by Erik Halvorson
Over the past few years, Leftist media outlets have published a litany of articles in support of gun control and other “intersectional” policies. Take, for example, these headlines from Salon: “Mass Shooters Part of a Larger Epidemic of White Male Rage” and “It’s Not About Mental Illness: The Big Lie That Always Follows Mass Shootings by White Males.” The Huffington Post even has an entire section devoted to their gun-grabbing policy goals and has given a prominent platform to children who accuse law-abiding NRA members of being uncaring toward shooting victims. Clearly, there is an agenda and a viewpoint at work. It has been evident for years what Salon, The Huffington Post, and other Leftist publications stand for, and their intersectional approach to politics is no surprise. What is surprising is their response following the country’s most recent shooting at the YouTube headquarters in San Bruno, California.
This past week, an armed woman entered the YouTube’s home office, opened fire, and wounded three people before taking her own life. The woman has since been identified as Nasim Najafi Aghdam, and while initial stories reported she was a disgruntled girlfriend attacking her boyfriend, upon investigation of her YouTube channels and specifically her website, it has become apparent that the attack was most likely perpetrated due to her belief that she was being silenced by YouTube. In a post on her website, she stated, “There is no free speech in the real world and you will be suppressed for telling the truth that is not supported by the system. Videos of targeted users are filtered and merely relegated, so that people can hardly see them. There is no equal growth opportunity on YouTube or any other video sharing site, your channel will grow if they want it to.”
Following the shooting, The Huffington Post ran a story with this curious headline: “The Media Needs to Think Twice About How They Portray Mass Shooters.” The irony is overwhelming. Although they may not realize it, The Huffington Post is a part of the very media they criticize, and they and their ilk are the ones overgeneralizing and making inflammatory claims following every single mass shooting in the United States.
But we might further ask: Why has there been so little coverage of this particular shooting? Why haven’t YouTube workers been plastered all over social media and cable news like the students involved in the most recent tragedy in Parkland, Florida? It has only been a few days and yet: media silence.
There are a few obvious answers to this question. First of all, this shooting was far less deadly than the Parkland shooting. Thankfully, there have been no deaths (besides the shooter) and only three victims. Second, the victims were adults, not children. They do not garner nearly as much attention or sympathy from the American public as school aged children do. But finally, there is something more sinister at work. The YouTube shooting has already left the public consciousness because it doesn’t fit the media’s narrative — especially the narrative illustrated by Salon and The Huffington Post above.
The shooter was a non-white female, and based upon her activism as a PETA supporter and other causes championed on her YouTube channels, she was ideologically on the Left. Furthermore, the shooting was perpetrated with a handgun in a gun-free zone in California, a state with some of the strictest gun laws in the country. Because of all this, The Huffington Post has the ability to print such contradictory headlines as the one above without fear of being called out for cognitive dissonance.
No matter who you are or what you think about guns — whether you are right, left or center — please be intellectually consistent. If you hold a tenable position on this issue, it should be able to stand up to any new situation that occurs. If we as a country really do care about the victims of gun violence, then we must care about all of them, and we must pursue policy that helps prevent all of these events, not just the ones that lend support to our respective policy agendas.
Photo credit: Gregory Varnum via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0