Brian Ross Returns to Television With George Papadopoulos Scoop


This post is by Rachel Dicker from Mediaite


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Brian Ross, until earlier this year chief investigative correspondent for ABC News, returned to TV Friday with an exclusive on Law & Crime, Mediaite’s sister entity, about indicted former Trump aide George Papadopoulos. It was announced in August that Ross was joining Law & Crime as chief investigative reporter, along with Rhonda Schwartz, the former chief of investigative projects at ABC News, who joined as executive investigative producer. He hosted the trial network from 10 a.m. to noon on Friday, and his upcoming show, Brian Ross Investigates, will debut in the coming weeks. On Friday, Ross told Mediaite and Law & Crime founder Dan Abrams that he attended Papadopoulos’s wedding at a court in Cook County, Chicago, IL and showed the exclusive, somewhat bizarre video from the event. “At dinner they said, ‘By the way, we’re getting married tomorrow. Would you like to come?'” Ross Continue reading "Brian Ross Returns to Television With George Papadopoulos Scoop"

Brian Ross Joins Law & Crime as Chief Investigative Reporter


This post is by Aidan McLaughlin from Mediaite


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Brian Ross, the former chief investigative correspondent for ABC News and NBC News, is joining Mediaite’s sister entity Law & Crime as chief investigative reporter and on air host for the trial network where he will host a weekly show. Starting in September, Ross will be leading an investigative unit for Law & Crime alongside Rhonda Schwartz, the former chief of investigative projects on the ABC News investigative team. She will join Law & Crime as executive investigative producer. Ross will also be hosting a weekly original show on the network, Brian Ross Investigates. “I worked with Brian and Rhonda for years, and there are no more celebrated and dogged investigative journalists in the country,” Mediaite and Law & Crime founder Dan Abrams said in a statement. “We could not be more excited that they have agreed to join our network and team.” Ross left ABC News Continue reading "Brian Ross Joins Law & Crime as Chief Investigative Reporter"

Trump Tweets on Brian Ross Returning to ABC News: ‘Should Have Been Fired’


This post is by Josh Feldman from Mediaite


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In addition to defending his mental fitness this morning, President Trump also sounded off on Brian Ross ahead of his return to ABC News. Ross, you’ll recall, was suspended by ABC News over a serious error in a report he filed regarding Michael Flynn weeks ago. He’s returning to the network, but in a different capacity. The President tweeted his response this morning: After Ross came under fire initially, Trump tweeted this:

ABC News’ Brian Ross Returns From Suspension, Will Now Work on ‘Long-Term Projects’


This post is by Justin Baragona from Mediaite


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Last month, ABC News slapped its chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross with a four-week unpaid suspension over his botched report on former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s guilty plea. As you may recall, Ross reported that Flynn was going to testify that then-candidate Donald Trump instructed him to contact Russians during the 2016 campaign. Eventually, ABC News issued a correction that Trump actually made the request of Flynn during the transition after he was elected president. Ross has now served his suspension and will be back at work on Monday. But he’ll be relegated to new duties. According to CNN’s Brian Stelter, Ross will retain his current title but move to a separate unit at a location a few blocks away from ABC’s news division headquarters. His producer will also go with him and they’ll work on “long-term projects” such as documentaries. From Stelter’s report:
ABC News president James Continue reading "ABC News’ Brian Ross Returns From Suspension, Will Now Work on ‘Long-Term Projects’"

ABC News’ Brian Ross Returns From Suspension, Will Now Work on ‘Long-Term Projects’


This post is by Justin Baragona from Mediaite


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Last month, ABC News slapped its chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross with a four-week unpaid suspension over his botched report on former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s guilty plea. As you may recall, Ross reported that Flynn was going to testify that then-candidate Donald Trump instructed him to contact Russians during the 2016 campaign. Eventually, ABC News issued a correction that Trump actually made the request of Flynn during the transition after he was elected president. Ross has now served his suspension and will be back at work on Monday. But he’ll be relegated to new duties. According to CNN’s Brian Stelter, Ross will retain his current title but move to a separate unit at a location a few blocks away from ABC’s news division headquarters. His producer will also go with him and they’ll work on “long-term projects” such as documentaries. From Stelter’s report:
ABC News president James Continue reading "ABC News’ Brian Ross Returns From Suspension, Will Now Work on ‘Long-Term Projects’"

Trump Slams CNN for Botched Reporting: ‘Oh, Thank You CNN! Thank You So Much!’


