News & Politics

5 People Hijacking Boston Bombing to Push Their Nasty Politics

Right-wing figures are predictably exploiting the aftermath of the attack on the Boston Marathon.

Congressman Peter T. King.
Photo Credit: US Congress/Wikimedia Commons

Most of the country is mourning the victims of the attack on the Boston Marathon. President Barack Obama cautioned yesterday that people should not “jump to conclusions” as to who carried out the bombings. But there’s still a predictable cohort of people who are speaking up to exploit the aftermath of the attack to push a nasty political agenda.

From immigration to counter-terrorism to gays and lesbians, some figures are trying to use the Boston Marathon attack to their advantage. Here’s a list of 5 of them.

1. Peter King

The former Homeland Security committee chair has made a habit out of scapegoating Muslims, and he’s not holding his tongue this time. King, a Republican lawmaker from Long Island, linked the attack to an Al Qaeda cell, according to News 12. He also told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that “If anything good can come out of such a horrible event as today, maybe it will be a wake-up call that we have enemies that are out to destroy us.” He added that “They never let up and in many ways they are more treacherous than they were before September 11th because they’ve metastasized, they’ve morphed and many of them are under the radar screen, and that’s why we have to be so aggressive.”

By specifically mentioning 9/11, King is trying to the Boston Marathon attack to Islamist terrorists. But there’s no evidence at all confirming that claim.

2. Steve King

The Long Island Republican isn’t the only politician with the last name King to exploit the attack. Steve King also joined in on the action today.

King, a Republican representative from Iowa, told the National Review that the Boston bombings should slow down talk of immigration reform that would give undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship.

The National Review reports that “King says national security should be the focus now, and any talk about a path to legalization should be put on hold.”

“If we can’t background check people that are coming from Saudi Arabia, how do we think we are going to background check the 11 to 20 million people that are here from who knows where,” he said.

3. Glenn Beck

Gold is a frequent topic on the shows of Glenn Beck, and the aftermath of the Boston Marathon was no different. He used the attack as an excuse to push people to buy gold. “Let's say this turns out to be a terrorist operation with multiple bombs around the city. The Stock Market tanking, things going awry — wouldn't this exactly be like how it would happen,” Beck said yesterday. “You better have a plan and know what you and your family are going to do in the time do in the time of more difficult days ahead.” His earlier remarks in the radio show made clear that one of the things Beck wants you to do is buy gold.

4. Islamophobes

Peter King may be the most high-profile person to link the attack to Islamists, but other fringe Islamphobes are also predictably casting blame on Muslims. Pamela Geller, the professional, rabid anti-Muslim blogger, immediately picked up on a New York Post report claiming that a Saudi national was a suspect. It turns out the report was wrong.

Other bloggers have also pushed Islamophobia in the aftermah of the attack. Gateway Pundit, a blog that is part of the Islamophobia echo chamber, published a piece with purported photos of the Saudi national who was wounded in the attack. That blog also claims that the ball bearings that were part of the bomb could mean that there’s an Afghanistan connection. Again, there’s no evidence to substantiate any of the claims pointing to Muslim extremists as the culprit.

And of course, Christian evangelical Pat Robertson implied that Muslims were to blame as well, saying "Don't talk to me about religion of peace, no way."

 

5. Westboro Baptist Church

There’s never a tragedy that the extremist church out of Kansas focused on gays and lesbians doesn’t try to exploit. And of course, they’ve vowed to picket the funerals of those killed in the Boston bombings.

“GOD SENT THE BOMBS! How many more terrifying ways will you have the LORD injure and kill your fellow countrymen because you insist on nation-dooming filthy fag marriage?!” a press release from the group states.

Alex Kane is former World editor at AlterNet. His work has appeared in Mondoweiss, Salon, VICE, the Los Angeles Review of Books and more. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.