Echoing a sickeningly common sentiment among the Left's most hateful vile online trolls, a Democratic Party official in Nebraska has been caught on tape applauding last week's shooting spree carried out by a liberal activist who targeted Republican members of Congress as they practiced for a baseball game. Not to be confused with a separate Nebraska Democrat who expressed amusement at the shooting -- tying her glee to a disagreement over gun rights, and later doubling down -- this cretin expressed bitter disappointment that James Hodgkinson didn't finish the job in assassinating House Majority Whip Steve Scalise. Content Warning:
A Nebraska Democratic Party official is now in hot water. An audio recording was posted on YouTube Thursday with Phil Montag, a technology chairman, voicing how glad he was that House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., got shot last week at a GOP baseball practice. Nebraska Democratic Party Chairwoman Jane Kleeb confirmed to FOX 42 News Thursday it was really his voice. "His whole job is to get people, convince Republicans to (expletive) kick people off (expletive) health care. I'm glad he got shot," said Montag in the audio recording. Montag is now looking for a new job; Kleeb let him go after the recording became public. "I wish he was (expletive) dead," said Montag in the recording.
For the crime of following through on a campaign pledge to replace a failing law, Phil Montag wished death upon Rep. Scalise. Montag was fired after his comments were publicly revealed, and has since been let go by his 'day job' employer, as well. In New Jersey, a Democratic operative started a #HuntRepublicans social media hashtag, justifying violence against elected GOP officials. Under Democrat-imposed media rules, every leading Democrat should be asked about these comments and actions. Republicans are routinely inundated with press questions whenever anyone steps out of line on the center-right, from a failed Senate candidate in Missouri, to a radio talk show host not running for office, to a low-profile Capitol Hill staffer. Democrats must live under the same standards. As such, reporters should beat a trail to Sen. Elizabeth Warren's door to get her reaction to all of this as soon as possible.
Yesterday, she accused Republicans of trafficking in "blood money," killing Americans to fund tax cuts for the greedy. As a prominent member of the party that falsely blamed rhetoric for a 2011 assassination attempt against a Democrat, does she worry how people like James Hodgkinson might internalize and act upon her frenzied attacks? And if she believes Republicans are willing to effectively sentence people to death to reap "blood money" for millionaires, does she believe that physical violence could understandably be seen as an appropriate 'remedy' by members of her extreme flock? (I've made very clear that I don't believe that conflating rhetoric or disagreements with violence is healthy or fair, and blaming speech for criminal actions is often a form of delegitimization).
And while we're on the subject of how the mainstream media treats the two major political parties differently, please read this extensive analysis from The Federalist illustrating how the press covered the Giffords shooting more than twice as heavily as the Scalise shooting. It's true that the Tucson attack killed several people, including a judge, which certainly added to the 'news value' -- but the Alexandria assault targeted multiple members of Congress, and was clearly politically motivated. So an absence of compelling news "hooks" or storylines was not an explanatory factor here, nor was the geographical proximity of the incident to major news bureaus. Having thought about it a bit, I see no good reason for this significant coverage disparity. One might unfairly conclude that the media is less upset by, and therefore less fixated on, assassination attempts against conservatives (this is certainly untrue of the vast majority of journalists, perhaps with some exceptions).
Alternatively, one might conclude that the notoriously left-leaning press is demoralized or discomfited by anti-Republican violence that severely undercuts a narrative that so many of them simply assume to be a Larger Truth. It's harder and less appealing to mount sustained coverage of a story that reflects poorly on your end of the ideological spectrum. That's human nature. I have no interest in suggesting that journalists lack humanity or don't care about what happened to Scalise. But the disconnect between two strikingly similar events, six years apart, does merit some self-reflection in mainstream newsrooms. Major networks and newspapers should have a good, hard think about how this juxtaposition could possibly be justified:
National media covered the incident voraciously for several hours, but within a day, most had moved on to another leak in the Russia story. Less than 48 hours after a multiple assassination attempt on members of Congress, there were no media vans or cameras at the Alexandria baseball field where it occurred. Just for perspective, when Republican staffer Elizabeth Lauten committed the offense of writing something critical of President Obama’s daughters on her private Facebook page, news cameras were camped on her parents’ lawn staking her out for the better part of a week.
That illustration comes from this excellent piece by Mary Katharine Ham, who highlights the infuriating and alienating hubris and mean-spiritedness displayed by too many on the hard Left over the past week or so. An additional sampling from her worthwhile and cathartic essay:
Rep. Mo Brooks faced the question about his Second Amendment views just minutes after someone literally tried to murder him. Can we take a moment to think about how utterly crass this is? Imagine an abortion bomber blowing up a Planned Parenthood grand opening in Washington DC, injuring members of Congress in attendance. Then imagine most national news coverage including this question for their colleagues who escaped maiming: “Shouldn’t you probably consider changing your views on abortion? Maybe pass some common-sense limits on it?” ...Republicans literally had guns held to their heads, so they should renounce their rights to armed self-defense? Republicans were victims of a multiple assassination attempt, and it warrants half the coverage of the assassination attempt on a Democrat six years earlier? Republicans were shot by a partisan political adversary, so they should be careful how much they celebrate electoral wins?
It all revealed once again the overweening cultural hubris of the American Left, which has been in control of so many institutions and the prevailing political narrative for so long, it can’t conceive of Republicans as victims even when they’re being shot. Many of them are cultural bullies convinced of their righteousness, and as [Joy] Reid did, they’ll kick you when you’re down after being shot on a baseball field. Why, it’s enough to drive you to hire a giant, coarse, shameless bully of your own and make him president...The behavior of many on the Left and in elite institutions this week sent a message, very loud and clear, that not only do they not “get” the other half of the country; they don’t want to. They’re not only out of touch; they think the rest of you are untouchables.
Center-Right New York Times columnist Bret Stephens echoed a similar theme in his weekly offering. I'll leave you with a liberal blogger seizing on the occasion of Scalise's hospitalization after an assassination attempt to lecture him about why he's wrong about healthcare. A perfect example of what Ham and Stephens are getting at:
Even if you grant the entire premise here, which I don't, this is still gross. It would be like writing a piece within days of the Tucson shooting insisting that after her brush with death, Giffords should have seen the light on the sanctity of life and changed her stance on abortion. If you're scoring political points on behalf of your partisan hobby horses by running a 'gotcha' piece explaining why a gravely wounded opponent should now agree with you on issue X, you're doing it wrong.