It’s terrible that an author got death threats, even if he’s a sleazy hack who invaded the privacy of a prominent conservative politician. It’s equally terrible that prominent conservative donors received death threats for how they choose to use their money. But according to NBC, only one of those two stories is worth telling.
In the first case, the network was warning in 2010 of death threats against Sarah Palin-sliming author Joe McGinniss. As for the second, NBC ignored reports of death threats against the libertarian Koch brothers and members of their foundation.
On Feb. 20, the Huffington Post reported that businessman and philanthropist David Koch claims to have received 100 credible death threats. The Wichita Eagle previously reported that the Koch brothers released hundreds of threatening e-mails to the media, from liberals unhappy with the brothers’ political donations.
None of the broadcast networks picked up on the threats against the Koch brothers. Considering that prominent individuals are often threatened by crazy people to no effect, this reluctance on the part of the networks to report on them is understandable.
However, NBC felt no constraints about hyping death threats against a controversial liberal in the public eye. NBC dutifully reported death threats made against Palin-bashing author Joe McGinniss on June 1, 2010; Matt Lauer said that “the reaction [against McGinniss] has gotten a little bit scary.” The following day, NBC anchor Ann Curry repeated that McGinniss had complained about death threats.
Hypocritically, McGinniss complained in 2010 about “the power Palin has to incite hatred and her willingness and readiness to do it” – while at the same time writing a book that spread salacious and disgusting allegations about the former vice presidential candidate, including the lie that she slept with a basketball player.
It’s unsurprising that the Koch brothers have been targeted with threats, since left-wing media outlets have made them cartoon villains for their audiences. Radio host Mike Papantonio stated MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” that the Koch brothers wanted to “go ahead and kill more people with their toxins.” The Daily Kos ranted that the “Koch brothers are evil people who run an empire without values or morals other then seeking the Almighty Dollar.”
But to point out the vitriol leveled at conservatives contradicts the media narrative that political violence could only ever come from the right.