Police secure the scene of a shooting in Annapolis, Md., Thursday, June 28, 2018. A single shooter killed several people Thursday and wounded others at a newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, and police said a suspect was in custody. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Yesterday, a guy named Jarrod Ramos walked into the lobby of the Capital Gazette, a community paper owned by the Baltimore Sun, and opened fire with a shotgun and by the time police arrived, around 60 seconds after the first shot, he’d killed five people. There were all kinds of stories immediately floated–gasp…he mutilated his fingertips to foil efforts to identify him–and the left leaped on this hokum as proof that this was some kind of right-wing Night of the Long Knives directed at the media. Twitter was rampant with stories of IEDs and evidence of a highly planned attack. None of these stories proved to be true. Ramos’ attack showed all the shrewd tactical skill of his unsuccessful lawsuit and he was captured by police while cowering under a desk.
As best as we can tell right now, the motive was revenge. Apparently, Ramos, one of those crime-prone white Hispanics, ran afoul of the Maryland legal system. A few years ago he reconnected with a high school classmate via Facebook. He mistook her kindness for romantic interest and became a stalker until he was pulled up short by the legal system. For reasons that are unclear to me, the Capital Gazette wrote a lengthy story about his court case. The story appears to be the senseless type of “name and shame” story aimed at humiliating powerless people: like CNN doxing a meme maker or people who’d been asked to organize pro-Trump rallies by a Russian front group. It accomplished nothing, it made no one safer or more aware. It did nothing except target an obviously mentally unstable man–I say obviously because his rage and instability fairly scream from the record of the legal proceedings–for public ridicule. And it filled a few column inches of newsprint which was the important thing at the time.
Ramos sued them for defamation, acted as his own lawyer, and got his case thrown out of court. Since that time, he’s been at a low boil, venting against the Gazette via social media never mind that the editor and reporter responsible for the story have moved on.
There was no evidence of a Glock or AR-15 being used, so, except for a brief spasm on CNN, gun control was mostly off the table:
CNN spokesperson on the Maryland shooting. “You don’t just pick up a shotgun and use it. It’s a very violent weapon and takes a lot of practice.” Uh huh.
— Tom Gresham (@Guntalk) June 28, 2018
Ramos has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder and will probably spend the rest of his life behind bars.
At this point, the media took a page from Rahm Emanuel’s playbook and decided this tragedy was entirely too good to waste. Because Trump has a contentious relationship with the media, he was to blame.
The shooting today in the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland cannot reasonably be separated from the President's mission to villainize the press as "the enemy of the American people."
— Lauren Duca (@laurenduca) June 28, 2018
When you have a president who says the press is "enemy of the people" is it surprising that someone shoots up a newspaper office? @realDonaldTrump has blood on his hands. He loves inciting people even after seeing the consequences in places like Charlottesville. #CapitalGazette
— Cenk Uygur (@cenkuygur) June 28, 2018
This, of course, is lunacy. If Trump is to blame for this shooting then the entire national media need to be rounded up and road marched to FEMA re-education camps in Montana for their role in the shooting of Steve Scalise.
Read the whole thread:
A lot of media members are seizing on the shooting to give a lecture about escalating rhetoric and attacks against the media. It seems the shooting was a personal beef, but I'm willing to have that conversation.
— (((AG))) (@AGHamilton29) June 29, 2018
By late yesterday afternoon, though, the media had moved beyond the shooting in Annapolis to make this attack by an unstable individual a metaphor for just how hard and difficult it is being a journalist in the Age of Trump.
Supporting local journalism is important, what happened today is sickening. This alleged gunman appears to have had a longstanding grudge against the paper and little else is known so far. But Trump is the only president in memory to call the press “the enemy of the people.” https://t.co/QmGBikZh0L
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) June 29, 2018
Maggie is going to hump this false narrative harder than Ali Watkins on a Senate Intel staffer https://t.co/EyAr88gM0X
— Patrick Poole (@pspoole) June 29, 2018
The Washington Post was on the move this morning:
Analysis: The Annapolis shooting is another reminder: It’s getting more dangerous to be a journalist https://t.co/a9Z1QKfhsr
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) June 29, 2018
And then there is the sanctification narrative:
This may be an awful case of a disgruntled former employee. But the fact that journalists everywhere are feeling afraid as a result is real. Stop blaming the media for all your problems. We aren’t perfect, but we’re a vital check on power, and we bring communities together. 💔
— S.E. Cupp (@secupp) June 29, 2018
This is such total bullsh** that one doesn’t even know where to start. First off, people become journalists because they want to. No one drafts them. If the job doesn’t pay well, well there is exactly one person to blame for taking the job. If you want to praise someone for low pay, long hours and danger, then talk to laborers on a construction site but don’t hold a newsroom up as heroic figures. Reporters are no more likely to be honest or ethical than any other person and, in fact, there is a great deal of evidence to indicate they are significantly less so. They aren’t any more likely to be physically attacked than any other non-law enforcement profession. And if you still think the partisan and politicized press is vital to our democracy and not a force for divisiveness, then you haven’t been paying attention.
Pretty amazing that the convo among national journos on here is centered on Trump. It's hard to get more narcissistic than shouting over the mourners that their unimaginable pain is really about you.
Log off twitter. Trump will still be here tomorrow.
— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) June 29, 2018
There's a certain Westboro Baptist Church dimension to reporters interrupting their accounts of the Annapolis killer to remind you that Trump is no good. https://t.co/xB0oV2lq6e
— Sam Schulman كافر| ن (@Sam_Schulman) June 29, 2018
This is a sad and tragic and banal story. There is no meta-story here. There was no incitement like “get in their face.” There was no Henry II-esque complaint. There is nothing here that speaks to the state of the nation or of journalism or of the relationship between the news media and the government. And it is entirely possible to have sympathy for the victims and their loved ones without claiming that they were performing some uniquely valuable or noble service or that they should be protected from criticism.
The media has disgraced itself, including (in many cases) today.
It is not a "vital check on power" – it colludes with the power that it is aligned with. It does not "bring communities together." It too often spreads hate.
The acts of an asshole does not get the media a pass. https://t.co/xgQoSGETcz
— Kurt Schlichter (@KurtSchlichter) June 29, 2018
What the media are shamelessly trying to do is to take the tragedy of the Annapolis shooting and convert it into a shield from all criticism. We can’t let them do this. We can’t let the left do to grief what it does to everything else it touches:
1. Target a respected institution
2. Kill & clean it
3. Wear it as a skin suit, while demanding respect
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) May 25, 2016
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