Yesterday morning, Floyd Lee Corkins II was sentenced by a federal judge in the District of Columbia to 25 years in prison for his act of terrorism and attempted murder last August at the Family Research Council. Corkins targeted the socially conservative think tank because of what he considered their "anti-gay" views. In an interrogation with the FBI, he admitted that he drew inspiration from a "hate map" on the website for the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)
But if you depend solely on ABC, CBS, or NBC's newscasts, you didn't learn any of this. Those networks completely ignored Corkins's sentencing both in September 19 evening news programs and their September 20 morning shows. What's more, the New York Times, which prides itself on publishing "all the news that's fit to print," failed to report the story at all in the Friday newspaper. The Washington Post ran a 28-paragraph story by staffer Ann Marimow, which was printed on page B3. Marimow's story lacked any mention, however, of the role the SPLC's website played in Corkins's planned attack.
Floyd Lee Corkins, the "man who planned a mass shooting at a conservative Christian lobbying group’s Washington headquarters in 2012 has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for the failed plot," the Associated Press reported shortly before noon Eastern Thursday. Yet nowhere in their four-paragraph story -- accessed here at WashingtonPost.com -- did the news wire note that Corkins admitted he was inspired by the website for the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Foiled shooter Floyd Corkins is being sentenced on Thursday for his attempted mass shooting at the conservative Family Research Council on August 15, 2012. On the front of Thursday's Metro section, Washington Post reporter Ann E. Marimow offered a positive story on security guard Leonardo Johnson, who was shot in the arm as he prevented Corkins from his murderous plot.
"I want to look in his eyes" was the headline, and Johnson was called a "Hero" in quotes. Why in quotes? Perhaps because his FRC co-workers properly call him "Leo the Hero."
CBS This Morning stood out on Friday for devoting a 18-second news brief to the newly-released security camera footage of Floyd Corkins II's attempted mass shooting at the Family Research Council in August 2012. Charlie Rose identified Corkins as a "domestic terrorist" who targeted the social conservative organization for "being anti-gay" [audio available here; video below the jump].
The morning newscast actually played a clip from the video, which shows the admitted felon pulling a handgun on security guard Leo Johnson and the subsequent physical altercation between the two. By contrast, ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today both ignored the footage, which FRC uploaded onto YouTube on Thursday.
One of the Washington Post's front-page stories on the Boston bombing had this headline when the story turned to page A7: "After a decade of plots foiled or botched, one success." That's a strange headline that seems to forget the "successful" terror attack at Fort Hood. Six paragraphs below that headline, reporters Scott Wilson and Peter Finn recall 13 dead and 30 wounded by Major Nidal Hasan.
After noting the failures of Omar Abdulmutallab (the unsuccessful "underwear bomber") and Faisal Shahzad (whose Times Square van bomb didn't detonate), Wilson and Finn unspooled six paragraphs of publicity for the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center to underline America's "far right" domestic threat:
The recent murders of local prosecutors in a north Texas county -- possibly at the hands of white supremacists -- was the news hook for MSNBC's The Cycle to bring Heidi Beirich of the left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) on to the April 2 program. In introducing the guest and justifying her expertise, co-host Ari Melber merely described the SPLC as "a group that documents that state of hate groups in America." [video follows page break; MP3 audio here]
It fell to token conservative co-host S.E. Cupp to remind viewers that SPLC leans to the left and has been criticized by conservatives for "smearing religious and far-right groups and ignoring far-left hate groups." "Shouldn't people be aware of your ideological biases before they take seriously [SPLC's] claims of who they should be afraid of?" Cupp argued. A bemused Beirich insisted she had to "dispute the notion of the question on its premise," adding that:
A day after the New York Times ignored the connection between Floyd Corkins, who attempted a mass murder at a conservative think tank, and the left-wing "hate group" monitor Southern Poverty Law Center, which had labeled FRC "anti-gay," there broke another case of bias by omission regarding news that might embarrass prominent liberals. Chris Dorner, an ex-cop on a vengeful rampage against police officers in Los Angeles, praised liberal media personalities in his oddly chatty "manifesto" posted on Facebook. Those details were absent from Friday's account by Adam Nagourney and Ian Lovett, "Manhunt On for Ex-Officer Accused of Police Vendetta."
Yet the Times has previously made up entirely fantastical accusations about conservatives like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Bill O'Reilly, accusing them with no links or evidence whatsoever of fanning flames of hatred that incited murder.
As of 9:47 ET this morning, according to the Associated Press, this is where the manhunt for Christopher Dorner stands: "Police spent all night searching the snowy mountains of Southern California but were unable to find the former Los Angeles police officer accused of carrying out a killing spree because he felt he was unfairly fired from his job.
We don't have to search very far for bias in the wire service's coverage of Dorner's "manifesto" (full uncensored version is here), which he apparently sent to CNN's Anderson Cooper. AP's unbylined report carrying excerpts from it cite Dorner's comments on the following politicians: former President George H. W. Bush (i.e., Bush 41), Hillary Clinton, Colin Powell, Chris Christie. Notably absent is any mention of our current president. As seen after the jump, Dorner effusively praises President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle (paragraph breaks added by me; expletive cleaned up):
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."
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.
"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:
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.]
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.
On the day after gunman Floyd Corkins attacked the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., ABC's World News on Thursday was the only broadcast network evening newscast to run a followup report which elaborated on Corkins's political opposition to the group's conservative views.
I was camping yesterday morning when a friend alerted me via Twitter on my iPhone there had been a shooting at Family Research Council headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Frightened for my friends, I began scanning Google for news reports. Ten minutes later the first story popped up, stating an FRC security guard had been shot in the arm, and the shooter had been arrested.
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.]
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.
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.”
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]: