Yesterday morning, Floyd Lee Corkins II was sentenced by a federal judge in the District of Columbia to 25 years in prison for his act of terrorism and attempted murder last August at the Family Research Council. Corkins targeted the socially conservative think tank because of what he considered their "anti-gay" views. In an interrogation with the FBI, he admitted that he drew inspiration from a "hate map" on the website for the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)
But if you depend solely on ABC, CBS, or NBC's newscasts, you didn't learn any of this. Those networks completely ignored Corkins's sentencing both in September 19 evening news programs and their September 20 morning shows. What's more, the New York Times, which prides itself on publishing "all the news that's fit to print," failed to report the story at all in the Friday newspaper. The Washington Post ran a 28-paragraph story by staffer Ann Marimow, which was printed on page B3. Marimow's story lacked any mention, however, of the role the SPLC's website played in Corkins's planned attack.
Floyd Lee Corkins, the "man who planned a mass shooting at a conservative Christian lobbying group’s Washington headquarters in 2012 has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for the failed plot," the Associated Press reported shortly before noon Eastern Thursday. Yet nowhere in their four-paragraph story -- accessed here at WashingtonPost.com -- did the news wire note that Corkins admitted he was inspired by the website for the Southern Poverty Law Center.
In April, the Family Research Council posted to YouTube a video of Corkins admitting to FBI interrogators that he assembled his target list from the SPLC's "hate map" (video embedded below with transcript):
Foiled shooter Floyd Corkins is being sentenced on Thursday for his attempted mass shooting at the conservative Family Research Council on August 15, 2012. On the front of Thursday's Metro section, Washington Post reporter Ann E. Marimow offered a positive story on security guard Leonardo Johnson, who was shot in the arm as he prevented Corkins from his murderous plot.
"I want to look in his eyes" was the headline, and Johnson was called a "Hero" in quotes. Why in quotes? Perhaps because his FRC co-workers properly call him "Leo the Hero."
CBS This Morning stood out on Friday for devoting a 18-second news brief to the newly-released security camera footage of Floyd Corkins II's attempted mass shooting at the Family Research Council in August 2012. Charlie Rose identified Corkins as a "domestic terrorist" who targeted the social conservative organization for "being anti-gay" [audio available here; video below the jump].
The morning newscast actually played a clip from the video, which shows the admitted felon pulling a handgun on security guard Leo Johnson and the subsequent physical altercation between the two. By contrast, ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today both ignored the footage, which FRC uploaded onto YouTube on Thursday.
One of the Washington Post's front-page stories on the Boston bombing had this headline when the story turned to page A7: "After a decade of plots foiled or botched, one success." That's a strange headline that seems to forget the "successful" terror attack at Fort Hood. Six paragraphs below that headline, reporters Scott Wilson and Peter Finn recall 13 dead and 30 wounded by Major Nidal Hasan.
After noting the failures of Omar Abdulmutallab (the unsuccessful "underwear bomber") and Faisal Shahzad (whose Times Square van bomb didn't detonate), Wilson and Finn unspooled six paragraphs of publicity for the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center to underline America's "far right" domestic threat:
The recent murders of local prosecutors in a north Texas county -- possibly at the hands of white supremacists -- was the news hook for MSNBC's The Cycle to bring Heidi Beirich of the left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) on to the April 2 program. In introducing the guest and justifying her expertise, co-host Ari Melber merely described the SPLC as "a group that documents that state of hate groups in America."
It fell to token conservative co-host S.E. Cupp to remind viewers that SPLC leans to the left and has been criticized by conservatives for "smearing religious and far-right groups and ignoring far-left hate groups." "Shouldn't people be aware of your ideological biases before they take seriously [SPLC's] claims of who they should be afraid of?" Cupp argued. A bemused Beirich insisted she had to "dispute the notion of the question on its premise," adding that:
A day after the New York Times ignored the connection between Floyd Corkins, who attempted a mass murder at a conservative think tank, and the left-wing "hate group" monitor Southern Poverty Law Center, which had labeled FRC "anti-gay," there broke another case of bias by omission regarding news that might embarrass prominent liberals. Chris Dorner, an ex-cop on a vengeful rampage against police officers in Los Angeles, praised liberal media personalities in his oddly chatty "manifesto" posted on Facebook. Those details were absent from Friday's account by Adam Nagourney and Ian Lovett, "Manhunt On for Ex-Officer Accused of Police Vendetta."
Yet the Times has previously made up entirely fantastical accusations about conservatives like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Bill O'Reilly, accusing them with no links or evidence whatsoever of fanning flames of hatred that incited murder.
As of 9:47 ET this morning, according to the Associated Press, this is where the manhunt for Christopher Dorner stands: "Police spent all night searching the snowy mountains of Southern California but were unable to find the former Los Angeles police officer accused of carrying out a killing spree because he felt he was unfairly fired from his job.
We don't have to search very far for bias in the wire service's coverage of Dorner's "manifesto" (full uncensored version is here), which he apparently sent to CNN's Anderson Cooper. AP's unbylined report carrying excerpts from it cite Dorner's comments on the following politicians: former President George H. W. Bush (i.e., Bush 41), Hillary Clinton, Colin Powell, Chris Christie. Notably absent is any mention of our current president. As seen after the jump, Dorner effusively praises President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle (paragraph breaks added by me; expletive cleaned up):
Floyd Corkins Jr. pleaded guilty on Wednesday to wounding a security guard at the Washington headquarters of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian lobbying group fighting against gay marriage, on August 15 last year. Corkins was carrying 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches at the time – the restaurant chain noteworthy for its public, Christian-based opposition to gay marriage – and intended to rub the sandwiches in his victims' faces.
The New York Times made do with a brief from Reuters that did not mention a vital angle: That FRC was brought to the attention of Corkins via the website of the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center, which has labeled FRC a "hate group."
It was huge news. A map targeting those with opposing viewpoints led to a tragic attack. Partisan rhetoric was out of control and fringe-types were being driven to gun commit gun crimes. Except that, in the case of the Gabby Giffords shooting two years ago, none of those things were even remotely true. But that didn’t stop the media from breathlessly conjecturing that a target-festooned map on Sarah Palin’s website had pointed Jared Loughner to Rep. Giffords, and that Palin’s “reload” rhetoric made him shoot.
But now we have a case in which a politically motivated shooter has confessed to choosing his targets according to a map. In fact, it was a “hate map” created by the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). But ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN aren’t talking.
After a man shot a security guard at the Family Research Council (FRC) last summer, the organization claimed it was targeted because the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) listed it as a "hate group."
The shooter has now revealed that he indeed used that SPLC map to find his target. And CNN has not only promoted this list of "hate groups" in the past, but after the shooting it re-affirmed the FRC's place on the list as "hate spewing hate."
Update (18:53 EST): The Post article in question was updated at 6:35 p.m. to reflect the SPLC connection (see below) | The man who critically injured a Family Research Center security staffer in a shooting last August pleaded guilty on Wednesday to, among other charges, "committing an act of terrorism with the intent to kill." the Associated Press and ABC affiliate WJLA today are reporting. What's more, the suspect in question admitted he was inspired to strike out at the FRC after visiting a liberal website which declared them an anti-gay hate group. That fact,however, was omitted by the Washington Post in their write-up on the story.
Floyd Lee Corkins, "who had been volunteering at a center for gay, lesbian and transgender people" was apprehended with a handgun, two extra magazines of ammunition and sandwiches from Chick-fil-A, that latter of which he "intended to smear... in the faces of his victims to make a statement about gay rights opponents, [Corkins] acknowledged during a hearing Wednesday," WJLA.com reported on Wednesday afternoon.