This post is by Joseph A. Wulfsohn from Mediaite


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On Friday night, President Trump slammed the media for a string of inaccurate reports involving the Trump campaign during the election. At a rally in Pensacola, Florida, which is roughly only 25 miles outside of Alabama where GOP candidate Roy Moore is fighting for the Senate seat, Trump told the crowd he was going to speak “straight to the American people,” and “cut right through the fake news media.” “Did you see all the corrections the media’s been making?” Trump asked. “They’re saying, ‘Sorry, we’ve made a––they’ve been doing that all year! They never apologize! Maybe that comes with being the president. I don’t know. I don’t know. They’ve been apologizing left and right.” He then went after ABC News’ Brian Ross for falsely reporting that then-candidate Trump ordered Gen. Michael Flynn to contact Russia during the election. Ross made a “clarification” and was given a four-week Continue reading "Trump Slams CNN for Botched Reporting: ‘Oh, Thank You CNN! Thank You So Much!’"

Hannity Blasts ABC News For Erroneous Flynn Report: ‘Journalism in America Is Dead’


This post is by Justin Baragona from Mediaite


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You just knew Fox News’ Sean Hannity was going to have a field day with Brian Ross’ major screwup. And at the end of a lengthy Monday night monologue devoted to the latest revelations in the Mueller probe, Hannity did just that, tearing into the ABC News reporter for spreading “fake news.” “As we often say on the show, we are not the Destroy Trump Media,” Hannity exclaimed. “And if you are watching at home, have no doubts about fake news now being a clear, present danger to the Trump administration. They are the willing accomplices in all of this.” He continued, “And we have an example that should make you a believer. It’s scary, it’s real, and it proves what we’ve been saying on this program since 2008. Journalism in America is dead.” The Fox News host went on to play clips of Ross’ original report Continue reading "Hannity Blasts ABC News For Erroneous Flynn Report: ‘Journalism in America Is Dead’"

ABC News Chief Reportedly Expressed ‘Rage and Disappointment’ to Staff Over Brian Ross Screwup


This post is by Justin Baragona from Mediaite


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Following the bombshell news that ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI over his Russian contacts, ABC News’ Brian Ross delivered an explosive report that stated that Flynn would testify that then-candidate Donald Trump directed Flynn to contact Russian officials. Hours later, ABC News issued a clarification — later amended to a correction — to Ross’ report, pointing out that Trump didn’t make this request of Flynn until he was president-elect. With Ross now serving a four-week suspension over the erroneous report, and Trump tweeting that people should sue the network for financial losses due to the brief drop in the stock market in the wake of the story, the president of ABC News is apparently livid with his news staff over this mistake. According to CNN, ABC News President James Goldston tore into the staff earlier today during an editorial call. Pointing Continue reading "ABC News Chief Reportedly Expressed ‘Rage and Disappointment’ to Staff Over Brian Ross Screwup"

Kellyanne Conway: If ABC News’ Brian Ross Worked for Me, He’d Be Fired


This post is by Josh Feldman from Mediaite


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During a Fox Business Network appearance today, Kellyanne Conway discussed ABC News’ botched report about President Donald Trump and Michael Flynn. The president himself already weighed in on the serious error and Brian Ross’s suspension––even suggesting people should sue over the stock market drop that followed the ABC report––and Stu Varney brought the matter up after talking with Conway about tax reform. “If Brian Ross worked for me,” Conway said, “it would not be four weeks of unpaid suspension for a guy making seven-figures to lie on the air. It would be complete termination.” Conway said the botched report reflects a “hunger to get rid of this president and talk about Russia collusion,” criticizing ABC News for how the story “lived for hours and hours and hours before they did any action on it.” Meanwhile, on Fox News earlier in the day, Conway backed up the claim Continue reading "Kellyanne Conway: If ABC News’ Brian Ross Worked for Me, He’d Be Fired"

CNN Panel Rips ABC News Over Botched Report: ‘Handing a Sword’ to People Who Cry ‘Fake News’


