In 2012, ABC falsely reported that Colorado theater mass murderer James Holmes was a member of a local tea party group. In 2011, many in the media rushed to label Jared Lee Loughner, the gunman who killed six people and injured many others at a political event near Tucson Arizona, a conservative.
While Loughner’s main target, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, is a Democrat, some of his friends described him as a liberal, and it soon became clear that his motives had little to do with politics.
Then there was Joseph Stack, who in 2010 killed one person and himself and injured thirteen others when he flew his small plane into an IRS building in Austin, Texas. Stack was fed up over being audited by the IRS for failure to report income. In his suicide note, Stack expressed hatred of the government, the IRS and unions, which prompted many liberals to portray him as a conservative. But he also loathed George W. Bush and the Catholic Church and, according to friends, admired communism.
A small minority of people on the left and the right are capable of political violence. And so are people with views that don’t fit neatly into a single ideological camp. It’s not asking too much for the media to acknowledge that.
Former presidential candidate Gary Bauer is president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families.