Why Is Cable Television So Afraid to Admit That Many of America's Terror Attacks Are Right-Wing?
ATLANTA - MAY 04: CNN Center in Atlanta on May 04, 2013 in Atlanta. The CNN Center is the world headquarters of CNN.
Photo Credit: photo.ua / Shutterstock.com
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In the aftermath of the deadly Las Vegas shooting rampage, which left two police officers, a shopper, and the shooters dead, one can expect all the usual talking points that follow an all too regular and familiar massacre – mental health, access to guns, the killer’s motives, and so forth. But here’s another one: the intellectual cowardice of cable news giant CNN, when it comes to reporting right-wing terrorism.
The facts and back story to Sunday’s carnage are pretty well known and have been widely reported by a multitude of online and offline news outlets.
A married couple, Jared and Amanda Miller, walked into CiCi’s Pizza, shouted, “This is a revolution,” and then shot police officers Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo as the two ate lunch. They then ran across an adjacent parking lot to a Walmart store, where they shot a shopper before retreating to the back of the store, where Amanda Miller fatally shot her husband before killing herself.
What is also known is that the suspects stripped the dead officers of their weapons and ammunition, before covering their bodies with the Revolutionary War-era Gadsden flag, which depicts a coiled snake and the words “Don’t Tread on Me” – a flag that is informally adopted by the Republican Tea Party.
When the Millers left their home to embark on their cowardly ambush, they delivered an ominous message to their neighbor Kelly Fielder. “We gotta do what we gotta do," Jered Miller told her, adding that he and his wife, Amanda, were departing for an "underground world."
Fielder told NBC News she had heard Jared Miller make anti-government statements in the past — including a desire to overthrow the government and President Obama and kill police officers — but was not alarmed by them.
It takes no degree of sophisticated insightfulness to conclude the obvious: that the Millers are right-wing extremists, identifying with Tea Party anti-government views. It’s also reported that the Millers were among those in attendance at the Cliven Bundy ranch, when right-wing extremists, egged on by Fox News, pointed assault rifles at U.S. federal agents.
But don’t expect CNN to include the prefix “right-wing” to the use of the word extremism or terrorism, for their, and the mainstream media’s, fear of the right-wing hysteria machine is ever present and always palpable. In fact, CNN refused to identify the Tea Party flag. Dan Simon of CNN went so far as to avoid the far right’s wrath that he said the killers “left behind some type of flag with some kind of insignia.” The cable network’s 24/7 ticker feed reads, “Killers had extremist views.”
No, CNN, the killers had RIGHT-WING extremist views. That is established and clearly evident. Wolf Blitzer asked a guest, “What kind of anti-government groups are associated with this type of extremism?” Again, that much is obvious. The right-wing of today’s Republican Party is in itself an anti-government group, and has been ever since Goldwater Republicans became the loudest voice in the GOP’s shrinking tent, culminating with Reagan’s, “Government is not part of the solution. Government is the problem.”
In the first 36 hours since the shooting, CNN has used the following words and terms to discuss the shooting: “extremism,” “extremist domestic groups,” “radical groups,” anti-government groups and individuals,” but not once has the term “right wing” or any mention of the Tea Party been uttered.
Regardless, CNN’s cowardice hasn’t stopped the right wing moving into a defensive or preemptive crouch, with conservative columnist Horace Cooper claiming on the same day of the shooting that far-right violence is a “complete and total bogeyman,” and is “an attempt to marginalize opponents of the Obama administration.”