Imagine if lefty Senator Elizabeth Warren had been violently assaulted by an arch-conservative. Think journalists would mention that point? Well, they didn’t when the situation was reversed and Rand Paul was attacked over the weekend by a “liberal” “socialist.” Only ABC even bothered to compare this latest incident to the attempted murder of Republican congressmen in the summer. The total coverage on ABC, CBS and NBC of this latest violent act is 3 minutes and 7 seconds
On Monday, CBS This Morning co-host Norah O’Donnell offered the bare details in a 36 second news brief: “Republican Senator Paul Rand is recovering from five broken ribs after he was assaulted at his home. The Kentucky lawmaker was attacked Friday in Bowling Green. His next-door neighbor Rene Boucher was arrested for the assault.” She added, “No information on the motive or why he was attacked.”
Well, we DO have an idea why Boucher didn’t like Paul. In a story on the attack, The Washington Post — after 17 paragraphs — revealed this:
Jeff Jones, a registered nurse who worked with Boucher at the Bowling Green Medical Center, described Boucher’s politics as “liberal.”
“He was active on social media and said some negative things about the Republican agenda,” Jones said.
“I think it was unfortunate that they lived so close together,” he added.
New York magazine explained that Boucher is also a socialist:
Boucher’s motive is unclear. Jim Bullington, a former member of the city commission, who knows both men, described Boucher as a socialist and said he’d been known to get into “heated discussions” with the libertarian senator about health care.
Neither ABC’s Good Morning America nor NBC’s Today covered the shooting at all on Monday.
On Sunday, only GMA’s Kenneth Moton linked, in a broader sense, this assault to the attempted slaughter in June of Republicans at a softball practice: “There have been a number of security concerns for members of Congress. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle reporting threats in the wake of that shooting at the GOP congressional baseball practice a few months ago.”
Moton at least hinted that the attack on Paul could have an ideological motivation: “Rand Paul, outspoken, a fierce critic of the Affordable Care Act and recently a defender of President Trump's policies.” But there was no mention of Boucher's politics.
Ideology may have something to do with the attack on Paul. It may not. This may simply revolve around two neighbors who just didn’t like each other. But the fact that this man hated Rand Paul’s beliefs should be mentioned. It would be if the situation was reversed. In fact, journalists don’t even check the facts when there’s an opportunity to smear conservatives. In 2012, ABC falsely connected a mass murder in a Colorado movie theater to the Tea Party.
(For more on the Rand Paul assault, see NewsBusters.)
A transcript of Monday’s CBS This Morning coverage is below:
CBS This Morning
7:18:40 to 7:19:16
NORAH O’DONNELL: Republican Senator Paul Rand is recovering from five broken ribs after he was assaulted at his home. The Kentucky lawmaker was attacked Friday in Bowling Green. His next-door neighbor Rene Boucher was arrested for the assault. A senior adviser to the Senator said it's unclear when he'll go back to work since he's in considerable pain. His broken ribs include three displaced fractures. In a tweet yesterday, Paul said, quote, “Kelly and I appreciate the overwhelming support after Friday's unfortunate event. Thank you for the thoughts and prayers.” No information on the motive or why he was attacked.
GAYLE KING: Very bizarre story.