This post is by Josh Feldman from Mediaite


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CNN’s Brian Stelter opened today’s Reliable Sources with ABC News’ botched report on Michael Flynn and subsequent suspension of Brian Ross. Ross’ initial report said Flynn would testify that President Trump directed him to contact Russia “as a candidate,” but it was later clarified that this took place when Trump was President-elect. This, of course, is no small difference. Veteran journalist Jeff Greenfield went off on the “consequential” error and said, “This is not Brian Ross’ first mistake in reporting breaking news inaccurately.” He recalled Ross’ history of erroneous reporting before saying this:
“This is exactly what Trump and his allies want to say, ‘No matter what you hear on mainstream media, it’s fake. They’re doing it to hurt us.’ And this is like handing a sword to the people who want all media to be looked at in that regard.”
CNN senior media reporter Oliver Darcy Continue reading "CNN Panel Rips ABC News Over Botched Report: ‘Handing a Sword’ to People Who Cry ‘Fake News’"

Trump Suggests People Should Sue ABC News for Damages Over Brian Ross Report


This post is by Josh Feldman from Mediaite


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President Trump isn’t done weighing in on the blunder from ABC News and Brian Ross yet. Last night, after ABC News suspended Ross for the botched report on Michael Flynn, the president congratulated the network for taking action: This morning, he has suggested people sue: According to CNN, the Continue reading "Trump Suggests People Should Sue ABC News for Damages Over Brian Ross Report"

ABC News Suspends Brian Ross for Erroneous Michael Flynn Report


This post is by Caleb Ecarma from Mediaite


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ABC News announced tonight that veteran investigative reporter Brian Ross has been suspended for four weeks without pay after botching a story on Michael Flynn yesterday. During a report on the former national security advisor to Donald Trump, Ross wrongly claimed the president advised Flynn to make contact with the Russians during the campaign — when he was still a candidate. Obviously, this detail made the report much more damning against Trump, as it would go a long way in proving the Russia collusion narrative but it was ultimately too good to be true. Yesterday, ABC News attempted to walk-back this error by issuing the following correction: “Flynn prepared to testify that President-elect Donald Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians during the transition — initially as a way to work together to fight ISIS in Syria, confidant now says.” However, this statement was not enough Continue reading "ABC News Suspends Brian Ross for Erroneous Michael Flynn Report"

The RNC Calls On ABC News to ‘Fully Retract and Apologize’ for False Flynn Report


This post is by Josh Feldman from Mediaite


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The Republican National Committee is calling on ABC News to apologize over its botched report on President Trump and Michael Flynn. Yesterday Brian Ross reported that Flynn is expected to testify that, “as a candidate,” Trump directed him to reach out to Russia. But it was actually as President-elect instead––and that’s not a small difference––and ABC News later corrected the report. But the network still got criticized for the serious error, and now the RNC is weighing in. RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel tweeted this out today: And the GOP website now has a statement on “the ‘bombshell’ that bombed” saying the following:
As the stock market tanked and the ladies of Continue reading "The RNC Calls On ABC News to ‘Fully Retract and Apologize’ for False Flynn Report"

ABC and Brian Ross Handed Trump a Huge ‘Win’ With Their Botched Report


This post is by John Ziegler from Mediaite


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Thanks to Mike Flynn’s guilty plea, Friday should have been a very bad day for President Donald Trump, and in many ways it obviously was. However, because of ABC News and Brian Ross making a very critical error, Trump will likely, at least for now, be able to salvage some victory out of the jaws of this apparent defeat. To be clear, the fact that Flynn, the former national security advisor and very key person in the Trump campaign, has pled guilty to lying to the FBI over his contacts with Russia is a very big deal. Yes, it is only one, fairly minor, count and it doesn’t have anything directly to do with collusion with Russia during the campaign. But getting someone like Flynn to plead to any serious crime this quickly indicates that Special Counsel Robert Mueller must have a lot more dirt on him, and Continue reading "ABC and Brian Ross Handed Trump a Huge ‘Win’ With Their Botched Report"

ABC News Slammed for Hours-Later Clarification on Major Flynn Report: ‘Huge Effing Difference’


