FRC Shooter Pleads Guilty, Admits He Was Inspired by Left-wing Website; WashPost Ignores That Critical Detail

Update (18:53 EST): The Post article in question was updated at 6:35 p.m. to reflect the SPLC connection (see below) | The man who critically injured a Family Research Center security staffer in a shooting last August pleaded guilty on Wednesday to, among other charges, "committing an act of terrorism with the intent to kill." the Associated Press and ABC affiliate WJLA today are reporting. What's more, the suspect in question admitted he was inspired to strike out at the FRC after visiting a liberal website which declared them an anti-gay hate group. That fact,however, was omitted by the Washington Post in their write-up on the story.

Floyd Lee Corkins, "who had been volunteering at a center for gay, lesbian and transgender people"  was apprehended with a handgun, two extra magazines of ammunition and sandwiches from Chick-fil-A, that latter of which he "intended to smear... in the faces of his victims to make a statement about gay rights opponents, [Corkins] acknowledged during a hearing Wednesday," WJLA.com reported on Wednesday afternoon.


"In a statement released after Corkins' plea, the head of the Family Research Council blamed the shooting in part on the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has labeled his organization a hate group. In his plea agreement, Corkins acknowledged he identified the Council as 'an anti-gay organization' by visiting Southern Poverty's website," the ABC affiliate reported, although it buried this crucial detail at the very bottom of its post.

The Washington Post, on the other hand, failed to draw the connection to the SPLC, merely noting that when he was arrested, "law enforcement officials found a hand-written note with the names and some addresses of four socially conservative organizations, including the Family Research Council."

We at NewsBusters will monitor how, if at all, the major network newscasts cover this development tonight and tomorrow.

<<<Update: The Post has updated the Ann Marimow article to include a reference to the Southern Poverty Law Center's website and also noted that conservative websites are noting the media's bias in ignoring the SPLC angle:

A detail sure to re-ignite the culture wars that erupted around the shooting is the fact that Corkins told FBI agents that he identified the Family Research Council as anti-gay on the website of the Southern Poverty Law Center. The day after the shooting, the president of the Family Research Council, Tony Perkins, suggested that the law center’s labeling of the organization as a hate group had given Corkins a “license to perpetrate this act of violence.” On Wednesday, Perkins said the revelation had validated his earlier comments.

At the time of the shooting, conservative commentators had also accused media outlets of giving the shooting less coverage than other gun crimes because the perpetrator was a liberal. Those accusations resurfaced Wednesday.

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Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters