For roughly five years, the public was warned by journalists that former President Donald Trump’s dark rhetoric toward his political enemies and the media would result in mass violence and even murder. It didn’t happen.
But in the wake of President Joe Biden’s red-drenched prime-time rant on Sept. 1, there have been two such instances of direct political violence. These have led to the deaths of a teenager in North Dakota and a journalist at the hands of a Democratic politician.
We’ve seen 41-year-old Shannon Brandt, who purposely struck and killed 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson. Brandt claimed he thought Ellingson was a “Republican extremist” and admitted to murdering the teenager over a political dispute. Still, a brief search of the websites of CNN, ABC, NBC, and CBS yielded no returns for the name “Shannon Brandt,” and save for conservative media, the story has evaded coverage by national outlets.
The next incident involved the murder of Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative journalist Jeff German. German had been investigating abuse allegations against Public Administrator Robert Telles. Telles had lashed out at German’s reporting several times on Twitter. Shortly after German’s murder, he was arrested and charged with the killing. Yelles, a Democrat, was also an enthusiast for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), attending her CNN town hall during the 2020 election.
Again, however, Telles’s party identification has all but been erased from national news stories. The media have settled on simply describing Telles as an elected official. In a detailed write-up of the crime and the charges Telles faces, the Associated Press completely omitted his party identification. Top line: Members of the national media are going out of their way to protect a person charged with the murder of one of their own colleagues. It’s a level of professional shamelessness rarely seen for an industry already well known for protecting Democrats.
Still, these are two specific and exceptionally serious incidents that occurred after the sitting president called for a full-frontal press against his political opponents — opponents, it should be noted, whom he openly described as unpatriotic extremists. But neither Biden nor his administration has been made to answer for this dark rhetoric. Either targeted political rhetoric leads to violence and even death, as our media dutifully warned for years, or it doesn’t. But it cannot be both.
Let’s be clear: Were the situation reversed, were Trump still president and the victims Democrats, we would be seeing wall-to-wall coverage on cable news for days. Imagine if Trump or another Republican president gave a speech similar to Biden’s address, while Independence Hall was bathed in blood-red lights and the president was flanked by Marines. Imagine that shortly thereafter, a Republican elected official murdered a journalist critical of him. Now imagine if a MAGA hat-wearing Trump supporter ran down a teenager and told the police it was because he believed the teenager, without evidence, was a member of the far-left group antifa. Now imagine you’re a member of our current media.
You get my point.
Stephen L. Miller ( @redsteeze ) has written for National Review, the New York Post, and Fox News and hosts the Versus Media podcast.