By Dan GainorVice President of Business and Culture, Media Research Center
How does James von Brunn, a man who attacked the Federal Reserve's Washington headquarters in 1981 when Ronald Reagan was president suddenly get tagged by the media as "a right winger?" When the mainstream media rely on left-wing sources for their information, that's how.
In the aftermath of this week's shooting at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, a Nazi who may have targeted conservatives for attack as well, is suddenly singled out as part of a deadly trend. The left jumped on yesterday's horrific incident as yet another example of so-called "right-wing extremism." Liberals connected von Brunn -- a career anti-Semite, neo-Nazi nutball -- to conservative dissatisfaction with President Obama. And journalists were right there with them asking all of the expected questions about scary conservatives.
It's now the big theme in the media with The New York Times, ABC, CNN and lefty outlets like Salon joining a rising media chorus that conservatives are dangerous. Nobel Prize winner and wacky Times columnist Paul Krugman dubbed his latest effort "The Big Hate"and claimed "whatever dividing line there was between mainstream conservatism and the black-helicopter crowd seems to have been virtually erased."
Krugman went on to attack FOX News, the favorite demon of the left, and The Washington Times, which used to bethe favorite demon of the left. He followed with almost a complete list of right wingers he can't stand: Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich, actor Jon Voight and pretty much anyone in the nation who doesn't think Obama is the second coming. Somehow, all of those people are reasons "right-wing extremism is being systematically fed by the conservative media and political establishment."
In fact, his column reads like a Who's Who of the conservative movement. Prominent voices like Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin probably almost felt left out because Krugman didn't attack them as well.
Krugman claimed FOX News and the Republican National Committee incited violence, but look at how he sneakily phrased it - "for the most part, the likes of FOX News and the R.N.C. haven't directly incited violence." Then he follows that by blasting O'Reilly for calling Dr. George Tiller "Tiller the Baby Killer," and "that he had 'blood on his hands.'" That's like saying, "for the most part," Krugman's columns aren't a toxic waste dump of irrational liberal thought.
But Krugman truly reflects the mindset of the left which is consumed by this idea of scary, armed conservatives. Salon's Michael Rowe tried to bash everyone that Krugman attacked and a few, like Coulter and Hannity, that missed Krugman's venomous assault. According to Rowe, prominent conservatives are "pop culture equivalent of necrotic carrion beetles, crawling with insectile determination from one infected open wound in the American psyche to another." He concluded that there was no "Environmental Protection Agency to measure hate pollution in national dialogue" but that conservatives are responsible for "widows, orphans" and "carnage."
Come on Michael, tell us how you really feel! It's not just conservatives, it's conservative ideals that must be expunged. Right? And liberals wonder why conservatives fear any talk of the so-called Fairness Doctrine or government getting involved bailing out newspapers. Maybe the close ties among the left, the media and government don't make many on the right all that comfortable. Especially when so many on the left want to limit to expunge conservative speech.
The Thursday feeding frenzy on the left featured all of the usual suspects - CNN's Rick Sanchez, MSNBC's Chris Matthews and others. On ABC, reporter Pierre Thomas painted a terrifying picture of hate: "A cold-blooded murder at the Holocaust Museum by a white supremacist. An abortion doctor gunned down in a church two weeks ago. January 21st, Brockton Massachusetts, a day after inauguration, a man who police say had a plan to kill as many blacks, Hispanics and Jews as he could, rapes a minority woman and kills two."
According to Thomas, issues that rile conservatives are the dangerous ones, telling viewers about "radicals of the ultra-fringe, filled with rage about illegal immigration, fear of losing their guns, abortion and race."
Earlier in the week, Salon.com editor Joan Walsh attacked talk radio host Rush Limbaugh and even drew a connection between the murder of partial birth abortion Dr. George Tiller and comments made by FOX News Channel's Bill O'Reilly both on her site and on FOX's competitor MSNBC. Walsh claimed "there's a through-line between any of these acts of terrorism and the right-wing rhetoric that abets it, of course, it's the one linking Bill O'Reilly to Scott Roeder, the man who murdered Tiller."
It's good to know that hate is now bad. This after the left spent eight spent years demonizing our soldiers in Iraq, President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, businessmen and virtually anyone connected to the GOP. Now, as Code Pinkers still harass Cheney and protest Bush's new Texas home and lefty bloggers call for the execution of climate deniers, suddenly the issue they want to focus on is "right-wing hate."
Markos Moulitsas of the DailyKos blog was especially strident in his attacks on the right, trying to score political points off the death of a hero. In one comment on Twitter, he claimed "right wingers went to bat for neo-Nazis and extremists in DHS report, and now they reap the rewards."
The Daily Beast reporter Benjamin Sarlin took a predictably similar route, saying "to the nation's horror, a much-maligned Department of Homeland Security memo on right-wing extremism is looking more accurate by the day." And Dallas Morning News's Wayne Slater told CNN that the attack was linked with "anti-tax secessionists in Texas," or Tea Party protesters.
None of these statements hold up under scrutiny. Von Brunn is a World War IIveteran. And for all the talk from the left trying to link von Brunn to conservative Web sites, forum sites are open to anyone. It's impossible to monitor thousands of posters on an Internet message board for either the right or the left. And Web neophytes are trying to claim that conservative sites are somehow anti-Semitic without looking at the hatred of Jewish people common on lefty sites.
All of these breathless theories from left-wing quarters about Wednesday's shooting fall apart when you look at one key point -- that von Brunn's history makes it obvious he is no "right-wing" anything. Finding a right-winger who hated the government under Reaganis like trying to find an honest politician.
But to tell that story, the liberal media would also have to be honest. Too many in the mainstream media gave up on honesty as the best policy long ago.
Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center's Vice President for Business and Culture. His column appears each week on The FOX Forum and he can be seen each Thursday on Foxnews.com's "Strategy Room."
Dan Gainor is the Media Research Center's Vice President for Business and Culture. He writes frequently about media for Fox News Opinion. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.