There have been several on the left who have chastised those on the right who have gotten defensive about liberals in the media blaming or speculating that the Boston bombing was instigated by conservatives of some sort. To be fair, some on the right have gone a bit far in defensive posture and most of the media have not partaken. However, to act like it didn't happen or that it's conservative paranoia is also misguided.
Below are some outtakes of what has happened:
Earlier this week, NPR’s counterterrorism correspondent Dina Temple-Raston drew justifiable outrage from conservatives for engaging in the following on air speculation about the Boston Marathon bombing:
The thinking, as we’ve been reporting, is that this is a domestic or extremist attack. Again, this is not because – this has got to be this because officials can’t get away from this idea of timing. April is a big month for anti-government, right-wing folks. There’s the Columbine anniversary. (Huh?) There’s Hitler’s birthday. (fricking seriously?) There’s the Oklahoma City bombing. (Really?) There’s the assault on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco. And these are all rallying points for these kinds of extremist groups.
Clearly, Temple-Raston didn’t have much evidence to back up her theory and subsequent evidence has undermined her speculation. Further, her conflation of multiple events and ideological movements is particularly absurd. Last I checked, Nazism was not exactly about opposition to a strong role for government. Beyond this, I think the comment is worth revisiting to explain why it is that conservatives get so sensitive when members of the media leap to blame acts of violence on the “right wing.”
Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg mused on Twitter: “It is not implausible that far right-wingers committed the Boston bombing. Not sure why conservatives are so upset by such speculation.”
Over the course of its coverage, NPR has referred to “right-wing think tanks;” an “extremely right wing talk show host; “right-wing filmmaker” Dinesh D’Souza; “right-wing groups” funded by Sheldon Adelson; and “right-wing blogger” Jennifer Rubin. NPR reports have described “right-wing rock star” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; “right-wing politician” Margaret Thatcher; and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “right-wing government.”
NPR reported that if Mitt Romney chose Condoleezza Rice as his running mate, her pro-choice views would be “an invitation for a right-wing revolt.” When Romney picked Paul Ryan, a story recalled that during the primaries, “the (Republican) party’s right wing was conspicuously unhappy with the idea of Romney.” Also, the campaigns’ mention of Romneycare, “brought howls from the right wing.” A story on George P. Bush’s political ambitions noted that he ” has staked out his political territory with the right wing of the Texas GOP, supporting Tea Party candidates.”
So, the reason why conservatives get irked when “right wing” is used in reference to major acts of violence — often without an iota of evidence to back it up — is that the term “right wing” is broadly applied by the media to the entire conservative movement. I don’t think “right-wing” Jennifer Rubin and Sheldon Adelson get pumped every April for Hilter’s birthday, that “right-wing think tanks” like the Heritage Foundation burst out the champagne on the Columbine anniversary, or that “right-wing rock star” Scott Walker is a big fan of the Oklahoma City bombing.
Even putting aside the bias issue, it’s just lazy and imprecise journalism to use the term “right-wing” so broadly that it could refer to anybody from a libertarian who believes in a small centralized government to somebody who wants to restore the Third Reich.
From Chris Matthews, a liberal with a TV show - not some youtube crazy:
“Again, it’s an early situation, but looking at the Kennedy library, not something at Bunker Hill, not something from the freedom trail or anything that kind of historic, but a modern political figure of the Democratic party,” Matthews asked Leiter. “Does that tell you anything?”
“Normally, domestic terrorist people tend to be on the far right, although that’s not a good category,” Matthews said on Monday’s show. “Extremists, let’s call them that. Do they advertise after they do something like that? Do they try to get credit as a group or do they just hate America so much, or its politics, or its government, that they just want to do the damage – that they don’t care if they get public credit if you will.”
“As you point out, and I just forgot, I filed already," said Matthews. "It’s filing day for the federal income tax, which does cause some emotions around the country, sometimes in the wrong parts of the brain anyway."
“I don’t think Tax Day means a lot to the Arab world or Islamic world or al-Qaeda in terms of their world. It doesn’t have iconic significance."
Don't pretend that it's not clear what he was insinuating.
Regarding the guy who wrote the Slate article that several have (rightfully) said is a kook: I'm not one to group the entire left with this guy but he's not exactly some ostracized, out of the mainstream liberal. He was a political strategist serving as a senior campaign aide to Gov. Brian Schweitzer, advisor to Ned Lamont who beat long-time Senator Lieberman for the party's nomination in Connecticut, and was the press secretary for Bernie Sanders. He's not exactly someone who was regarded as a wacko in Democrat circles.
I think anyone can see why people would get defensive. Some people in the media who are supposed to be taken seriously are labeling Tim Mcveigh and Adolf Hitler with the exact same adjectives as Paul Ryan. That's not ok. It's disgusting.
This post was edited on 4/19 at 4:34 pm