One of the examples conservatives frequently—and rightly—use when discussing bias in media coverage is the Congressional baseball shootings that took place June 14, 2017, in Alexandria, Virginia during a practice game.
Four people were shot, including Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), who was nearly killed by deranged Bernie Sanders supporter and Trump hater James T. Hodgkinson, who specifically targeted Republicans (many GOP lawmakers were on the field that day) for assassination. Hodgkinson, 66, later died from injuries he sustained from a shootout with Capitol Police and Alexandria Police officers.
We all remember how the story largely disappeared from view after about the first 48 hours or so, primarily because the shooting could not be linked to “right-wing extremism.” Though there were scattered reports and updates on Scalise’s condition afterward, the story went missing from the front pages of national newspapers and cable news outlets like CNN and MSNBC outside of random attempts to blame Trump and conservatives for what happened. It took the FBI five years to “quietly admit” the leftist shooting attack on sitting members of Congress was domestic terrorism.
On the one-year anniversary of the Capitol riot this past Thursday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis correctly pointed out that the day was like “Christmas” to the media and Democrats, saying that they would use the day to “smear” any supporter of former President Trump. He also decried comparisons of the Capitol riot to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and noted the disparities between the coverage of the Congressional baseball shootings and the Capitol riot.
“That was like a one-day, two-day story,” said DeSantis, who at the time was a member of Congress and had left the game shortly before the shootings started. “That was not something that the Capitol-based press wanted to talk about. Why? Because it totally undercut their preferred narratives. January 6th allows them to create narratives that are negative about people that supported Donald Trump.”
New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, who is also a political analyst for CNN, was triggered by DeSantis’s comments and took to the Twitter machine to dispute his claims, declaring that the Congressional baseball shootings “were a huge story”:
A number of folks including CNN commentator Mary Katharine Ham countered Haberman’s claim with some inconvenient facts:
Haberman never responded directly to any of her critics, of course, because apparently, that’s beneath her. Instead, she latched on to fellow CNNer Andrew Kaczynski’s (failed) attempt at undercutting what Ham said of coverage at the time, and claimed Ham was trying to “pick a fight”:
Later, Haberman appeared to agree with an NBC News photographer’s comment about the media’s coverage of the Congressional baseball shootings, while also insinuating that from a “proportionate” perspective the Capitol riot got more coverage because it was in her view a bigger deal than a baseball field full of Republican members of Congress being shot at:
Whenever I see Haberman commenting on something I always think about the Intercept report from a few years ago which noted how Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 presidential campaign viewed Haberman as an ally:
From that strategy memo:
We have has a very good relationship with Maggie Haberman of Politico over the last year. We have had her tee up stories for us before and have never been disappointed. While we should have a larger conversation in the near future about a broader strategy for reengaging the beat press that covers HRC, for this we think we can achieve our objective and do the most shaping by going to Maggie.
Some things never change.
— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —
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