This post is by Josh Feldman from Mediaite


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ABC News’ major report on Michael Flynn and President Trump‘s direction on reaching out to the Russians has been corrected. Hours later. And Twitter is ripping the network over it. Per multiple reports earlier, Brian Ross‘ report that Flynn is expected to testify Trump directed him to meet with Russians “as a candidate” was followed minutes later by a drop in the stock market. But as Ross clarified on World News Tonight (video here), it was as President-elect, not as a candidate, and that is kind of a major difference. ABC News also tweeted out a clarification and deleted its earlier tweet:

ABC News Issues On-Air Clarification to Report About Flynn Russian Outreach and Trump


This post is by Josh Feldman from Mediaite


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One of the bigger news items from today in Michael Flynn reporting was this from ABC News: Brian Ross, citing a Flynn confidant, said, “[Flynn] is prepared to testify that President Trump, as a candidate… ordered him, directed him to make contact with the Russians.” However, CNN’s Oliver Darcy reported this news hours later: And a number of people on Twitter pointed out that’s kind of a big difference:

ABC News Joins Forces With The View to Explain How Bannon’s NSC Ouster Relates to Missile Strikes


This post is by Lindsey Ellefson from Mediaite


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ABC News’s Brian Ross joined The View today to talk about Donald Trump‘s decision to launch missiles at Syria last night. There was the usual discussion of Russia and some talk about how much support Trump is getting, but the real noteworthy segment came when the topic of Steve Bannon arose. Bannon, you’ll recall, was just removed from the National Security Council on April 5. (Note that there was a massive outcry against him being on it in the first place.) Sara Haines brought up that ouster, asking, “Do you think that the timing of this is a coincidence?” Ross, ABC’s Chief Investigative Correspondent, responded, “It doesn’t look like it in terms of just putting together the timing. He was Continue reading "ABC News Joins Forces With The View to Explain How Bannon’s NSC Ouster Relates to Missile Strikes"

ABC News’ Brian Ross Reportedly Hits Jaywalker


This post is by Andrew Kirell from Mediaite


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The New York Post reports that on Sunday evening ABC News Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross hit a jaywalking pedestrian with his BMW on Sunday evening.

The incident occurred just outside the network’s Upper West Side studios. 52-year-old former taxi driver Roman Dati stepped into the path of Ross’ vehicle as the reporter was turning left from 67th Street onto the busy Columbus Avenue.

“I said, ‘I know this guy, I’ve seen his face!’” Dati told the post, indicating he recognized Ross from his many appearances on ABC’s 20/20, Nightline, and Good Morning America.

The ex-cabbie from Queens reportedly suffered a “broken left arm, bruises, and back pain.” According to law enforcement, Ross had the right-of-way, “slowly” turning with the light, when Dati stepped out in front of the car, put his hand on the hood and fell backwards.

“As this happened right in front of WABC, I was able to take [Dati] inside our lobby and waited with him until the police and EMTs arrived, who then put his arm in a sling and took him to the hospital,” Ross told the Post via an ABC represenative.

“My only concern was to ensure the gentleman was OK and treated immediately,” he added.

According to Dati, Ross came up to him in the ambulance to shake his hand and wish him well. “When they took me towards the ambulance, he came over and apologized,” the man recalled. “He said he was very sorry and wished me well. He said he hoped I had a good recovery and shook my hand.”

[h/t NYP]
[Image via Twitter]

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Press Finds LAX Shooter’s ‘Anti-Government Views’ Less Threatening the Monday After


This post is by Noah Rothman from Mediaite


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The country was shaken on Friday after a disturbed gunman attacked a Los Angeles airport terminal with a rifle and shot several people, killing one Transpiration Security Administration official. Within hours of the shooting, a note found on the person of the incapacitated shooter, Paul Anthony Ciancia, indicated, according to some reporters including NBC News Pete Williams, that he harbored “strong anti-government views.” With that, the predictable race was on to blame American conservatism for the tragic assault on LAX.

“We’re told, that he had strong anti-government views,” Williams reported on Friday. “That’s based on some written material that we’re told he was carrying, that they found on him after he was shot by L.A. airport police.”

