How’s this for timing? The Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss, on the two-year-anniversary of the FRC shooting, launched its own attack on FRC – with the help of a study released by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the same group that inspired that shooter.
Here’s a quick recap: on August 15, 2012, a gunman entered the lobby of the Family Research Council in Washington D.C, planning to kill everyone inside the building and then smear Chick-Fil-A sandwiches in their faces (at the time, Chick-Fil-A was under fire for comments that its CEO, Dan Cathy, had made in support of traditional marriage). The gunman’s plot was only foiled by the quick thinking of the building manager, Leo Johnson, who ended up taking a bullet in the arm in the process.
One of the big steps in winning a social or political battle these days is defining the terms to be used in the debate. Remember how an “unborn child” became an antiseptic “fetus” during the start of the abortion debate? And how left-wingers now call themselves “progressives” since George H. W. Bush turned “liberal” into a slur during his 1988 presidential campaign?
According to a Thursday post by Daily Beast Washington reporter Michelle Cottle, the latest example of this principle is the Family Research Council's use of the phrase “natural marriage” instead of “traditional marriage,” a move to change the terms of the debate because the conservative organization had been “getting its butt kicked.”
In 2007, Senator David Vitter was implicated in a prostitution ring involving the infamous “D.C. Madam.” Since then the senator apologized to his wife and family as well as the citizens of Louisiana, who, apparently, forgave him, as attested to their reelecting him to the U.S. Senate.
But that didn’t stop The Times-Picayune from publishing a story recently which selectively quoted from Family Research Council president Tony Perkins -- himself a former Republican member of the Louisiana House of Representatives -- in such a way as to suggest that the "far right" -- their words -- social conservative leader was opposed to Vitter's candidacy.
Religious freedom is under attack – first and foremost in the United States military – according to The Family Research Council, a Christian conservative non-profit dedicated to advancing and protecting “Faith, Family and Freedom.”
It’s been said that facts are stubborn things. True enough, but that doesn’t daunt the “journalists” at The Washington Post. Faced with uncomfortable information, those intrepid truth-tellers … ignore it.
That’s what Sean Sullivan and Scott Clement did writing on the Post’s overtly liberal “The Fix” blog. On Nov. 26, the day the Supreme Court agreed to hear Hobby Lobby’s suit against Obamacare’s contraception mandate, the two asserted that “most Americans like contraceptive mandate for businesses.” Sullivan and Clement wrote, “based on the data we have seen, the public, for what it’s worth, doesn’t seem to think private companies should be exempted.”
Floyd Corkins Jr. pleaded guilty on Wednesday to wounding a security guard at the Washington headquarters of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian lobbying group fighting against gay marriage, on August 15 last year. Corkins was carrying 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches at the time – the restaurant chain noteworthy for its public, Christian-based opposition to gay marriage – and intended to rub the sandwiches in his victims' faces.
The New York Times made do with a brief from Reuters that did not mention a vital angle: That FRC was brought to the attention of Corkins via the website of the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center, which has labeled FRC a "hate group."
It was huge news. A map targeting those with opposing viewpoints led to a tragic attack. Partisan rhetoric was out of control and fringe-types were being driven to gun commit gun crimes. Except that, in the case of the Gabby Giffords shooting two years ago, none of those things were even remotely true. But that didn’t stop the media from breathlessly conjecturing that a target-festooned map on Sarah Palin’s website had pointed Jared Loughner to Rep. Giffords, and that Palin’s “reload” rhetoric made him shoot.
But now we have a case in which a politically motivated shooter has confessed to choosing his targets according to a map. In fact, it was a “hate map” created by the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). But ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN aren’t talking.
After a man shot a security guard at the Family Research Council (FRC) last summer, the organization claimed it was targeted because the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) listed it as a "hate group."
The shooter has now revealed that he indeed used that SPLC map to find his target. And CNN has not only promoted this list of "hate groups" in the past, but after the shooting it re-affirmed the FRC's place on the list as "hate spewing hate."
