Op-Ed

Charlie Kirk: The Media's El Paso Narrative Is Shameful, Deliberate and Dangerous

We knew what the left-wing media narrative about this weekend’s mass shootings would be before the bodies of the victims were cold: President Donald Trump, his supporters and anyone else who opposes the political agenda of progressives are the real perpetrators.

“[I]f Mr. Trump did not originally inspire the gunman, he has brought into the mainstream polarizing ideas and people once consigned to the fringes of American society,” The New York Times’ Peter Baker and Michael Shear sneered in a “news analysis” — not opinion — piece Sunday.

Their gambit, assembled with help from anti-Trump reporter Maggie Haberman, is based entirely on the typo-laden “manifesto” that the domestic terrorist posted before opening fire in an El Paso, Texas Walmart. In addition to a rant about “race-mixing,” the killer wanted us to know that the Republican Party is “terrible” and that his views “pre[-]date” Donald Trump.

No matter. The mass murderer also talked about immigration, so this is obviously our fault.

It’s our fault for supporting a president who was critical of mass illegal immigration, which the media consider no different from condoning white nationalist terrorism.

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If you donate to Donald Trump, you’re “financing white supremacy,” MSNBC Joe Scarborough declared Monday.

It’s our fault for consuming content from right-leaning news outlets — or rather, the “hate-for-profit machine that gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracists,” as Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren labeled Fox News. The New York Times’s analysis is replete with shrill complaints about the supposed “anti-immigrant screeds” by Fox News and Breitbart.

This shameful exercise would merely be tiresome if it didn’t represent such a fundamental affront to the norms of civil discourse.

Shortly after President Trump delivered formal remarks Monday morning in response to the weekend shootings, Haberman co-wrote an article dismissing the president’s condemnation of “racism, bigotry, and white supremacy,” complaining that his words were insufficient because he did not accept “responsibility” for “his own anti-immigrant rhetoric.”

Supporting border security and lower levels of immigration are not extremist views. They are not “white nationalism.” They did not need to be “brought into the mainstream,” because they were already mainstream — large majorities of Americans supported them for decades.

Donald Trump merely took up the banner of border security at a time when the Republican establishment was too timid to do so, in the process creating the greatest mass American political movement of the 21st century and shocking the world as he rode it all the way to the White House.

In truth, the only immigration policy position that has been “brought into the mainstream” in recent years is the open-borders advocacy of the new Democratic Party. Those are views that gained mass support on the left only after The New York Times and the rest of the liberal media threw the last shreds of their integrity to the wind to engage in anti-Trump “#resistance” full time.

Far from being “people once consigned to the fringes,” the immigration reform groups and conservative voices that the Times cites have been at the center of American political discourse for decades. They have only been “consigned to the fringes” by outlets such as The New York Times uncritically repeating the outrageous anti-conservative smears of outfits such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, as it did in its coverage of the El Paso shooting.

The message is clear, and it’s the same one the media have been peddling from the moment Trump announced his run for president: if you want enforcement of America’s immigration laws and a secure border, you’re a white nationalist. If you watch Fox News and read Breitbart more than MSNBC and The Washington Post, you’re a racist, and if you don’t desist from your Trump-supporting ways, you’re at the very least tacitly supporting domestic terrorism.

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As always, they just needed a tragedy they could manipulate to prop up that narrative. The terroristic mass murder in El Paso is a strained fit, but that’s never stopped them before. Until all opposition to the Democratic Party’s political program is pathologized into “white nationalism,” until all conservative media are demonized as incitement to terrorism, and until supporting the president is seen as tantamount to political violence, the leftists in the media will not rest.

The corollary to this clear and deliberate editorial line is that leftist political violence will be ignored, sanitized, and — in the most shameful cases — justified.

The mainstream media have downplayed antifa beatings of Trump supporters and journalists, blatantly ignored a terrorist attack by an armed antifa activist on an ICE facility in Washington State last month, and promoted gun control in response to a leftist madman opening fire on a group of Republican congressmen in 2017.

The hypocrisy is only accelerating.

The details are still sketchy, but it appears that the man who killed nine people outside a Dayton, Ohio, bar just hours after the El Paso attack ran a Twitter account that identified him as a “leftist.” The account followed and retweeted dozens of leading antifa accounts and far-left journalists, called the Trump administration racist, endorsed attacks on ICE agents, and, most disturbing of all, advocated for shooting “fascists.”

The New York Times, The Washington Post, and most other liberal media outlets have completely ignored this while festooning Monday’s editions with headlines such as, “Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric looms over El Paso massacre.”

Meanwhile, as the Times was castigating Trump for inciting violence, former CNN host Reza Aslan was calling for counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway — and arguably, by extension, Trump’s supporters more broadly — to be eradicated.

The domestic terrorist attacks in El Paso and Dayton are a national tragedy, and the normalization of political violence in this country is a disaster that will have long-lasting consequences.

If we allow the media to exploit the shedding of innocent blood to undermine our democracy, stigmatize a president they hate, and justify their monopoly on public discourse, however, that would be an even greater blow to our country.

CORRECTION, Aug. 8, 2019: This Op-Ed referred to the shooting that occurred in Dayton as having occurred in Toledo, Ohio, in one sentence. That has been corrected. The correct location was given elsewhere throughout the Op-Ed.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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