That note, it was later revealed, included unfavorable references to the Federal Reserve, the TSA, and the “new world order.” In the note, Ciancia warned the public that he “wanted to kill TSA and pigs.” These, it is fair to say, are the ramblings of a disturbed person in desperate need of treatment. To the extent that there is any form of political coherence in these views, they would be more closely associated with fans of Alex Jones than Rush Limbaugh. But passions can run hot and overwhelm prudence in moments like these.

As chronicled by The Examiner, a number of irresponsible commentators on social media outlets immediately took to blaming the tea party and the National Rifle Association for the violent incident. Primed by erroneous early reports like those of ABC News’ Brian Ross who wrongly implicated a tea party member in the hours that followed the shooting of moviegoers in Aurora, Colorado (a linkage which enjoys a disturbingly long half-life on the darkest corners of the internet), opponents of conservatism did not exercise any caution before attacking their ideological adversaries for inciting violence.

But even responsible, professional political commentators expressed their fears over an increase of what some see as “dangerous” violence perpetrated by those with Ciancia’s “anti-government views.”

On Friday, minutes after the details of Ciancia’s note became known, Demos Vice President and regular MSNBC guest, Heather McGhee, expressed her concerns about how “anti-government views” like those of this would-be mass shooter have been elevated and legitimized.

“It is unfortunate, but we have to actually take every moment that this happens to keep trying to build pressure for reform,” she told Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart and, in the process, ill-advisedly confessing that mass shootings represent an opportunity to advance a political agenda.

RELATED: NBC News’ Pete Williams: LAX Shooter Paul Anthony Ciancia Had ‘Strong Anti-Government Views’

“I often think about how so many of these shootings require public servants, whether they’re teachers or firefighters or police officers, to be at the front lines,” McGhee continued. “And now we have TSA people.”

“So, we really have to think about how we treat and respect our public servants in this country,” she concluded, “and how anti-government sentiment is at the top of our political system right now, and it’s dangerous.”

Well, days later and after hours of extensive investigation into Ciancia’s background, the LAX shooter’s political evolution is of far less interest to the news media and his “anti-government views” seemingly less threatening and more disturbing.

“There’s nothing that his friends or roommates say this they thought he was an adherent to this extremist anti-government view expressed in this handwritten letter that he had,” Williams reported on Monday, “which is a, sort of, general rant of the usual stuff about the Federal Reserve, and federal government, and the currencies, and one world order, and all of that.”

Ciancia’s target, the TSA, is concerning. Many on the conspiratorial end of the conservative spectrum deeply mistrust how the TSA has evolved into an invasive institution that unfairly targets law-abiding citizens for intrusive scrutiny. But that millions share this opinion and do not act out violently says much more about Ciancia’s mental state than it does about the American right.

The instinct to lurch, seemingly involuntarily, into attacks on one’s political opponents in the wake of incidents of mass violence appears to be a fad on the wane. As each incident occurs, fewer and fewer commentators on the left reflexively blame the tea party or Second Amendment rights advocates in the same way that conservatives in the media are now backing off mechanically blaming Hollywood or the videogame industry.

But there will always be holdouts. The paucity of otherwise responsible voices in the media on either side of the political spectrum blaming their opponent’s ideological allies for this latest act of senseless violence suggests that a turning point has been reached. Thank goodness for small favors. The true causes for mass violence are non-partisan. Maybe soon they will be honestly addressed.

[Photo via twitter/L.A. police]

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When Crazed Shooters Can’t Be Linked To The Tea Party, Media Displays Admirable Restraint


This post is by Noah Rothman from Mediaite


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Alleged Los Angeles shooter Christopher Jordan Dorner, influenced by left-leaning media coverage of gun crime in the wake of the Newtown shootings, has virtually paralyzed the City of Angels. Floyd Lee Corkins, a gunman incensed by anti-gay marriage bias after reading articles by the liberal advocacy group Southern Poverty Law Center, took a firearm into the Family Research Council’s headquarters with the intention of killing “as many as possible.” He hoped to smash Chick-fil-A sandwiches in the faces of as many corpses as he could. These shooters were clearly moved by left-wing media, and we should thank every benevolent force in the universe that they were. Had either shooter possessed even a tenuous link to a conservative group, a media-driven hysteria about the malevolent influence of right-wing broadcasters and commentators would be gripping the nation today. Fortunately, when a crazed shooter’s ideology is explicitly and demonstrably left-wing, the media displays admirable restraint about linking a gunman’s politics to their acts of violence.

