Major media outlets have been cautious in their characterization of the San Bernardino shooters and their motives, only reluctantly mentioning their Islamic and terror ties, yet those same outlets immediately seized on Dylann Roof’s race and creed in the aftermath of the Charleston shooting.
Outlets including The New York Times are making every effort to extricate Syed Farook and his wife from their ties to global Islamic terror networks. “There is no evidence that the Islamic State directed Tashfeen Malik and her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, to launch the attacks,” begins a New York Times lede.
But after the Charleston shooting, The New York Times did the exact opposite — immediately connecting Roof’s actions to his race, religion and creed. “In the coming days, the world will find out more about Dylann Storm Roof and his state of mind,” Douglas Egerton wrote in The New York Times Magazine at the time. “But to dismiss him as simply a troubled young man is to disregard history.”
“For 198 years, angry whites have attacked Emanuel A.M.E. and its congregation, and when its leaders have fused faith with political activism, white vigilantes have used terror to silence its ministers and mute its message of progress and hope,” he continued.
Here is a sampling of the most egregious headlines after the Charleston shooting and after the San Bernardino shooting, which reveal an unsurprising but stunning hypocrisy on behalf of many editors and journalists.
In the first 24 hours after the Charleston shooting:
- Before Charleston’s Church Shooting, a Long History of Attacks : TheNYT Magazine
- Republicans avoid talk of race, guns after Charleston shooting : Reuters
- South Carolina Shooting Suspect Seemed Troubled, Drawn to White Supremacy : Reuters
- White gunman caught in killing of 9 in historic black church : Associated Press
- Suspected South Carolina shooter posed online in apartheid flags : Reuters
- With Charleston Shooting, a Time to Stop Teaching Children About the ‘History’ of Racial Violence : TheNYT
In the first 24 hours after the San Bernardino shooting:
- San Bernardino Suspects Left Trail of Clues, No Clear Motives : TheNYT
- Muslims Fear Demonization of Islam After Mass Shooting : Reuters
- US Muslim advocates: Islam not to blame for California shooting : Reuters
- Motives Behind Mass Violence Can Be a Complex Mix : Associated Press
- Republican Candidates talk Tough on ‘Radical Islam’ After California Attack : Reuters
- Obama Says Motive for California Shooting Not Yet Clear : Reuters
The Charleston shooting was “clearly” racially motivated, Boston Globe columnist Michael Cohen tweeted in June. “That Jeb Bush can’t say Charleston was racially motivated (which it clearly was) tells you all you need to know about the modern GOP & race,” he wrote.
That Jeb Bush can't say Charleston was racially motivated (which it clearly was) tells you all you need to know about the modern GOP & race
— Michael Cohen (@speechboy71) June 19, 2015
But in the case of the San Bernardino shooting, he tweeted: “It doesn’t matter if the killer is Muslim, white or male. Motive doesn’t matter either. All that matters is he/she was able to get a gun.”
It doesn't matter if the killer is Muslim, white or male. Motive doesn't matter either. All that matters is he/she was able to get a gun
— Michael Cohen (@speechboy71) December 3, 2015
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