A Washington Post report this week managed somehow to mention the June 14 assassination attempt on GOP lawmakers without also mentioning the fact that it was an assassination attempt on GOP lawmakers.
Bear with us.
The piece is about a recent NRA ad starring pro-Second Amendment activist and Blaze personality Dana Loesch. The video features footage of recent clashes in the United States between protesters and police, and it includes several spoken lines of dialogue from Loesch.
"They use their media to assassinate real news," she says at one point. "They use their schools to teach children that their president is another Hitler. They use their movie stars and singers and comedy shows and award shows to repeat their narrative over and over again."
That commercial has, of course, drawn no small amount of criticism. But in the course of covering the controversial NRA ad, the Post's story has this amazing aside about the June 14 shooting in Alexandria, Va., which targeted Republican lawmakers as they practiced for the congressional baseball game:
If Loesch's rhetoric is an attempt to draw battles lines and stoke outrage, she's feeding into a clearly-defined narrative that exists among right-wing websites on the Internet, one that views a clash between conservatives and liberals in almost prophetic terms.
After James T. Hodgkinson opened fire on Congress members at a baseball practice in Alexandria, Va., wounding five — including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) — some far-right websites used the shooting as an opportunity to advance the sense of impending doom …
Now, it's one thing to point to how this or that event caused crazy right-wingers to become pessimistic, buy guns, can food and head for the hills. However, it seems relevant that the June 14 mass shooting specifically targeted Republicans. Curiously enough, the Post report doesn't mention this.
It also doesn't mention the fact that FBI officials say they've uncovered numerous social media posts written by the now-deceased shooter espousing "anti-Republican views," or that one witness was reportedly asked by Hodgkinson prior to the shooting, "Is this the Republican or Democrat baseball team?"
Rather, the Post article goes on to report certain right-wing groups, including Infowars.com, seized on the incident to advance a political agenda. Many rushed in the immediate aftermath of the shooting to label the gunman a "leftist," despite that details regarding his personal background had been made publicly available.
It's not good enough to be right by accident, or only because your biases turned out to be correct in one instance. We should not make definitive statements about the shooter before law enforcement officials have provided the public with definitive proof.
That said, the fact that Republicans were targeted exclusively on June 14 is certainly worth mentioning, even if it's only part of a brief aside. That the Post left this out is curious indeed.