NBC reporter urges 'come to Jesus moment' for media in wake of Colorado Springs anti-LGBTQ mass shooting
NBC News’ senior reporter Ben Collins is calling for media outlets to have a “come to Jesus moment” – a dose of reality in order to make a major change – in the wake of the Colorado Springs hate crime mass shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub, Club Q, that left five people dead. A clip of his segment is going viral, with many agreeing the media needs to do a better job.
On MSNBC Tuesday morning, Collins, who covers what he calls the “dystopia beat,” meaning extremism, noted he’s been reporting on far-right extremism and its attacks on the LGBTQ community for months, apparently suggesting his articles were a warning.
“I do you want to say though, am I doing something wrong here?” Collins asked rhetorically, as if to suggest another anti-LGBTQ mass shooting hate crime had only been a matter of time.
READ MORE: Iraq Vet Took Down Club Q Gunman by Grabbing Handle on His Armor and a ‘Drag Dancer Stomped on Him With Her High Heels’
“Here are some headlines that I wrote the last six months,” he said, reading them off.
“‘Fueled by parents far right machine anti-LGBTQ threats shut down trans rights and drag events.’ Remember,” Collins said after his voice initially appeared to crack, “there was a drag event happening to Colorado,” at Club Q the night of the mass shooting.
“‘Anti-trans stalkers at Kiwi Farms,’ which is an anti-trans website that stalks people, ‘are chasing one victim around the world. Their list of targets is growing,’ – that was a couple months ago,” Collins added.
“‘Doctors under threat from far right activists for providing trans care.’ ‘Boston Children’s Hospital faces bomb threat after right-wing harassment campaign’ – there were three of those bomb threats. ‘FBI charges Massachusetts woman with Boston Children’s Hospital bomb threats’ – so they found one of the people. ‘At least 20 Republican politicians have claimed that schools are making accommodations for students who identify as cats.’ That was before the midterms.”
READ MORE: ‘This Ad Is Hate’: CNN Guest Shreds Herschel Walker for Anti-Transgender Ad Hours After Club Q Mass Shooting
“Here are three more from my colleagues in the last three weeks,” Collins continued, reading those headlines. “‘As election nears some conservative groups have ramped up anti-trans campaign ads.’ ‘Far right figures appear to be testing Twitter’s boundaries for anti-LGBTQ speech.’ ‘GOP senator targets Tiktok influencer with anti-transgender taunt.'”
After reading the headlines, Collins posed the question important for all journalists.
“And I’m just wondering, what could I have done different? Seriously, as reporters what can we do different? Because there are five dead people in a strip mall – because that was the only place they felt safe, as gay or trans people in this town in Colorado Springs.”
“And I am trying to thread this needle here. I’m trying to say that this is happening. This targeted stuff has real life impacts,” he continued.
READ MORE: Anti-LGBTQ Congressman for Colorado Springs Deluged With Angry Responses Over Club Q Tweet That Doesn’t Say Gay
“And I’m going to fail by the way, I’m going to freak out because it’s happening. Because I wake up and I see that there are five dead bodies. But I think we have to have a come to Jesus moment here, as reporters. Are we more afraid of being on Breitbart for saying that trans people deserve to be alive? Or are we more afraid of the dead people? Because I’m more afraid of the dead people. I don’t want to wake up on a Sunday and see that all these headlines came to fruition.”
On Twitter Collins says this is “an inflection point in this country right now, specifically for reporters.”
\u201cI talked this morning about an inflection point in this country right now, specifically for reporters:\n\nWhat are you more afraid of? Being on Breitbart for saying that trans people deserve to be alive?\n\nOr are you more afraid of waking up to the news of more dead people?\u201d— Ben Collins (@Ben Collins) 1669123703
Saying, “Thank you, Ben Collins,” Shannon Minter, the Legal Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), commented: “Reporters & media outlets have a responsibility not to lend fuel to dangerous political attacks on vulnerable minorities—including by stories like recent pieces by Reuters & the NYT that deliberately stoke fears & misconceptions about transgender kids.”
Watch the Collins’ clip above, the full MSNBC segment below, or both at this link.
- 'You don’t care': Twitter bulldozes Ted Cruz for defending guns while 'praying' for Club Q victims ›
- Iraq vet took down Club Q gunman by and a 'drag dancer stomped on him with her high heels': New York Times ›
- GOP congressman deluged with angry responses over Club Q tweet ›
- Watch: Right-wing pastor claims religious students are joining the clergy to turn Christians into atheists - Alternet.org ›