"A grand jury indicted Floyd Lee Corkins II, 28, of Herndon, Va., on a federal charge of interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition, and two District of Columbia offenses: assault with intent to kill while armed and possession of a handgun during a crime of violence," reported CBS News and the Associated Press yesterday shortly after 5 p.m. Eastern. CBSNews.com carried the story in the "daily blotter" section of its Crimesider feature. "Corkins' parents told investigators that he was a supporter of gay rights, and he said he didn't agree with the FRC's politics before the shooting, according to the documents," the article added.
Yet last night's CBS Evening News completely ignored the story, as did ABC's World News and NBC's Nightly News. The August 23 editions of those networks' morning shows also ignored the story. A search of our DVR recordings also found no mention of the indictment on the ultra-liberal, fervently pro-gay rights MSNBC network. John Berman of CNN's Starting Point did briefly touch on the story in the 7:00 a.m. news brief:
Predictably, left-wing radio talker Mike Malloy blames the Family Research Council for being targeted by a pro-gay rights activist who allegedly opened fire at their headquarters and wounded a security guard.
What is surprising about Malloy's rant, even to those of us familiar with this most vampiric of radio hosts, is its jaw-dropped toxicity -- an American version of Radio Rwanda, circa 1994. (Audio clip after page break) --
CNN already understands why the Family Research Council (FRC) was labeled a "hate group" by the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). On Saturday, CNN gave more credibility to the SPLC as anchor Randi Kaye cited the group as a credible source on "hate groups" in the U.S. right after quoting their explanation for the FRC's "hate group" label.
"Statistics show hate groups are on the rise in this country. The Southern Poverty Law Center counted more than 1,000 known hate groups operating in the U.S. last year, and the FBI reported nearly 7,000 hate crimes," reported Kaye during the 10 a.m. hour of CNN Newsroom. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
MRC Research Director and NewsBusters senior editor Rich Noyes appeared on FNC's The O'Reilly Factor Friday night to talk about the so-called "mainstream" media's lack of interest in news that a volunteer at D.C.-based gay group walked into the Family Research Council's offices and opened fire, wounding a security guard.
Guest host Juan Williams branded the lack of coverage "outrageous." Noyes described how if the reverse had happened -- a Christian conservative volunteer invading a liberal headquarters with 50 rounds of ammo -- the same networks that barely touched the FRC shooting would undoubtedly have provided far more intensive coverage.
Floyd Corkins, a volunteer for the last six months at the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community, marched into the Family Research Center with a gun and serious ammunition, denounced FRC’s policy positions, and shot a security guard in the arm before being subdued. Another hate crime, but this time against perhaps the pre-eminent pro-family organization in America. CBS gave the story 20 seconds. NBC spent 17 seconds.
Imagine a volunteer for the Family Research Council marching into some gay group’s headquarters with a gun, and after shouting his opposition to the homosexual agenda, opened fire and wounded a guard before being subdued. Never mind evening news. This would be Breaking News! and for days there would be seemingly endless coverage of continued conservative hatred.
CNN's Brooke Baldwin couldn't find a motive behind the Family Research Council shooting, on Thursday afternoon – despite CNN having earlier reported that "politics" was involved in the shooting at the conservative organization.
"You know, who knows what really was the motive behind this particular individual Floyd Lee Corkins?" Baldwin wondered at 3:10 p.m. EDT, even though anchor Suzanne Malveaux stated at 1:31 p.m. EDT, "Witnesses say that Floyd Lee Corkins walked into the conservative group's headquarters, told the security guard 'I don't like your politics,' and then shot him in the arm." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Over eight hours of broadcast time, Thursday, the network morning shows devoted a scant two minutes and 57 seconds to Wednesday's shooting at the conservative Family Research Council (FRC). Good Morning America on ABC offered the most time, a still tiny two minutes and 22 seconds. But at least guest anchor Josh Elliott revealed key details about the alleged shooter's possible motive, such as the fact that Floyd Corkins "was a volunteer at a local LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] center." CBS This Morning totally skipped the story.
ABC reporter Pierre Thomas added, "Sources say [Corkins] had items from fast food giant Chick-fil-A in his bag, but it was unclear whether Wednesday's incident had any ties to the recent controversy on gay marriage." Thomas then gratuitously noted, "The company's owner recently set off a political firestorm, suggesting he opposed gay marriage." (CEO Dan Cathy created a "firestorm" by simply giving his opinion on an issue? Wouldn't it be fair to say that liberal groups whipped up the anger?)
