Washington Post falsely implies all Republicans are to blame for Pittsburgh shooting

Washington Post falsely implies all Republicans are to blame for Pittsburgh shooting

The Washington Post is peddling the false notion that all Republicans are to blame for the killing of 11 Jews in Pittsburgh, by overstating what was said by a left-wing academic it touted as an “expert.” The supposed “expert,” who hates the GOP, held Republicans collectively responsible for disturbing rhetoric, but specifically refused to jump to the conclusion that Republicans actually inspired the shooter or caused the shooting. Her refusal to jump to such a conclusion was understandable, given that the shooter hated Donald Trump rather than being inspired by him. But The Post managed to peddle the idea of collective Republican responsibility for the shooting anyway. That may reflect its liberal slant: The Post is so left-leaning that it has not endorsed a Republican for president since 1952.

Washington Post reporter Colby Itkowitz approvingly quotes left-leaning American University professor Susan Benesch, who sees Donald Trump and his rhetoric as “dangerous.” But Benesch doesn’t go as far as Itkowitz would like in slamming Republicans. She merely blames all Republicans for Trump’s supposedly “dangerous speech,” not the Pittsburgh shooting. She admits, “I don’t know whether those individuals were influenced by anything Trump himself said. I simply don’t know. I want to be very careful not to draw conclusions.”

Eager to slam Republicans, The Post’s Itkowitz essentially puts words in Benesch’s mouth, writing that “Benesch explained the ways in which she thinks Trump’s use of incendiary language bears some responsibility for … the killings of 11 Jewish people at their synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday.”

It is not surprising that Benesch herself wasn’t willing to claim that the shooter was influenced by anything President Trump said. The Pittsburgh shooter “was explicit in his dislike of the president, saying he did not vote for him and had never ‘owned, worn or even touched‘ a Make America Great Again hat,” notes a USA Today article.

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As that USA Today article further notes, Trump is not an anti-Semite:

He has a history of giving generously to Jewish charities, including the Anti-Defamation League, and he received the Jewish National Fund’s “Tree of Life” award.

This is a president whose high-profile daughter Ivanka is an observant modern Orthodox Jew and whose Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is a trusted White House envoy and personal adviser. President Trump also has longstanding ties to Israel’s conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and, unlike three of his Oval Office predecessors, made good on a pledge to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

And while Trump did not garner support from the broad Jewish community in the 2016 election, he was overwhelmingly popular among more the observant Orthodox segment.

It is silly for the Washington Post to try to blame Trump for the shooting.

And it is not as if the right has a monopoly on anti-Semitism. There are also left-wing anti-Semites. For example, anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan, who met with Sen. Barack Obama, and met more recently former President Bill Clinton (who shook hands with him and chatted with him at a funeral they attended). As the USA Today article notes, Farrakhan recently called Jews “termites” and talked about “Satanic Jews who have infected the whole world with poison and deceit.” But no one has attempted to tie all Democrats to the shooting, simply because Farrakhan’s hateful rhetoric about Jews is occasionally approved of or borrowed by white nationalists who also dislike Jews.

It is not just Republicans that the Washington Post hates. It has recently promoted hatred toward entire groups of people, such as men and whites. On Oct. 12, it published a hate-filled, bigoted rant from a left-wing retired professor. “I hate all men and wish they were dead.” Earlier, it published a racist, hate-filled op-ed by Charlotte and Harriet Childress. They falsely claimed that “nearly all of the mass shootings in this country in recent years … have been committed by white men and boys.” This is simply false. As a writer noted in the Philly News at the time:

Mass killings have also been committed by nonwhites, such as Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho, Beltway sniper John Muhammad, Long Island Rail Road shooter Colin Ferguson, and Wisconsin’s Chai Soua Vang.

Contrary to the false impression left by the Washington Post, “mass shooters aren’t disproportionately white,” and “white people” are not “overrepresented among mass shooters,” as the Washington Post’s own sister publication, Slate, recognized.

The Pittsburgh shooting is not the only mass shooting that the Washington Post has made false claims about. A Washington Post reporter recently peddled a false left-wing claim about the 2011 Tucson mass shooting. This claim was recognized as baseless long ago even by many liberal journalists. The Post claimed that the 2011 shooting of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) was inspired by a right-wing mob. As Hot Air notes, the claim was made by “Paul Kane, who’s spent years covering Congress for Washington’s most prestigious newspaper.”

Kane retracted this claim, but only after it had been retweeted by many other progressives. He retracted it only in the face of immediate protests from readers. One noted that Kane’s claim was contradicted by one of The Post’s own op-eds from years ago, when The Post was less left-wing than it is today.

In reality, Giffords, who survived, was not targeted based on her ideology. She was shot in a mass shooting that also took the life of GOP appointee John Roll, a federal judge. Both of them were shot by a bizarre loner, Jared Loughner, who did not follow conservatives such as Sarah Palin or the Tea Party. One of Loughner’s favorite books was The Communist Manifesto. But there is no evidence that political ideology played a role in Loughner’s shooting of Giffords and Roll. Indeed, Loughner may have been motivated by bizarre non-ideological obsessions with things like grammar. He said the government was engaged in “mind control” by “controlling grammar.”

Accuracy does not seem to be a concern for the Washington Post these days. For example, it still has not corrected its false claims about the scope of federal evidence rules and the legal definition of sexual assault that readers of Liberty Unyielding brought to its attention a month ago.

Jerome Woehrle

Jerome Woehrle

Jerome Woehrle is a retired attorney and author, who writes about politics.

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