After the shooting of Representative Steve Scalise (R-La.), two Capitol Police officers, a House aide, and a lobbyist, there has been much speculation about a motive for the attack. A lot of that speculation has centered around the political leanings of the shooter, who by all accounts was a Bernie Sanders supporter and loathed Republicans. CNN tried to lend more weight to the shooter’s political leanings as a possible motive. The interview they used, however, is cringeworthy.
What? CNN clip: "he wasn't evil. That he was, I guess, tired of the politics that was going on."— Rob Eno (@Robeno) June 14, 2017
Very odd statement. pic.twitter.com/0vRUJkDNEc
In the video, a person CNN described as an acquaintance of James T. Hodgkinson III reflected on him, saying, “[Hodgkinson] wasn’t evil. That he was, I guess, tired of the politics that was going on.”
The statement was very odd and reminds one of the stories the media rushes out after terrorist attacks about how the terrorist was a “good neighbor” and was “never any trouble.” Even Wolf Blitzer, coming back from the video, looked briefly somewhat taken aback by the statement. Other cable outlets, such as Fox News, also used the video in their coverage.
The rush by cable news producers to normalize evil actors is less than helpful in such situations. The narrative that emerges is one that casts terrorists, murderers, and, in this case, a deceased attempted murderer in a positive light. The practice should end.
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Robert Eno is the director of research for Conservative Review. He is a conservative from deep blue Massachusetts but now lives in Greenville, SC. If you see something you’d like him to cover, tweet him @robeno.