A Tale of Two Murders
DrewM. passes on Michelle Malkin‘s post and column noting that the murder of abortion doctor George Tiller by a white “Christian” got scads more media commentary and more intense presidential attention than did the murder of Private William Long and maiming and attempted murder of Private Quinton Ezeagwula by a black “Muslim.”
It’s a fair point and very much worth noting that there are craziest on both sides.
At the same time, the first shooting naturally fit into an ongoing storyline whereas the second seemingly comes out of the blue. Malkin’s done yeoman work over the years in rounding up little-reported incidents by leftist extremists targeting American troops but it remains a tiny, disaggrated fringe movement whereas the anti-abortion movement is massive and even its extreme elements, like Operation Rescue, are rather large and public.
Nutcases aside, there’s been a loud and bitter debate over abortion going on since at least decision in Roe v. Wade some thirty-six years ago. So, naturally, when an abortionist gets murdered, there’s a ready frame into which to plug stories, sidebars, and commentaries. Columns from 1986 can be dusted off and re-run by changing a few names and throwing in a new quote or three.
By contrast, those who genuinely dislike American soldiers are so far into the lunatic fringe that they’re not part of the public debate. Just about every liberal male politician over the age of 50 — John Kerry, Jimmy Carter, Michael Dukakis, Al Gore, George McGovern, Ted Kennedy, Charlie Rangel — served in the military. Hell, so did Jeremiah Wright.
To be sure, there are liberals who hate the way our military is used. Others hate Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. But, by and large, those are handled as debates over public policy. It’s presidents who are the object of that wrath, not American soldiers. Indeed, when someone dares criticize soldiers — as in the General Betray Us flap — they’re roundly slapped down, even by other liberals.
All that said, I agree with Michelle on the much narrower points. Yes, President Obama should have said something about the recruiting station incident, especially after his comments on the Tiller murder. He’s commander-in-chief, after all. And it would have been good politics, too, earning credit for taking on left-wing crazies without alienating a significant part of his coalition.
And, yes, the press should have used the occasion of the latest shooting to point out that this was not a totally isolated incident. The press really needs to get beyond its tired story frames and do broader reporting more often.
Photo by Flickr user DRB62 under Creative Commons license.