Dallas Morning News’s Wayne Slater become one of the first pundits after the shootings at the Holocaust Museum on Wednesday to hint that there was a connection to mainstream conservative activists. On CNN Newsroom, about two hours after the story broke, Slater linked this incident and the murder of abortionist George Tiller with “anti-tax secessionists in Texas,” his label for Tea Party protesters.
Anchor Rick Sanchez moderated a panel discussion on the Holocaust Museum shootings after the bottom of the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, in which Slater participated. Sanchez asked the Dallas Morning News political writer if criminals like this suspect are “motivated or do they need to be motivated?” He replied, not including the shooting of Tiller, but reaching back to include the Oklahoma City bombing perpetuated by Timothy McVeigh:
SLATER: They absolutely need to be motivated and are being motivated. Each of these episodes in recent weeks- whether it’s [the] killing of an abortion doctor- whether it was this Holocaust denier today, or whether it was others- whether you’re talking about Tim McVeigh or anti-tax secessionists in Texas- the interesting thing is they’re all separate, but they’re all hearing portions of the same echo chamber, a kind of dialogue- a toxic dialogue that’s subterranean in large parts. Remember, the man who was accused- who is accused of the most recent shooting of the abortion doctor, according to his ex-wife, had connections with the Montana Freemen, a kind of wild radical secessionist group. You hear not only these conversations about blacks and Jews, but about the government and about other hate-filled issues. It is- although they are separate- they are connected by a kind of dialogue of toxic ideology.
Slater’s label for the Tea Party protesters also could be referencing Texas Governor Rick Perry’s speech to a Tea Party in Austin, Texas. Sanchez immediately countered by bringing up another recent incident which Slater omitted- the shootings in front of the military recruiting center in Arkansas: “But they come in many forms and sizes. Abdulhakim, for example- Abdulhakim Muhammad, who just last week, according to police, shot a U.S. soldier...he wasn’t someone who we would normally see as someone motivated by some of the hate within this country. He got his, according to ABC News and our own confirmed reports now here at CNN, from Yemen.”
Three weeks earlier on May 19, Slater, a regular guest on Sanchez’s hour on CNN Newsroom, had accused President Bush of “presiding over a reign of bullies, with [Dick] Cheney and [Donald] Rumsfeld and Karl Rove pushing a partisan agenda.”