On June 8th of last year in Las Vegas, Nevada, Jerad Miller and his wife Amanda shot and killed two police officers, Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo, before draping a swastika and a Gadsden Flag, which read “Don’t Tread On Me,” over Beck’s body.
The Millers would proceed to kill a civilian in a Walmart before Amanda Miller shot her husband and then herself after being cornered by the police.
Jerad and Amanda Miller were anti-government white supremacists, infected with the disturbingly common paranoia that the government is oppressing the “master race” and that, very soon, the Feds will arrive to take away their guns and their liberty, as well.
The Millers were also avid fans of Cliven Bundy, a man given much attention by right-wing media outlets after his armed standoff with police.
This horrifying incident of ideologically-motivated violence merited little attention from the “conservative” media, who are often quick to blame “liberal” rhetoric for violence against police officers, and violence in general.
In this instance, however, it was the rhetoric of the beloved Tea Party and other anti-government voices which undoubtedly supplemented the heinous acts committed by the Millers. But Fox News and conservative pundits largely kept their mouths closed, as Media Matters noted months later:
Fox News primetime hosts Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity both ignored the shocking cop-killer story the night after it happened; Megyn Kelly devoted four sentences to it.
And when they do address right-wing perpetrators, pundits are quick to separate politics from the perpetrator’s actions, apparently unwilling to apply the same standards to themselves as they apply to others.
They paint those involved in crimes which appear to be motivated by hatred of the federal government and other ultra right-wing views as lunatics unable to think clearly and rationally about their actions, while they paint those they claim to be driven by the rhetoric of President Obama or Al Sharpton as cold and calculated, carefully morphing beliefs formed by “liberal” rhetoric into action.
This is double-standard unsurprising, as no one expects Fox News to be generous or consistent or self-critical in their propaganda efforts.
So the answer to the question posed in the title is no, for obvious reasons.
With the recent alleged attack on a homeless man in Boston by two brothers who expressed their agreement with Donald Trump’s views on immigration, we can expect more of the same: More of the complete separation of political views, and worldviews broadly, from the actions of individuals or groups.
Until, of course, the person committing the crime fits the “narrative”.
Just imagine the outrage from the right-wing media if the Millers were in fact black; imagine the detailed investigative reporting that would have ensued if they had draped a flag reading “Hope and Change” over a dead officer’s body, if they had been a part of “liberal” Facebook groups, if they had visited the home of an admired voice of the left. I can’t imagine it.
Imagine if the two men who beat and urinated on the homeless man in Boston just because he was Hispanic had in fact been Mexican immigrants with extensive criminal records. Imagine if they had cited a popular figure of the Democratic party in their subsequent conversation with police officers.
Would Trump call for their deportation? Almost certainly. Would he use the incident as evidence in support of his views? Almost certainly.
Instead, he has said that “it would be a shame” if his words provoked violence, an incredibly mild response compared to what it would have been if the attackers had been Mexican immigrants.
If recent history is any guide, the right-wing establishment media will continue to decide who is a worthy victim and who is merely a statistic that merits little coverage and even less outrage, framing the debate for their frantic viewers and further perpetuating gross distortions and falsehoods.