Politico's Headline on Anti-Trump Van Attack Makes It Sound Like an Accident


It has become commonplace for the establishment media to downplay acts of political violence from the left when the victims are on the right while providing sensationalized coverage for weeks on end when the roles are reversed in a violent incident.

The latest example of such was an incident over the weekend in Jacksonville, Florida, that received little coverage in the media, as it involved a man driving a van directly through a tent set up by Republican volunteers as part of a voter registration drive in support of President Donald Trump.

Thankfully, none of the Trump-supporting volunteers — some of whom were elderly — were injured during what was undoubtedly a dangerous and frightening incident, and the man was soon arrested by law enforcement and now faces several criminal charges.

Much of the media ignored the incident, but one outlet that did cover the incident, Politico, did so in a way that perfectly exemplifies the dismissive manner in which anti-Republican violence is downplayed or framed in a way to make the victims look like the bad guys.

Freelance journalist Jeryl Bier posted a screenshot of the Politico article and directed attention to the ridiculously biased headline — “Republicans vow ‘revenge’ at ballot box after volunteers nearly hit by van” — that sought to portray the incident as little more than an unfortunate accident that Republicans were overreacting to with threats of “revenge.”

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But the contents of the actual article differ significantly from the manner in which the story was framed by the headline. The incident wasn’t some minor accident, and the quoted word “revenge” was taken entirely out of the context in which it had been uttered by a Republican Party leader.

First, the incident itself: A 27-year-old man named Gregory Timm approached the Republican volunteers and their tent in a Walmart parking lot in Jacksonville, Florida, with his van. Timm made obscene gestures and remarks to the volunteers, began recording on his cellphone and then plowed his van through the tent and table and chairs that had been set up to conduct the voter registration drive on behalf of Trump’s 2020 campaign.

All of the volunteers had managed to scramble out of the way of Timm’s van and avoid being injured or killed, and Timm was shortly thereafter arrested and charged with aggravated assault, criminal mischief and driving without a license.

While local authorities were reportedly looking into whether any sort of political motivations factored into Timm’s criminal and potentially deadly act, those motivations seemed obvious to Dean Black, the chairman of the Duval County Republican Party, who darkly joked in a news conference, “The only other explanation is some great hatred for tables and chairs.”

As for the bit in Politico’s headline about Republicans vowing “revenge” for the obviously politically motivated attack, that also came from something Black had said at the news conference — albeit conveniently leaving out the part where he explicitly called on Republicans to not respond to the attack with any violence of their own.

“The best revenge is victory,” the Republican leader said. “Righteous, peaceful victory in November for President Trump and all Republican candidates.”

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That’s quite a bit different than the implication put forward by the Politico headline, which was quite transparently meant to insinuate that Republicans would respond to the attack in kind, perhaps by a vehicular attack on a Democratic voter registration drive or on Democrats participating in primary elections.

As an aside, another prominent aspect of the liberal media’s clear bias against the right was touched on by another GOP leader in the Sunday news conference — calls for civility between partisan opponents.

“Almost on a daily basis we hear about civility and importance of civility, especially from the left,” Republican Party of Florida Chairman Joe Gruters said. “What’s not civil is plowing a van through a voter registration drive.”

Indeed, attempted vehicular homicide is pretty much the opposite of “civility,” and the downplaying of this act of violence while simultaneously hyping a purported call for “revenge” — as if it were an over-the-top and unnecessary reaction — is nothing short of disgusting, especially considering how vastly different the media coverage would be if the roles in this incident had been reversed.

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Ben Marquis is a writer who identifies as a constitutional conservative/libertarian. He has written about current events and politics for The Western Journal since 2014. His focus is on protecting the First and Second Amendments.
Ben Marquis has written on current events and politics for The Western Journal since 2014. He reads voraciously and writes about the news of the day from a conservative-libertarian perspective. He is an advocate for a more constitutional government and a staunch defender of the Second Amendment, which protects the rest of our natural rights. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, with the love of his life as well as four dogs and four cats.
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