The shooting of a security guard at the D.C. headquarters of the Family Research Council, a social conservative group, by a volunteer for a local gay community center, failed to raise the New York Times's usual politically motivated concerns about harmful and hateful rhetoric it's shown in the past.
Most notoriously, the Times repeatedly, falsely, and maliciously suggested that Tucson gunman Jared Loughner, who killed six people and seriously wounded Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, had been motivated to kill by conservatism in general and Sarah Palin in particular, even before any information about Loughner was available.
Imagine if, God forbid, this exact same thing had happened at a Planned Parenthood or the Southern Law Poverty Center, which labeled both Chick-fil-A and FRC hate groups. We’d be hearing an endless loop of stories about the danger of militant, hate-filled right wing wackos.
CNN's Piers Morgan is up in arms again over guns, and tried to use Wednesday's shooting at the Family Research Council to shill for more gun control. There's one problem – the shooter was not obeying Washington D.C.'s strict gun laws.
"We've had only today the conservative Family Research Council, a shooting that may well have been politically motivated," Morgan said before asking Newark Mayor Corey Booker (D), "When you take all these things into consideration, you must be disappointed that the President isn't ordering some new form of gun control, aren't you?" [Video below the break. Audio here.]
ABC was the only broadcast network that offered a full story on the FRC office shooting on Wednesday night. They led with the story and gave it two and a half minutes. None of the network newscasts reported the breaking detail that shooter Floyd Corkins volunteered for six months at the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community, adding depth to his political motivation.
On NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams gave the story just 17 seconds: “In Washington today, police say a man with a gun walked into the offices of the conservative lobbying group the Family Research Council, and opened fire. He never made it past the lobby. He shot a security guard in the arm before the guard was able to subdue him.”
By Matthews' own past statements, wouldn't an examination of the possible root causes of the FRC shooting be warranted? On January 10, 2011, Matthews said of the Giffords attack: "Sarah Palin using gun play language. What is she talking about crosshairs and reloading...and Bachmann out there with her kind of talk." He hinted, "Why are guns talked about so much, especially on the right? Why?"
Shortly before 11 a.m. this morning, 28-year-old Floyd Corkins opened fire on a security guard at the conservative Family Research Center, located in downtown Washington, D.C. Local news stations, including NBC's Washington station, devoted resources to cover the developing story, as did CNN and Fox News, which regularly updated viewers with progress in the investigation.
But MSNBC devoted a scant 17 seconds to the story, in a news brief at 2:51 p.m. Eastern by News Nation substitute anchor Jose Diaz-Balart, and ignored noting that it may well be classified as an incident of domestic terrorism [MP3 audio here; video contrasting coverage follows page break]:
Even after the shooting of a security guard at the Family Research Council, the Huffington Post can’t stop slamming the pro-family organization as a “hate group.” The Huffington Post waited less than three hours before publishing an article which complained about “the Family Research Council, which the Southern Poverty Law Center deems a hate group.”
Contributor Waymon Hudson, in an August 15 article titled “Paul Ryan: Poster Boy of Today’s Extreme GOP,” posted an attack on Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan which slammed the Family Research Council on 1:36 PM – less than three hours after the shooting, which took place around 10:45 AM. Attacking Ryan as an extremist, Hudson complained that Ryan “has agreed to address the Family Research Council, which the Southern Poverty Law Center deems a hate group, at the organizations annual Voters Value Summit in September.”
(UPDATED: The Washington Post reports "A law enforcement official said at one point in the scuffle, the shooter expressed views that differed from those of the Family Research Council. The official also said the shooter was carrying a bag that had a Chick-Fil-A bag inside." NBC Washington identified the suspect as Floyd Corkins, 28.)
There was a shooting Wednesday morning at the Family Research Council in Washington. The suspect "made statements regarding their policies, and then opened fire with a gun striking a security guard," a source told Fox News.None of the other breaking reports seem to refer to a political motive, but AP's early coverage includes the information that FRC president Tony Perkins recently came to the defense of Chick-fil-A and their president Dan Cathy: