Joining Bret Baier of the Fox News Channel, the similarly named Brent Baker of the Media Research Center has been pointing to the disparity between the media hubbub surrounding the murder of Dr George Tiller and the virtual silence about the murder of an army recruiter in Arkansas. While waves of self-appointed pro-choice spokespersons took to the public word-works, both electronic and printed, with their collective j’accuse against pro-lifers for the murder of Dr Tiller by a crazed opponent of late-term abortions, there were few reports about the murder of Private William Long of Conway, Arkansas, by a crazed opponent of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There was a brief NBC report and a story in yesterday’s New York Times about the Arkansas case, but neither mentioned any similarities with that other politically-motivated killing that was getting so much attention.
The killer in Private Long’s case — another soldier, 18 year old Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula, was wounded in the attack — was a man calling himself Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad (né Carlos Bledsoe of Little Rock) who was thought to have the same kind of connection with Islamic terrorists in Yemen that Scott Roeder, the murderer of Dr. Tiller, had with the Freemen or other ‘militia" groups. He also had a grudge against the U.S. armed forces. According to the Times,
"Mr. Muhammad stated that he was mad at the U.S. military because of what they had done to Muslims in the past," an arrest report filed by the Little Rock police said. "Mr. Muhammad further stated that he would have killed more soldiers if they had been on the parking lot. . . Military recruiters said they could not recall a recent fatal attack against a recruiting station. But the shootings were a reminder that recruiting offices are often targets of threats and sometimes actual violence.
Hm. Just like abortion doctors. If we can agree that the anti-war left who continually harp upon the evil done by American troops in Muslim lands are not responsible for Mr Muhammed’s murder of Pvt. Long, why can we not agree that the pro-life right is equally without responsibility for the death of Dr. Tiller?
Well, don’t hold your breath till it happens. Yet the reason for this asymmetry is not just media bias, as you might think, though that must be at least a contributory factor in the case of the major media outlets. Apart from the FNC and the MRC, there are many blogs and cable TV shows and radio talk shows on the right which might have been expected to make a big deal out of tying the wacko Mr Muhammad to the left as the wacko Mr Roeder has been tied to the right but they pretty much didn’t. I think I know why. It’s because pro-lifers tend to be conservatives and conservatives don’t intellectualize crime as do liberals — who, as you may have noticed, also tend to be pro-choice.
Faced with an act of violence, that is, the liberal of today characteristically looks around for someone to blame besides the person who committed it. In one remarkable case, which I noticed at the time in my website diary and later in my book, Media Madness, a columnist for the Washington Post even asked rhetorically how it could be that, if the Bush administration escaped the blame for the events of 9/11, "no one" was at fault for it. Blaming the terrorist for his own act of terrorism no more occurred to Richard Cohen than blaming someone else for it would have occurred to most conservatives. I wonder if that will continue to be true, or if we must learn from the oddly-named "liberals" that the way the political game is played nowadays is to moralize our political differences to the point where we seek out opportunities to accuse our opponents of being accomplices to murder?