Sunday, November 29, 2015

Josh Marshall Gets it on Planned Parenthood Attack

Finally someone gets it. This is why I love Josh Marshall. So often I find that he and I are on the same wavelength. I've been on about this all weekend.

Josh sees it as I do:

"Caution in the light of factual uncertainty is almost always a laudable stance for journalists and public officials. But from the beginning of yesterday's attack on the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs there's been an odd reluctance to state what appears to be obvious: that the attacker, now identified as 57 year old Robert Lewis Dear, was motivated by extremist anti-abortion politics. The Denver Post headline states "Planned Parenthood shootings increasingly seem politically motivated" - and this after numerous accounts state that Dear was ranting about "no more baby parts" after his arrest, almost certainly a reference to the incitement earlier this fall over a doctored anti-Planned Parenthood sting video. Let's remember, false claims and incitement about selling "body parts" were a staple of Fox News segments and tirades from Republican presidential candidates all through the Fall."

"What also has me curious is that Colorado Springs is widely known as something of a Mecca for evangelicals and high profile right-wing Christian organizations like Focus on the Family. One of the murder victims in this case was a police officer. And there has been zero indication that the authorities were anything less than aggressive in responding to the attack. But it would stand to reason - indeed, hardly be surprising - that some level of awkwardness or tension might arise as the parties involved respond to an attack on a Planned Parenthood facility in a city dominated by anti-abortion politics."

"For now it simply seems worth saying what appears transparently obvious, if downplayed in the local press, which is that this was the latest instance of anti-abortion rights terrorism in the country and appears directly linked to the incitement stemming from false claims about Planned Parenthood being involved in the trafficking of body parts from aborted fetuses. You can, if you're inclined, add here all manner of arch comments about the great majority of right-wing Christians opposing anti-abortion terrorism. But let's call this what it is."

I've also pointed out, though, that the fact that many perhaps most anti-abortion groups oppose such terrorism is also problematic, It suggests on some level they don't believe their own rhetoric-that abortion is murder. If it really were then Dear is not a crazed killer but instead a hero or martyr.

A tough question for such anti terrorist anti abortion groups is why Dear is not a hero.

Marshall is the only one I've seen who has pointed this out-other than myself. I've noticed that even liberal blogs like Huffington Post and Think Progress have kept up the narrative that the 'motive is unclear' throughout yesterday at least. 

Gun control is divisive but what Friday shows is that even more divisive is a woman's right to choose. We at least discuss gun control even though we never end up doing anything about it. 

On violence against women's health clinics the silence is just deafening.


  1. Mike, in your title, should be "Gets it"

    O/T I'll bet you right now Alex Jones (the conspiracy theorist nutjob) is probably saying this is another "false flag" event, and all the conspiracy theory lunatics are already picking over every image of the scene shown by the media to find "crisis actors" etc: all the usual horseshit they come out with. And America's next rampage shooter is sucking all that conspiracy nut gibberish up... becoming more and more enraged about all these "false flag" killings. Oh the irony!

  2. TK!

    Yeah the main thing is they want to bury the motive and the press seems awfully concerned about offending them.

  3. Mike, I went downtown for a late breakfast today... Bad news is after I got in my car and turned on NPR, they still led with the "motive unknown" lede on the brief top o the hour news snippet. However, a few seconds earlier I saw this headline on the local paper:


    And although this is a pretty liberal town, the paper is famously owned by a right winger, and tends toward the right of center in general.

  4. TK for the link. Unfortunately I got a message that 'this photo is no longer any good'

  5. Yes the entire media has been saying that for a day. Yet at the same time some have even while admitting this said that the motive is still unclear because he also said something about President Obama.

    Even with the no more baby parts line, a number of media outlets have been acting as if even now there is still some ambiguity as to motive-as I noted in earlier posts today.

    NBC claimed that the Obama line makes the motive 'multi dimensional'

    So there is still-last I looked-equivocation about the motive which is obviously that he was an anti abortion fanatic.

    Earlier today at least they were still hairsplitting.

    Ok, I just checked Politico which is the classic example that gets me going. There is no mention of the shooting at all right now. It's as if it;s not an important issue.

    The Paris attacks which wasn't even in the Us dominated the headlines for weeks-still are.

    Now the Beltway is already done with that attack? So this sort of thing is what can get me going. LOL

    1. Well, OK, ... but there was nothing about Obama in that headline. I think it's clear that in this case this was a nut influenced by the lies about harvesting baby parts that Fiorina famously re-told. No question. So, at least in that one example, that's an unambiguous example, right?

      Also, this story may fade from the headlines in the near term, but think of what will happen in the future: he'll be trotted into court to make a plea, etc. Each and every one of those happenings will make the news, and by then his motives will probably be undeniably crystal clear... at which point the very fact that they were not reported as being crystal clear will itself be a story.

      A few days back Rachel Maddow did a story about the links Ted Cruz has with anti-abortion extremists who have advocated violence. I hope she does a follow up.

      Will that hurt Ted with the GOP? Not at all. It'll probably help him. Will it hurt him in the general (should it come to that)? I think (and hope) so. So I'm happy to see Rachel focus on it.

      My point: I'm not sure the coverage (as a whole) is an overall negative so far. Maybe I'm wrong, but we'll see.

  6. It shouldn't fade. Other such acts of terrorism don't. My concern here isn't immediate political calculations but the principle of a woman's right to choose.

  7. Don't get me wrong-in the long term it may well be remembered. But the big story of this weekend and Josh Marshall agrees with me is that the media did everything to quibble about the motive an then put it on the back burner.

    1. The civilian victims are finally identified:

  8. BTW, one thing that's true of probably 99.5% of these rampage shooters: they're gun enthusiasts. Gun owners for sure. So an even better start to a headline story on this would be:

    "Pro-Life Mass Murdering Gun Owner & Enthusiast..."

    as in

    "Another Pro-Life Mass Murdering Gun Owner & Enthusiast Leaves a Pile of Bullet Riddled Corpses After Violent Rampage"

    Lol... imagine how the right would squeal and cry if "Gun Owner / Enthusiast" was in the headline of each and every story about these rampage shooters.

    1. ... and when they squeal and cry the appropriate response is:

      "The headline just states the obvious facts. Should we instead be 'PC' about it? Like being afraid to say that Nazis attacked Poland because perhaps there were some non-violent Nazis we might offend?"

      In other words take Rubio's analogy and shove it back down his throat sideways.

    2. Better still (in this case):

      "Mass-Murdering Pro-Life Fundamentalist Christian & Deranged Gun Enthusiast Kills Innocents for the Holidays!!"

      Maybe we should make Fundamentalists register? Close some of their churches? Put the other churches under surveillance?

    3. Shoot, I forgot "conspiracy theorist"... that belongs in the headline too somehow.

    4. Here's Fox News commentators blaming Obama for the CO shooter while the situation was unfolding: