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Conservative media’s reaction to the mass-murdering gunman at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Colorado was fast and furious – immediately predicting the mainstream media would blame Fox News, the Tea Party and talk radio, especially Rush Limbaugh.
Good Morning America on ABC, therefore, played right into the hands of those who preach a liberal media bias when journalist Brian Ross, speaking to host George Stephanopoulos, said alleged perpetrator James Holmes was a Tea Partier, a claim for which he later apologized.
STORY: ABC News Apologizes for Report Linking ‘Dark Knight’ Shooter to Tea Party
Too late. Bloggers and talk-radio already had all the ammo they needed, especially after the James Holmes of the Colorado Tea Party, 28 years older than Holmes the alleged killer, disclosed he had to disconnect his telephone since Ross erroneously reported his connection to the shooting.
“Thank you very much Brian Ross and the responsible chaps at ABC News,” said Mark Steyn, who was substituting for Limbaugh on Friday.
“The definition of a nano-second used to be the time, they said in New York, between the lights changing from red to green and the car behind you honking. The definition of a nano-second now is the time between a mass shooting and some guy from the left blaming it on talk radio, or Sarah Palin, or Fox News,” Steyn said.
Limbaugh has, in fact, been speaking this week about the political overtones of Dark Knight Rises, including the fact that villain Bane has a name that sounds like Bain Capital, a firm GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney used to head and that President Barack Obama has attacked. Limbaugh has also pointed out, as have others, that the plot of the movie seems like an indictment of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Steyn on Wednesday, naturally, defended Limbaugh from some on the left who have already tried to blame him for the shooting.
“The whole point about blaming it on right-wing talk radio, by the way, is that you guys, the listeners to this show, the most listened to show in the United States of America, are too stupid to be able to tell when Rush is dealing in some whimsical, fantastical way with a little bit of movie commentary, and you take him literally and you decide to go out and gun down a bunch of people,” Steyn said. “It’s quite disgraceful that they peddle this line.”
But it wasn’t only The Rush Limbaugh Show weighing in. Talk-radio was abuzz with criticism of ABC and other media outlets that immediately tried to politicize the murders.
STORY: ‘Dark Knight Rises’ Paris Premiere Canceled Due to Colorado Shootings
Dennis Prager, for example, was reading a news report about the ABC segment where Ross and Stephanopoulos blamed the shooting on a Tea Partier, then he cut to Romney speaking live about the tragedy in a religious manner, eschewing politics. “What I heard was perfectly fine,” Prager said afterwards. “This is not a time for politics. That’s exactly why I’m so angry at ABC News. This is exactly what it’s not time for.”
Early Friday morning, Glenn Beck and his radio crew discussed whether ABC should be sued for misidentifying the shooter as a right-wing Tea Partier. Then, he Googled “Brian Ross” to show how easy it would be to attach the name to a crime. Watch the segment below.
At Beck’s website, TheBlaze.com, editors also posted samples of tweets blaming Limbaugh for the shooting.
“Really sad n a damn shame. Wonder how that idiot Rush Limbaugh is feeln this A.m.” reads one. “RUSH LIMBAUGH should be charged under the Incendiary Speech Act,” says another.
Leading the charge against ABC and other outlets, though, probably is the Media Research Center and Breitbart.com.
MRC’s Web site quickly posted the Good Morning America clip, and added in its commentary that “Ross immediately attempted to make the shooting political. At 4:13 a.m., he (Brian Ross) tweeted, “No shortage of gun shops in the #Aurora area, more than 20 listed plus pawn shops #Colorado #batman #shooting.”
Breitbart.com picked apart ABC’s first attempt at an apology, accusing it of trying to spread the blame around by invoking “social media” and “members of the public” who may have mistaken one Holmes for another.
Breitbart.com also contacted the Tea Partier that Ross and Stephanopoulos spoke of, a 52-year-old Hispanic man who used to work for the county courthouse in Aurora, Colorado, near the theater where the shooting took place.
Holmes told Breitbart.com “it was freaky” to learn ABC tied his name to the shooting, so he disconnected his phone and worries for his family.
Meanwhile, the site Twitchy.com, run by conservative commentator Michelle Malkin, has been collecting tweets between liberals Keith Olbermann and staffers for the Daily Kos debating the appropriate amount of time to wait before using the shooting for political gain.
And writing for PJ Media, Rick Moran asks, “Why is Brian Ross still working for ABC News?” He also includes a link for emailing ABC.
“What made Ross make a beeline straight for the Tea Party website in the first place?” asks Moran. “Did he also check the Occupy Denver page? Somehow, I doubt it even crossed his mind.”
The Tea Party Patriots of Colorado also issued a statement reading, in part, “The attempts of some media organizations to characterize the shooter as a Tea Party member without having made any effort to contact our organization are shameless and reprehensible.”
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