"There's a strong consensus he was pretty normal." That's how Slate's Emily Bazelon described surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who seems to have been discovered by the police. You cannot make this stuff up. The Slate writer interviewed two family friends, who attended Tsarnaev's high school who said of him:
"He was really nice,” Sam Greenberg [Bazelon’s family friend], now a junior at Harvard, told me over the phone. Sam played junior varsity soccer with Tsarnaev for a year and also hung out with him occasionally in the athletic area after school. “He was pretty quiet. Didn’t have a ton to say but was very normal, seemed like a nice kid.”
On Thursday's All Things Considered, NPR's Ari Shapiro couldn't be bothered to feature any of the religious leaders who spoke at the inter-faith service in honor of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, Instead, Shapiro zeroed in on the liberal politicians who spoke, playing five straight clips from President Obama's speech at the memorial event.
The correspondent also played up the President's speaking ability: "This was Obama the orator, a man who is famous for his ability to give a speech that, even in a time of mourning, can bring a crowd roaring to its feet."
Several posts on what several news organizations have confirmed as the Twitter profile of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev indicate that that the 19-year-old Chechnyan immigrant was a supporter of Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election.
If that is indeed the case, it does not mean that Obama has any sort of connection with or responsibility for the bombing suspect or his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. It does, however, completely reverse the fantasy that many American liberals were openly hoping for: that the bombing suspects might be revealed as Timothy McVeigh 2.0, someone whose very name they could use to smear and deride anyone who stands against their belief system. In other words, one of those “dog whistles” we keep hearing so much about.
One of the two suspects sought by the FBI in connection with Monday’s bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon is dead this morning after a high-speed late-night car chase culminating in a firefight with FBI and local law enforcement. The other is on the lam, believed to be armed and dangerous, and the entire city of Boston is on lockdown.
Lawrence O’Donnell apparently has absolutely no shame. Speaking on his MSNBC program The Last Word w/ Lawrence O'Donnell on Wednesday night, O’Donnell asserted that the National Rifle Association's (NRA) successful lobbying efforts in Congress were hindering the federal criminal investigation in the Boston Marathon bombing.
In his opening monologue, O’Donnell absurdly thundered that the “NRA's effort to guarantee that American mass murderers are the best-equipped mass murders in the world is not limited to murderers who use assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.” O’Donnell’s vitriol did not stop there. Instead, he doubled down claiming that the NRA is, “in the business of helping bombers get away with their crimes.” [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
Our taxpayer dollars seem to be at work finding the culprit of the Boston terror attack last Monday. But on taxpayer-funded NPR, counterterrorism reporter Dina Temple-Raston was already guessing this was domestic not foreign. “The thinking, as we've been reporting, is that this is a domestic or extremist attack,” Temple-Raston declared on the April 16 All Things Considered.
So, besides the pressure cooker bomb, whose directions on building it can be found on the Internet, what evidence shows that this is probably domestic terrorism? Where’s the manifesto? Who’s claimed responsibility? All are question marks at this point, so what’s with the incessant speculation by some in the media. Yes, it could be a crazy right-winger, or an al-Qaeda operative, but what ever happened to a simple narrative of there was a bombing, it’s awful, people died, and federal authorities are investigating the matter? But Temple-Raston heavily implied this matches with past acts of right wing – and domestic – terror:
The Washington Post seems to have joined President Obama in blaming the National Rifle Association for the Senate defeating recent gun control legislation. In an April 18 article, the Post's Ed O'Keefe and Philip Rucker provide cover for President Obama and Senate Democrats, peppering their story with quotes condemning Republicans and Second Amendment advocates.
The article started off fairly tame, describing Obama as suffering a “resounding defeat” and a “stunning collapse for gun-control advocates.” It didn't take long, however, for the Post staffers to bash the gun industry. Providing a plethora of Obama quotes to set the tone of the article, the Post highlighted the president's claiming that, “all in all this was a pretty shameful day for Washington.”
Do I dare say it? Did The New York Times actually write a responsible article concerning the investigation of the Boston Terror Attack? The April 17 piece by Katharine Q. Seeyle, Scott Shane, and Michael S. Schmidt had no mentions of right-wing extremists –and the meretricious links to Patriots/Tax Day. Additionally, the word “extremist” is only associated with a brief bit about “terrorist cookbooks,” which are available online. By contrast, when you look at National Journal’s highly speculative story on Boston, the culprits are either al-Qaeda or right-wing domestic terror groups. This development comes after initial reports that the trail has tragically grown cold.
