The blind eye the media largely turned to the Gosnell story is only one example of the subtle but pervasive media bias in the traditional media establishment. This isn’t a conspiracy, it’s merely a reflection of homogeneous politics. Journalists and their editors are overwhelmingly from the left of American politics, and they see the world through a center-left lens. So when a someone who claims affiliation with the pro-life movement shoots an abortionists, this is head-line news. It fits a pre-existing narrative. But when someone who claims affiliation with the pro-choice movement shoots a non-violent pro-life protester that gets much less coverage because it doesn’t fit a pre-existing narrative.
In a center-left view of American politics: the right wing is associated with violence, authoritarianism, and oppression.
So here’s another story that will get limited coverage because it doesn’t fit that mold. Anyone remember the shooting spree at the Family Research Center that wasn’t? I say “that wasn’t” because an armed security guard managed to stop the attacker (Floyd Corkins II) immediately, but the HuffPo (hat tip for going against the political grain) has some information on what the shooter’s objective was:
A security guard subdued Corkins in the lobby of the Family Research Council in August after he pointed a pistol at the man. Corkins fired three shots, and the guard was the only one wounded. Corkins, who was carrying nearly 100 rounds of ammunition and 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches, later told authorities that he had planned to kill as many people as possible and then to smear the sandwiches on their faces as a political statement.
According to the government’s case against Corkins, if he had not been defeated by the security guard he “would have almost certainly succeeded in committing a massacre of epic portions.” And smearing each corpse with a Chick-Fil-A sandwich. Why a Chick-Fil-A sandwich? Well here’s some video of Corkins being interrogated by FBI agents in which he discusses why he targeted the Family Research Center.
So, a would-be mass shooter picked the FRC by looking at the Southern Poverty Law Center‘s list of anti-gay organizations (the FRC opposes gay marriage). Now the Chick-Fil-A thing makes sense, since the attack happened around the time that some people were boycotting Chick-Fil-A because the CEO gives money to socially conservative causes that opposed gay marriage. So Corkins thought a good, pro-gay marriage response would be to kill a few dozen people and rub it in their faces, so to speak.
Does Corkins represent the pro-gay marriage side of the debate? Absolutely not. I’m not interested in trying to tar an entire half of the political spectrum with this man’s craziness. I just think it’s instructive how much the news cycle depends on pre-existing stereotypes to news coverage. And this isn’t always friendly to liberals, either. There is absolutely no doubt that if you’re a pretty, young, blonde girl who gets kidnapped you’re going to get wall-to-wall coverage, but if you’re a black girl from an inner city forget it. The center-left political lens of American journalists is, after all, also calibrated to a mostly white, college-educated cohort.
I just think it’s useful to keep in mind that violent people come from all parts of the political spectrum, and I can’t help but wonder what some of the national debate on political issues would look like if the violence of conservatism wasn’t taken as axiomatic…