So far, the Orlando massacre has avoided the fate the detestable “news cycle” — the 24-hour period in which anything of public value is ground up into media sausage that will have spoiled by the next day — might have forced upon it.
On the heroic end of the spectrum, Frank Bruni of the New York Times got to the heart of the matter with lightning speed and characteristic intelligence. In an op-ed piece written only hours after news of the slaughter broke, Bruni wrote: “This was no more an attack just on LGBT people than the bloodshed at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris was an attack solely on satirists. Both were attacks on freedom itself. Both took aim at societies that, at their best, integrate and celebrate diverse points of view, diverse systems of belief, diverse ways to love. And to speak of either massacre more narrowly than that is to miss the greater message, the more pervasive danger, and the truest stakes.”
And: “The Islamic State and its ilk are brutal to gay people, whom they treat in unthinkable ways. They throw gay people from rooftops. The footage is posted online. It’s bloodcurdling, but it’s not unique. In countries throughout the world, to be gay is to be in mortal danger. To embrace love is to court death.”
If only all journalists were as eloquent. Or as honest. Eric Bradner, writing on CNN.com, began his piece with an outright lie: “The rampage at a gay nightclub in Orlando Sunday drew universal condemnation from both parties but exposed deep divisions over how to respond, with President Barack Obama urging new gun laws and Republicans largely silent on the issue.”
No, that isn’t what happened at all. In a widely quoted fart — excuse me, tweet — issued a mere three hours after the unspeakable violence ended, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, a Republican, put his Christian compassion front and center by quoting the New Testament: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”
Patrick just couldn’t wait to smear the victims, insult their memory, and inflict as much pain as possible on their survivors. That’s scarcely evidence of “universal condemnation.” It’s pure cruelty, heartlessness, and unvarnished idiocy.
Of course, everybody knows that the massacre was all the Democrats’ fault. From an unsigned rant in the Australian: “He pledged allegiance to Islamic State, and had a history of association with militant Islamism before slaughtering scores of people at a gay nightclub. Yet American Democrats have refused to acknowledge militant Islamism as the cause of the deadliest jihadist attack on US soil since 9/ 11. Our sympathy is extended to those killed and wounded in the Orlando attack, as well as their families and friends enduring unimaginable grief in the face of unconscionable hatred. To defeat such hatred, however, we must state the plain truth that President Obama would not; the mass murder of homosexuals in Orlando was an act of Islamist terrorism.”
Oh, really? In point of fact, the president first labeled the slaughter “an act of terrorism” before calling it “an act of hate.” What he did not do is employ the word Islamist. The president never uses that word because it tarnishes the entire Muslim world when in fact the terrorists are restricted to a relatively small number of lunatics. It’s rather like the word Zionists — too loaded to be of much use.
Raw Story and other news outlets reflected the shock and disgust Donald Trump provoked with his notorious tweet, “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!” In an interview with the presumptuous Republican presidential nominee, NBC’s Savannah Guthrie had none of it: “To a lot of people, that struck them as unseemly — that at this moment that 49 people lay dead, you were focused on yourself and giving yourself congratulations.” Trump attempted to defend his egomania by saying that Guthrie’s claim (as Raw Story put it) was “‘completely false’ because the tweet went on to say that he would rather have ‘toughness & vigilance’ than ‘congrats.’ ‘But you did stop and say, “Oh, I acknowledge and collect your thanks,” Guthrie observed. ‘And then you later say in this statement, “I predicted this.” Literally everyone predicts that there will be another terrorist attack.’”
Thank you, Savannah Guthrie.
To top it off, it turns out that there were only four congratulatory tweets. Not 4,000. Not 400. Not 40. But four.
The reliably crank WND.com, meanwhile, offered the failed Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson as an expert commentator. The fact that this particular authority believes that being gay is a choice is an irony entirely lost on WND.com. Here’s Joe Kovacs, the (retching sound) writer of the piece — and I don’t need to spell out what it’s a piece of: “‘This incident took place at a gay bar,’ Carson stressed to Fox News.”
Stressed? This word choice is flabbergastingly stupid. Is there a single sentient person who doesn’t know that Pulse is a gay nightclub and that this was an assault on gay people? He continues, quoting Carson: “Many people on the left need to understand… they hate gay people…. These people need to be looking at that for their own survival… to be so ideologically driven that they can’t see that is problematic.”
No, you dimwitted jerk. We know how hated we are. Believe me, we know. It scarcely takes a nutty neurosurgeon to inform us, especially since the nutty neurosurgeon is himself part of the problem.
Not knowing when to quit, Kovacs plunges on with another asinine observation: “James Kallstrom, the former FBI assistant director, agreed with Carson on the threat to homosexuals, saying, ‘They ought to be petrified. They’re the first people they want to kill or throw off a roof.’”
Where is all this sudden concern for LGBT people coming from? As Frank Bruni noted in his op-ed piece, we haven’t exactly ignored ISIS’ habit of hurling gay men off rooftops. If there has been any downplaying or outright denying of these murdered gay men by way of total silence, it has come from the people like Carson and Kallstrom, who somehow thinks he needs to inform us of our own persecution because we aren’t able to figure it out without his help. If it’s any consolation to Kallstrom, I am petrified – not only of ISIS but of him as well. The idea that we need to be informed of the degree to which crackpot religious zealots hate us is nauseating beyond all measure. Saying that they should be ashamed of themselves is like saying that the world should be peaceful. A fat lot of good it does.