Sadly, before the bodies were even cold the media were suggesting that conservatives or “right-wing extremists” could be behind the bombing. Terabytes of digital data are still being combed through by investigators, and there's no proof solidly linking the so-called “right wing” of America -- those type of hate groups, by the way, are roundly repudiated by true conservatives -- was responsible for this senseless attack. But that doesn't seem to matter to James Kitfield of the National Journal, who wrote yesterday morning:
Whenever a disaster like the bombing at Monday's Boston Marathon occurs, members of the press try to be the first to report any “scoops” they can find regarding the catastrophe. However, news organizations are often so anxious to beat the 24/7 news cycle that they don't always check all the facts before posting a story.
One recent example of this problem is an article on the CNN website entitled “Boston Marathon bombs have hallmarks of 'lone wolf' devices, experts say,” in which an anonymous senior U.S. counter-terrorism investigator is quoted as saying that pressure cooker bombs have been “a signature of extreme right-wing individuals in the United States,” even though the report provides no evidence to support that claim.
As NewsBustersreported earlier, unabashedly liberal commentator David Sirota published an article at Salon Tuesday with the disgusting title, "Let’s Hope the Boston Marathon Bomber Is a White American."
As a result of all the negative attention he's gotten due to this piece, rather than doing the right thing by apologizing, Sirota on Wednesday actually doubled down with a new article titled "I Still Hope the Bomber Is a White American."
When asked on left-leaning MSNBC why President Barack Obama refrained from describing the Boston bombings as a "terrorist attack" David Axelrod, Obama's longtime political advisor, readily saw a political opportunity. The blood had not yet been washed away from the streets. We had yet to count up the casualties. Yet Axelrod saw a political opening, an opportunity to advance one or another of his pet political issues. So he said, "I'm sure what was going through the president's mind is — we really don't know who did this — it was tax day." Yes, tax day!
This is not the response of a normal mind. A normal mind would not, given the promiscuity of public bombings in the Middle East and now another bombing here in America, think it was provoked by "tax day." Conceivably the bombs in Boston were the work of small-government libertarians or of Tea Partiers. They could even be the work of vegetarians, but that was not the question. Axelrod was asked why the president was not describing the bombings as a terrorist attack. It certainly looked more like the work of terrorists — either left-wing lunatics or right-wing lunatics — than tax protesters.
In brief remarks to the nation yesterday on the Boston Marathon bombings, President Obama said that "we all have a part to play in alerting authorities. If you see something suspicious, speak up." In Washington, D.C., electronic signs urged commuters to be on guard. Law enforcement, big-city mayors and security experts all echoed that famous post-terrorism refrain: "If you see something, say something."
The media’s irresponsible speculation regarding the perpetrator of the terrorist attack in Boston seems to continue on MSNBC. Appearing on MSNBC’s Martin Bashir on April 16, fill-in host Thomas Roberts brought on Harvard’s Jessica Stern to make predictions about who might have initiated the terrorist attack on April 15.
Stern began her segment by saying that the kind of bomb used in this attack was published in an al-Qaeda magazine before launching into her speculation that the far-right may be responsible:
If you’re looking for someone to come on your program and bash conservatives – especially in the wake of an incident such as Monday’s Boston Marathon bombing – the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Mark Potok is your man.
On CNN’s Piers Morgan Live Tuesday, Potok disgracefully said the perpetrator of Monday's attack likely wasn't a member of the "radical right" because the target wasn't "black people or Jewish people or gay people or Muslims" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Appearing on Tuesday's NBC Today, special correspondent Tom Brokaw warned his media colleagues about premature speculation regarding the motivation of the Boston bombing: "I think everybody has to take a deep breath...report what we know, and do the best we can with the information that we're able to get reliably." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
That statement was prompted by co-host Savannah Guthrie observing: "It always bears reminding at this time, Tom, as a long-time practitioner of our craft, that early reports are often in error. I think we've become used to getting more information, even this soon after an attack, we often do know something of the nature of the attacker. In this case, there really are more questions than answers."
MSNBC featured author Adam Lankford on Tuesday to wonder about the "message" of the Boston bomber. Was it to "complain about abortion, about taxes?" The guest, labeled a "MSNBC analyst," guessed, "This did happen on tax day in Boston, the place of the Tea Party." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
He continued the reckless speculation: "Or are they trying to protest, you know, foreign wars or something?" Lankford, a professor at the University of Alabama, has written a book on what makes suicide bombers and rampage shooters do what do. He theorized, "The interesting thing is, this is someone on a stage trying to make a statement and that statement has been lost."
It seems as though The Nation’s Katrina vanden Heuvel should take her own advice in saying that tragic events like the terrorist attack in Boston on April 15 should not be politicized. Appearing on MSNBC’s Now w/ Alex Wagner on April 16, Ms. vanden Heuvel managed to contradict herself within mere seconds.
