to Bernie Sanders because he never engaged in violent rhetoric leading up to the shooting. But there were many in right-wing media who very willing to tie him to Sanders. Several of them were Fox News commentators. Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and Eric Bolling, not only blamed Bernie Sanders for inspiring Hodgkinson, but the entire left.
Since the shootings occurred, the president and some of his supporters in media have been engaging in what about isms. “What about the shootings under Obama?” They have been asking. Nobody blamed him.”
As I have previously mentioned, he was blamed not only for the rash of police deaths, but also for the rash of Islamic terror attacks at home and abroad, because he wouldn’t use the politically correct term when denouncing those attacks.