The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

MSNBC’s ‘Right-Wing’ Obsession

Posted on | February 23, 2023 | 1 Comment

Following an afternoon nap, I awoke and returned to my downstairs office where the TV was on Fox News live coverage of the Murdaugh trial in South Carolina, which is the most boring thing in the world and I have no idea why anyone thinks otherwise. There’s no element of suspense to the trial, since the accused is obviously guilty, so the real mystery is, why do TV news producers think we want to watch it?

At 5 p.m., I decided to switch to MSNBC — I watch, so you don’t have to — and ooohhh, boy! Believe it or not, Nicolle Wallace was still going on about the Jan. 6, 2021, “insurrection.” Does anyone at that network have the objectivity to point out to the people in charge that their permanent fixation — “January 6 now! January 6 tomorrow! January 6 forever!” — is irrational? Or do they not care, so long as their core audience continues lapping it up with a spoon? Meanwhile, the family dog was acting like she needed a walk, so I took her out for a while to do her business and, when I returned, Wallace had pivoted to talking about THE GROWING MENACE OF RIGHT-WING EXTREMIST VIOLENCE, with Oren Segal of the Anti-Defamation League as guest.

So I’m watching this and realize that Wallace hasn’t actually changed the subject, but rather that she was trying to suggest a connection between the kind of violence that the ADL was talking about and her “January 6 forever” theme. So I looked up the new report by the ADL’s Center on Extremism entitled, “Murder & Extremism in the United States in 2022,” and the first graphic in the report was this:

The trend in “extremist” murders is . . . DOWN!

According to the ADL, there were 78 such killings in 2016, compared to just 25 in 2022, and of those 25 last year, “60% of the murders [i.e., 15] came from just two incidents — deadly shooting sprees in Buffalo, New York, and Colorado Springs, Colorado.” Then I stared at that sentence for a while, thinking: “OK, I remember the Buffalo shooting, but Colorado Springs? What ‘extremist’ mass murder did I miss there?” So I did a quick Google and realized they were talking about this guy:

Remember that guy? Aldrich killed five people at a gay bar, but this was just a few months after he had been arrested following a four-hour standoff with police, an incident reportedly caused by Aldrich’s anger that his grandparents were moving away. Rather than classifying his murder spree as any kind of “extremism,” I categorized it as further proof that Crazy People Are Dangerous (as if further proof were necessary). Obviously, the ADL disagrees, but I just double-checked and found this in the latest news on the Colorado Springs case:

Aldrich’s public defenders pointed to various medications in his name for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, and mood regulation, indicating they may be trying for a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.

So every time a de-institutionalized nutjob commits a crime, we have to examine his lunatic gibberish for a political motive, I guess?

But never mind that. The point is that, even according to the ADL, which has every motive to represent “extremist” violence as a looming threat, the actual numbers of such killings declined in 2022 and, while we’re at it, can we please put this in context of the overall homicide numbers?

According to the FBI, the U.S. had 22,900 homicides in 2021, the most recent year for which such national statistics are available. You see that 25 “extremist” murders are a tiny fraction of this annual total, barely a tenth of one percent (0.109% to be more precise). Of America’s murder victims in 2022, 99.891% were not killed by “extremists.”

Just to put that number into further context, in 2022, Chicago reported 737 homicides, Philadelphia had 526 homicides, Baltimore had 333 homicides, New Orleans had 277 homicides, and St. Louis had 200 homicides. These five cities accounted for a combined total of 2,073 homicides last year — but because none of them were motivated by “extremism,” MSNBC doesn’t care. Murderers in America’s cities can be stacking up corpses to the sky and MSNBC won’t pay the least bit of attention unless there’s an apparent motive of “hate” that might give Nicolle Wallace another opportunity to lecture her audience about the GROWING MENACE OF RIGHT-WING EXTREMISM!

It’s not news, it’s propaganda. It’s about stigmatizing political opposition by conflating Republican voters with “extremist” kooks like that nutjob in Colorado Springs, who should have already been behind bars.




One Response to “MSNBC’s ‘Right-Wing’ Obsession”

  1. It Can’t Happen Here : The Other McCain
    March 6th, 2023 @ 8:46 am

    […] is wildly out of proportion to the size of the actual threat posed by neo-Nazis and their ilk. As I recently pointed out, the Anti-Defamation League’s most recent report on extremist violence found that the number […]