Jonah Goldberg‘s latest National Review Online column focuses on ABC News reporter Brian Ross’ recent flub involving the Colorado Batman gunman, whom Ross tried to link erroneously to the local Tea Party.
I have to believe Ross didn’t want to get the story wrong.
It would be nice to know if Ross checked to see if there were any Jim Holmeses around Aurora who were connected to the Occupy Wall Street movement or any who were Muslims. Or was the Tea Party simply the first place he looked? And if so, why?
One possible answer is that even allegedly “objective” journalists follow certain narratives based on their own unspoken ideological assumptions. For instance, when a Muslim shouting “Allahu akbar!” mows down colleagues at Fort Hood or tries to blow up strangers in Times Square, the reflex is to seek proof that it was an “isolated incident” or a “lone wolf.”
But when a white non-Muslim shoots up a political rally or a movie theater, the media reflex is to prove their suspicions of sinister right-wing plots. Going with your gut can be great advice for sleuthing out stories, but awful guidance for reporting them.