The New York Times lead editorial Wednesday on the Orlando massacre, “The Threat to Gay Americans,” was notable both for the words it did contain – names of Republicans who the Times repugnantly held responsible for fostering the hatred that led to the mass murder – and for the words it didn’t contain: “Radical Islam.”
That’s despite Omar Mateen, the actual mass murderer, calling a local TV reporter and stating “I did it for ISIS. I did it for the Islamic State.” Meanwhile, Andrew Rosenthal accuses Trump of fomenting Stalinist genocide, and Jim Rutenberg and Frank Bruni indulge in some bias by omission.
As families began planning funerals for the victims of Sunday’s rampage at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., gay Americans mourned a loss that extended beyond the lives cut short.
Omar Mateen shattered the tenuous, hard-fought sense of personal safety that many gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans have begun to feel as the movement for equality has made significant gains in recent years. His bullets and the blood he left behind that early morning were a reminder that in many corners of the country, gay and transgender people are still regarded as sinners and second-class citizens who should be scorned.
While the precise motivation for the rampage remains unclear, it is evident that Mr. Mateen was driven by hatred toward gays and lesbians. Hate crimes don’t happen in a vacuum. They occur where bigotry is allowed to fester, where minorities are vilified and where people are scapegoated for political gain. Tragically, this is the state of American politics, driven too often by Republican politicians who see prejudice as something to exploit, not extinguish.
Sean Davis at The Federalist lambasted the editorial board for its stupefying refusal to discuss who actually committed the massacre in Orlando, and why, while putting the blame on Republicans who had zero to do with it:
The NYT editorial board... cannot figure out what the heck the motive was. When Bruce Jenner tells the New York Times that he’s a girl, by golly he’s a girl. But when a gay Muslim registered Democrat terrorist in the midst of a killing spree declares to the news media that he “did it for the Islamic State,” it is just impossible for the New York Times and its ilk to figure out the true identity of this inscrutable killer. How do you solve a puzzle like sharia?
Here’s who the New York Times blames, in order: Republican politicians, Republican-led state legislatures, Republican governors, Republican federal lawmakers, Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, anyone who believes in traditional marriage, anyone who’s ever voted to preserve traditional marriage, and anyone who has ever voted for anyone who believes or has voted to preserve in traditional marriage....In a 600-word editorial about the terrorist massacre in Orlando, the New York Times editorial board names seven Republican politicians. It doesn’t use the world Islam or any of its variants a single time...
Meanwhile, reporter Jim Rutenberg got melodramatic in his Wednesday “Mediator” column on a related matter “In Revoking Credentials, Trump Acts as Punisher in Chief.”
You never know what’s going to cause Donald J. Trump to officially ban a news organization from his presidential campaign events.
For The Washington Post, it was a headline on Monday saying “Donald Trump Suggests President Obama Was Involved With Orlando Shooting.” Mr. Trump said Mr. Obama’s refusal to say the words “radical Islamic terrorism” meant that, “there’s something going on.” He did not say what Mr. Obama’s secret agenda might be, leaving it to others to interpret. The Post later changed its headline to read that he “seems to connect” Mr. Obama to the shootings. Too late -- banned! (And, of course, “SAD!”)
Rutenberg played the Nixon card, so you know he’s taking this seriously.
As of now, there is only this: The all-but-confirmed standard-bearer of one of the United States’s two major political parties is actively stripping credentials from news organizations that report things that he deems unfair or inaccurate. He has a black list and, unlike the one that Nixon kept, this is not a secret. Quite the opposite.
(A good thing that shunning media outlets for the sin of past criticism is never committed by Democratic presidents, isn’t it?)
Andrew Rosenthal, the Times’ former Editorial Page editor, went furthest of all in “Decoding Donald Trump.” Trump was not just guilty of basic GOP bigotry but of encouraging Stalinist-type genocide.
Donald Trump is a stickler for words -- other people’s words.
In the world according to Trump, the proof of Hillary Clinton’s inability to deal with terrorism is that she doesn’t use the phrase “radical Islam” enough. That’s nonsense, of course, as President Obama pointed out on Tuesday. “There is no magic to the phrase ‘radical Islam,’” he said. “It’s a political talking point, it’s not a strategy.”
Actually, for Trump it is a strategy -- the strategy of the propagandistic smear, a dark art at which he excels. That’s why he figured he could accuse the president of tolerating terrorist attacks -- or, he hinted darkly, abetting them. (Because, of course, Obama is secretly a Muslim.)
In speeches on Monday, Trump and Clinton both talked about the specific nature of this killing frenzy, an attack on a gay club in Orlando, Fla. “I want to say this to all the L.G.B.T. people grieving today in Florida and across our country,” Clinton said. “You have millions of allies who will always have your back.”
Trump, amazingly enough, said something similar: “Our nation stands together in solidarity with the members of Orlando’s L.G.B.T. community.”
But of course Trump was being disingenuous, because of transgender issues, though Trump has always been quite liberal on gay issues.
The big difference is that Clinton meant it. She supports marriage equality and laws that ban discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans. Trump has said he would “seriously consider” appointing judges who would reverse rulings in favor of marriage rights. He’s fine with the “L.G.B.T. community” as long as it doesn’t seek the rights that all Americans should have.
After jabbing Clinton for not calling for gun production to be shut down completely, Rosenthal brought up genocide.
Clinton offered a serious discussion of terrorism. Trump offered his usual stew of fear, jingoism and hatred. He repeated his call for “a ban” on Muslim immigration into the United States, expanding it to immigrants from countries that are the locus of terrorism. He called it a “temporary” ban, but that’s a lie. Trump said the ban would be lifted when Muslims and other immigrants can be screened “perfectly,” but that will never happen, and Trump has to know that.
Let’s be absolutely clear. This is not just about bigotry. The mass arrest and forced movement of large populations has been an instrument of genocide throughout history. That is how the Turks committed genocide against Armenians in the early 20th century, how the United States government decimated some Native American tribes and how Stalin killed millions of his own citizens.
And Frank Bruni’s column on Wednesday, “Stand With Gay Americans,” picked up on a leftist meme condemning Republicans for not using the phrase LGBT in statements immediately after the Orlando massacre. (A similar experiment could have been performed about Democrats who failed to use the words “ISIS” or “Islam” in their comments, but that wouldn’t interest the Times.) Bruni’s own column mentioned “Islamic State” precisely once, in paragraph 11.