The same media outlets who quickly identified the Planned Parenthood shooter as a right wing religious terrorist because his incoherent ramblings included the phrase “baby parts” are now struggling to figure out why a Muslim man shot up a gay nightclub, despite his explicit statement he did the deed “for ISIS.”
Hours after news broke that a man had opened fire in a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic, media outlets like The Washington Post used a comment he made about baby parts to connect him to pro-life activists up in arms about the exposure of Planned Parenthood’s dealings in aborted fetuses.
The suspect used the phrase “no more baby parts” to “explain his actions” to police, The Washington Post reported in the lead of the story. The next line was an anonymous quote from an official saying the attack was “definitely politically motivated.”
CNN and other outlets also ran with the baby parts comment, and used more details as they emerged, such as Dear’s registration as a Republican voter and his claims to be a Christian, to build on the narrative that Christian pro-life conservatives are in part responsible for the attack. “For Robert Dear, Religion and Rage Before Planned Parenthood Attack,” read a New York Times headline a few days later. Attorney General Loretta Lynch called the attack a “crime against women receiving health care services.”
Dear was subsequently found not competent to stand trial and has since been committed to a mental institution.
Less than six months later, Omar Mateen couldn’t have been more clear. “I did it for ISIS,” he told a local news outlet after opening fire in an Orlando nightclub. “I did it for the Islamic State.”
Since the shooting we have also learned Mateen was investigated by the FBI twice for suspected terror ties, and has a history of threatening violence on the basis of Islam. Yet media outlets including The New York Times insist the motivation behind Mateen’s attack is unclear, citing a range of causes, from a history of spousal abuse to his identity as a gay man to his “confused” understanding of the difference between ISIS and al-Qaida.
“While the precise motivation for the rampage remains unclear, it is evident that Mr. Mateen was driven by hatred toward gays and lesbians,” wrote TheNYT editorial board.
“Politicians will continue to use ‘radical Islam’ as a culprit,” journalist Jessica Nordell wrote in The Washington Post. “But it’s not clear that Mateen was motivated by ideology; indeed, he claimed to support a jumble of groups with conflicting points of view.”
Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced Monday authorities would release the transcripts of Mateen’s phone conversations “so people can understand, as we do, possibly what motivated this killer, what led him to this place.”
The FBI redacted mention of allegiance to radical Islam from the released conversations, saying it will help prevent Mateen from inspiring would-be jihadists to carry out future attacks.
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