Speaking with liberal host Alex Wagner and TheGrio.com’s Joy-Ann Reid, the left-wing commentator appeared to at first make a reasoned call for patience in the aftermath of the terrorist attack, insisting that:
Former congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) went on MSNBC this morning to react to yesterday’s bombing at the Boston Marathon. In a shameless moment of advocacy, Frank used the tragedy to make a political statement about revenue and the size of government. Considering that this happened on MSNBC, you might expect the host to condone the congressman’s liberal activism, but anchor Thomas Roberts actually called Frank out for his despicable attempt to politicize this tragedy.
Early in the interview, Frank stressed that none of us know much about who and what were behind this event as of yet. So the former congressman turned to what he does know how to do – attacking his ideological opponents: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Ever play the game "telephone" in school or with friends when you were a kid?
One person would whisper into the ear of another person, followed by her whispering what was supposed to be the same message to the next person, followed by him doing likewise and so on, until the last person in the sequence, several people later, would say what he or she had been told. Invariably it bore little resemblance to the original message.
The journalists of Good Morning America on Tuesday pointed a speculative finger in the wake of the Boston bombing. An ABC graphic wondered, "Could this be homegrown terror?" In a segment full of guesses, reporter Pierre Thomas featured leftist Mark Potok, the man who labeled the Family Research Council (FRC) a "hate group."
Regarding the date that the explosion occurred on, Potok linked, "The real Patriots Day is April 19th. That is the date that counts for people on the extreme right in the United States." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Other than Potok, no other expert voices were featured in the segment. News anchor Josh Elliott backed up Potok's assertions, theorizing, "One big clue could be Monday's date, April 15th. The anniversaries of some of the most harrowing incidents in domestic terror are coming this week." Thomas then went on to highlight David Koresh and the Oklahoma City bombing. The justification? They also happened in April.
Actor and stand-up comic Jay Mohr used the tragic bombing of the Boston Marathon to attack gun rights. The actor, probably best known for his role as a sleazy sports agent in Jerry Maguire, used the bombing as an excuse to attack guns, as he demanded: "2nd amendment must go."
In later tweets he went on to slam his critics as people with gun "fetishes." The following are just some off Mohr's April 15 tweets: (LANGUAGE WARNING)
This morning at the Christian Science Monitor, Staff Writer Peter Grier demonstrated a stunning level of ignorance about the Boston Marathon's significance. He then built on that ignorance to posit that yesterday's bombing at the Marathon's finish line "could indicate that the bomber was a local or at least a native of the United States."
Among other things, Grier seems completely ignorant of the fact that Boston is one of six "World Marathon Majors" (the other five are New York, London, Tokyo, Berlin, and Chicago). The related paragraph from Grier's report, followed by other indicators of the Marathon's worldwide significance, follow the jump:
Those who might have given the Associated Press's Jimmy Golen the benefit of the doubt early this morning for writing that the Boston Marathon bombings "raised alarms that terrorists might have struck again in the U.S." are going to have a tougher time doing so with his 8:15 a.m. report, in which he wrote that "the blasts among the throngs of spectators raised fears of a terrorist attack." In context, readers can insert "that it was" to replace "of." (If he meant to write "that there will be another terorrist attack," he would have. He didn't.)
The first several paragraphs of Golen's report (since revised; the referenced report is saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) follow they jump:
On Monday, Matt Vespa at NewsBusters noted the reluctance of the Associated Press to characterize what it would only call an "extremist attack" in Mogadishu, Somalia as "terrorism."
In his early morning dispatch in the wake of the bombings at the Boston Marathon, the AP's Jimmy Golen at least used the word. But, incredibly, despite law enforcement authorities and others describing the bombings as an act of terrorism, Golen was still strangely tentative:
As NewsBusters reported earlier, MSNBC's Chris Matthews seems hell-bent on trying to blame the Boston Marathon bombing on a domestic terrorist, preferrably a conservative one.
After saying shortly into his Hardball program, "Normally domestic terrorists, people, tend to be on the far right," Matthews later asked his guests if Tax Day had something to do with the event since it doesn't mean a "whole lot to the Arab world or Islamic world or the, certainly not to al Qaeda" (video follows with transcript):
Just hours after explosions rocked the Boston Marathon on Monday, Chris Matthews speculated, "Normally domestic terrorists, people, tend to be on the far right." He then reconsidered and suggested, "...That’s not a good category, just extremists, let’s call them that." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
During live coverage, the Hardball host highlighted a possible explosion at John F. Kennedy's presidential library and thought this could be a personal attack on the Democratic Party: "...But going after 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. Does that tell you something?" (Police are now considering the incident at the JFK library to be fire-related.) One can only guess what it tells Chris.
"We don't know anything yet of course, but it is tax day & my first thought was all these anti-gov groups, but who knows," tweeted Khan, who immediately received a lot of blowback on Twitter for politicizing the tragedy. But rather than back down, Khan defended her speculation in subsequent tweets like these: