Back in 2009, when Obama’s secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano unveiled a report on “Rightwing Extremism” in America, conservatives from John Boehner to our favorite rightbloggers roared with outrage. Napolitano now looks prescient, especially after the week we just had. On November 24, a bunch of white guys shot up a Black Lives Matter rally in Minneapolis, and just three days later, on Black Friday, a man named Robert Dear shot nine people, killing three (including a cop) after commandeering a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood office.
In the wake of such events, you’d think rightbloggers would play it cool, say something about bad apples, and move along. Maybe in a calmer, pre-Obama time, they might have. As it is, they instead confronted these events with an arsenal of displacement, projection, and just good old-fashioned batshit crazy.
Since Napolitano’s report, most Americans have been kept too busy worrying over the threat of Islamic terrorism to give white Christian terrorists much thought. Dylann Roof’s June 17 racist mass murder spree in Charleston, though, was too obvious even for rightbloggers to ignore, and they mainly played it low-key until the subsequent drive to remove Confederate symbols from public places gave them an opportunity to play victim.
Recent events have perhaps raised the stakes: Anti-racism protest groups such as Black Lives Matter have gotten more vocal, which has pissed off the usual suspects. Anti-abortion agitation has been revived, too, with the Center for Medical Progress’s videos and their exploitation by prominent Republicans like Carly Fiorina turning rightbloggers into virtual clinic protesters.
After the Minneapolis shooting, most headlines were on the order of the New York Daily News’s “Five shot near Black Lives Matter protest in Minneapolis, protesters blame white supremacists wearing bulletproof vests.” Not surprisingly, Breitbart.com went a different route, blaring: “POLICE DOC: BLACK LIVES MATTERS PROTESTORS STARTED CONFRONTATION THAT LED TO MINNEAPOLIS SHOOTING.”
According to Breitbart’s Lee Stranahan — best known for a years-long vendetta against a black USDA employee named Shirley Sherrod (which hasn’t exactly gone well for the folks at Breitbart) — the protesters physically intimidated the assailants when they first came to the protests, with the latter claiming they were just there to “live-stream” the event. The protesters might have gotten a whiff of what they were really about, which may be why some of them tried to fight the suspects off the field.
Stranahan said that while “facts are still coming out about the incident…there’s no indication that Minneapolis police are pursuing any charges against the protesters who have taken over a city street and then, according to multiple witnesses, intimidated or attacked people who were exercising their First Amendment rights.” So the shooters were the real victims of obstreperous black people. And yet the cops arrested the victims. Obama’s America!
Tom Maguire of Just One Minute worked a liberal-media-bias “narrative” angle in his analysis of a Minneapolis Star Tribune report (which he called “Strib1”): “Whites taunting protestors, who become angry so a dozen protestors ‘herd’ them to a dark area.” But later, Maguire revealed, the New York Times said the protesters had merely “escorted” the suspects away. Aha! “I know I would rather be ‘escorted’ than ‘herded’ and I guess Times reporter Ashley Southall feels the same way,” Maguire wrote, before generously admitting that “since the word ‘herd’ is not in quotes in the source Strib1, that may have been an appropriate editorial judgment.”
Maguire kept up this linguistic detective work (“The suspects have variously been ‘herded,’ ‘escorted’ and now ‘chased’ ”) before telling readers, “Minnesota is not a stand your ground state but we may yet see the self-defense hate crime play out.” Zimmermans arise! On the other hand: “The defense side is going to see a real opportunity here. Which means the upcoming trial might be as polarizing as the Democrats need it to be.” Remember — no matter how good you think it looks for you, there’s always space to play victim.
On Friday came the Planned Parenthood shootout in Colorado Springs. At first rightbloggers’ approach was to pretend the event had nothing to do with Planned Parenthood and was instead a robbery at a nearby Chase Bank that had somehow expanded its purview. “Shooting at a bank?” tweeted Liberal Fascism author Jonah Goldberg. “Has anyone blamed Bernie Sanders for his extreme rhetoric yet?” Haw, high-five, dudes!
“So once again, the media sets the narrative and get exposed for the frauds they are,” said Fire Andrea Mitchell. “The original target of this shooter wasn’t Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, it was a Chase Bank.” (At this writing, Fire Andrea Mitchell hadn’t corrected.)
“It looks like I was correct to be skeptical of the narrative,” said Gamergate supervillain Vox Day. “You can just hear all the network executives telling everyone to stand down, there’s no need to send any talking heads out to Colorado Springs.” Later Day clarified: “Now the police are saying that while the shooter was in the Planned Parenthood building, ‘the connection between the shooting and Planned Parenthood was not clear.’ ”
A guy shoots up a Planned Parenthood, and the connection is unclear? Sure, why not, if that gets you out of a potentially unpleasant situation. Some of the smarter rightbloggers just ignored the whole thing — the normally very active Legal Insurrection, for example, has of this writing posted nothing about the shooting, though it had nine posts up the day it happened. Others took the questions-remain approach: After several updates, Hot Air’s Allahpundit wrote, “Did he target the Chase and then flee to the PP?”
One interesting evasive tactic was to emphasize that Dear’s election registration records, found at a third-party site, listed him as female, which might be a typo, but which meant to Gateway Pundit that Dear “Identifies as Woman.” Several rightbloggers cited this as a conversation-stopper (“Bad news for libs: Court records show Colorado Springs shooter registered to vote as a woman”), though they didn’t go so far as to explain why; perhaps the presumption was that any man who was listed as a woman must be a liberal — notwithstanding that America’s best-known trans woman, Caitlyn Jenner, identifies as a Republican.
When these giggles died down, as word leaked out that after being apprehended Dear had muttered something about “no more baby parts” — an apparent reference to the videos pimped by Fiorina — what was the approach of rightbloggers who didn’t know enough to shut up? Those who kept talking either whined that they were being oppressed by liberals or disgorged vitriol against pro-choice people like they were fixing to shoot up a clinic themselves.
Some Guy at RedState predicted that, if Dear was shown to be pro-life, “then round two of the public flagellation of the pro-life movement will commence.” In this round, he said, “pro-life commentators will be dragged on screen and quizzed about the rhetoric of extremist pro-lifers.” Alas, Some Guy fantasized, “news producers are likely to find enough cowardly conservatives who crave camera time who will be willing to do this,” but not Some Guy, so hooray for him.
National Review’s David French said it was nonsense to say people kill because they’re crazy and influenced by extreme rhetoric. They kill, he wrote, “because they are evil.” French then pivoted, for some reason, to free speech, writing: “to clamp down on speech (or even self-censor) for fear of bitter hermits and angry lunatics is absurd.” Clamp down on speech? Who said anything about that? Voices in French’s head, apparently: “Look for the Left’s message to the pro-life movement after Colorado Springs to be simple — shut up,” he said. “Shut up about babies dying by the hundreds of thousands. Shut up about the abortion industry’s lies and deceptions. Only the pro-abortion movement is allowed to be angry now.” It’s like Nazi Germany, only enforced by blogs and op-eds!
Some Other Guy at RedState did the oh-yeah-at-least-we’re-not-Islam shtick. “So hey, welcome to the party, liberals,” he wrote, sarcastically. “I’m glad we are all finally in agreement that when people do things in the name of a stated ideology, we ought to cast a good, long hard look at the preachers of that ideology to determine whether they bear some responsibility for the violent acts of their extremists. I’m confident RedState and other conservative blogs can withstand that scrutiny.” A quick Google of “RedState.com,” “abortion,” and “murder” will give you some idea of how RedState rates on that scale (among the results: “Yes, the Arguments For Abortion Do Parallel the Arguments Defending Slavery,” by Erick Erickson), but we expect if you brought it up to Other Guy he wouldn’t be fazed, because while you were talking he’d be daydreaming about your soul burning in Hell.
“IN THE COMING WAVE OF DC MEDIA HATE,” headlined Breitbart.com’s John Nolte, “PRO-LIFE VOICES MUST GROW LOUDER.” By “DC MEDIA HATE,” Nolte apparently meant reporters noticing that there’d been a shootout at Planned Parenthood. But that was nothing, Nolte said, compared to what was to come: “Throughout next week, the incident will be used to bash traditional Christians, pro-lifers, and Second Amendment civil rights advocates like the NRA,” he prophesied. “If past is prologue, our Elite Media Ghouls will receive no small amount of help with their propaganda campaign from Democrats and the White House.”
What then to do? Buy (more) gold? Buy (more) survivalist gear? Stand outside of clinics and browbeat terrified women? Mainly “we must not be intimidated,” said Nolte, because “nearly 60 million innocent children have been butchered since the Supreme Court manufactured a Constitutional right to kill your unborn child” — and if you’re reading this and happen to be crazy, don’t take “butchered,” “kill,” or other words or phrases in the post like “legally massacred,” “murder,” and “infanticide” too seriously. But if you do, remember, everyone: It has nothing to do with us.