The instinct by many high profile voices in the media to link violence to right-wing politics is not a new phenomenon, but it has enjoyed a renaissance since the tea party began to achieve political power. The broadcasters who subtly implicated former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in the 2011 attack on a Democratic congresswoman in Tucson, Arizona, is indicative of this bias. CNN host Piers Morgan exemplifies the lamentable instinct to blame conservatism for senseless violence well.

In a November, 2011, interview with Mark Kelly, Morgan said he was shocked by the “extraordinary” fact that Palin did not reach out to former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) immediately after the shooting. Kelly agreed, saying that the infamous map on Palin’s website which featured targets over a variety of congressional districts that Republicans were “targeting” in that year’s midterm elections – an infraction which sparked a national uproar about the marshal imagery employed by politicians since the time of Demosthenes – was “not the right thing to do.”

The implication was clear: Palin had some influence on the crazed gunman who shot up an impromptu meeting of a Congresswoman and her constituents. Palin’s crosshairs map had become a scapegoat for prominent voices from Paul Krugman to Randi Zuckerberg. It did not take much investigation into Loughner’s background to learn that he was not especially political, and was certainly not a fan of Palin’s. Nevertheless, nearly a year after this tragic incident, Morgan clung to that baseless charge.

Since the Newtown shooting, Morgan has been beating the drum about the need for stricter gun laws. His pro-gun control crusade made a deep impression on Dorner, who praised Morgan in his manifesto. So, having been specifically cited as someone who influenced Dorner, Morgan would engage in some introspection. Instead, he dismissed his influence on the L.A. shooter outright.

Morgan tweeted confidently — just hours after the manifesto in which Dorner praised not just Morgan but MSNBC’s programming and a proposed Assault Weapons Ban – that politics has “nothing to do” with Dorner’s rampage.

Unfortunately, the spectacularly wrong-headed approach the media took to assigning nonexistent motives to Loughner did not lead the media to impose some restraint on itself when opining on the politics of crazed shooters.

After Aurora, Colorado, shooter James Holmes attacked moviegoers this summer, ABC News reporter Brian Ross – minutes after the name of the suspect had been leaked to the press – sifted through the white pages to discover that there was one James Holmes in Colorado who happened to be a tea party activist. That incident forced ABC’s President Ben Sherwood to issue an apology.

In February, 2010, when the deranged Joseph Stack flew his Piper Cub into the headquarters of the Internal Revenue Service in Austin, Texas, few in the elite media waited for the dust to settle before blaming conservatism. “The First Tea Party Terrorist?” asked New York Times columnist Robert Wright.

Even though Wright had Stack’s online manifesto in hand – one in which he praises Marxist communism and laments the harsh excesses of American capitalism – Wright used a magicians sleight of hand to nevertheless link Stack to the tea party.

Was he a Tea Partier — or at least a Tea Party sympathizer? Conservatives who say no point to leftish themes in his manifesto. And it’s true that — in a line much-quoted by these conservatives — he seems to wish that the government would do something about health care. Then again, who doesn’t?

In the end, the core unifying theme of the Tea Partiers is populist rage, and this is the core theme in Stack’s ramblings, whether the rage is directed at corporate titans (“plunderers”), the government (“totalitarian”) or individual politicians (“liars”).

When the facts make it impossible to indulge the instinct to link a violent extremist to the right – in Dorner and Corkins’ cases for example – the media displays appropriate caution about assigning political motives to their actions.

That is an laudable impulse. The motives that drive disturbed individuals to commit heinous acts of violence, whatever they are, should not be glorified. Dorner’s manifesto clearly indicates that the media, and its coverage of the gun control debate that has followed the Newtown massacre, influenced him significantly. A responsible media would take that into account and maybe, just maybe, ask what they may be doing to contribute to the increased incidences of mass shootings.

That is a national conversation that Americans deserve. Rest assured, if Dorner or Corkins had been influenced to commit their crimes by right-wing media outlets, we would get it. Sadly, that level of self-awareness is nowhere to be found in today’s media landscape.

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