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Absolutely Disgraceful': Violent Pro-Union Rhetoric & the Media's Disturbing Double Standard


There will be blood.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday signed into law two bills that prohibit unions from collecting fees from nonunion employees, marking yet another major defeat for organized labor in the Rust Belt.

But perhaps more shocking than the fact that Michigan -- Michigan! -- is now a right-to-work state is the fact that many of the legislation's most staunch opponents have gone virtually unchallenged in their rhetoric.

“Whoever votes for this,” Michigan Education Association President Steve Cook warned on Monday, “is not going to have any peace for the next two years.”

The next day, Democrat State Representative Douglas Geiss threatened right-to-work supporters from the floor of the Michigan House of Representatives.

“We are about to undue 100 years of [labor progress],” said Rep. Geiss. “And there will be blood.”

Thankfully, Geiss didn't mention anything about milkshakes.

“We will relive the Battle of the Overpass,” he added, referring to a violent 1937 incident involving union workers and Ford Motor Company security guards.

The Michigan House of Representatives Democratic Caucus even tweeted (and later deleted) Rep. Giess ominous remarks:

And the crowning moment in pro-union warnings came when Jimmy Hoffa, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters union, on Tuesday predicted a “civil war”:

As reported earlier by TheBlaze, there was violence in Lansing. Conservative comedian and Fox News contributor Steven Crowder was assaulted by an alleged union activist:

A tent owned by the pro-right-to-work group Americans for Prosperity was destroyed and collapsed on top of women and children:


And Lansing’s own Clint Tarver had his hot dog stand smashed apart by alleged union activists:


“I crawled out of the tent as they cut it. My tables were being spilled and stepped on. It was all just destroyed. I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing and seeing,” Tarver told the Lansing State Journal.

Simply put, some pro-union supporters made remarks that sounded like they were encouraging violence and -- surprise! -- there was some violence.

This is where things get interesting.

You see, despite the fact that there is documented evidence of people making what sounds like threats and actual violence from alleged union supporters, there has been a bit of a media blackout. In fact, according to the conservative Media Research Center, Tuesday’s ABC, CBS, and NBC evening newscasts all ignored the attacks, only referring to the protests as “boisterous.”

“None of them mentioned the attack on Crowder or showed the videos of that attack and the thugs tearing down a[n Americans for Prosperity]tent with people in it, both widely available on the Internet hours before the evening news show broadcast,” MRC’s Dan Gainor writes in an op-ed on Wednesday.

“No network quoted Teamsters head Jimmy Hoffa predicting 'civil war' between lawmakers and union members,” he adds.

Considering the fact that some in the media have made it their duty to falsely accuse conservatives of inciting violence, all the while speculating on how conservative "incivility" motivates criminals, we'd say the Lansing blackout reveals a pretty disturbing double standard.

Think about it: There is audio of a Democrat congressman talking about "blood in the streets." There is video of a Fox News contributor being assaulted. And this didn't merit discussion by the big three networks?

Okay, we know we’ve done this before (back in July), but in light of recent events, we think it bears repeating. For you consideration, here are some recent examples of when the media has -- without any evidence or proof -- rushed to (falsely) blame conservatives for random and senseless acts of violence:

Dr. Amy Bishop

Dr. Amy Bishop (AP)

University of Alabama in Huntsville professor Dr. Amy Bishop on February 12, 2010, opened fire on 12 of her colleagues with 9-millimeter handgun, killing three and wounding three more.

After the horrific incident, Reuters Foundation Fellow Jonathan Curiel pondered her motivation: “Does racism explain the tenure shooting and the tea party movement?”

No. It doesn’t.

Had Curiel done a little legwork, he would have discovered not only Bishop’s long history of violence, but also the fact that, according to one family source, she “was a far-left political extremist who was obsessed with President Obama.”

The Discovery Channel Eco-Terrorist

Jason Lee (image courtesy: CBS News/Shepherd Johnson)

Armed with two starter pistols and an explosive device, 43-year-old eco-terrorist James Lee entered the Discovery Communications headquarters in Silver Spring, Md., on September 1, 2010, and took three people hostage. After a tense four-hour standoff, authorities shot Lee dead, freeing the hostages.

But when the story broke, Think Progress rushed to claim that Lee’s rambling, incoherent, and frightening eco-manifesto sounded, like, totally similar to certain conservative immigration reform groups.Therefore, he’s probably one of those crazy, right-wing extremists, right?


Here’s a sample of Lee’s manifesto:

Humans are the most destructive, filthy, pollutive [sic] creatures around and are wrecking what’s left of the planet with their false morals and breeding culture.

For every human born, ACRES of wildlife forests must be turned into farmland in order to feed that new addition over the course of 60 to 100 YEARS of that new human’s lifespan! THIS IS AT THE EXPENSE OF THE FOREST CREATURES!!!! All human procreation and farming must cease!

It is the responsibility [sic] of everyone to preserve the planet they live on by not breeding any more children who will continue their filthy practices. Children represent FUTURE catastrophic pollution whereas their parents are current pollution. NO MORE BABIES!

Conservatives support many things, but a world where people die so that trees might live isn’t one of them.

The Times Square Bomber

Faisal Shahza (AP)

On May 1, 2010, two New York Times Square street vendors noticed smoke pouring out of an SUV and quickly alerted a nearby police officer. Upon further investigation, authorities discovered a car bomb that had failed to detonate and removed it without any further incident.

The media and left-leaning politicians didn’t waste any time jumping to conclusions.

The person who tried to bomb Times Square was probably “a mentally deranged person or somebody with a political agenda that doesn’t like the health-care bill or something,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg suggested during an interview with Katie Couric.

The Nation’s Robert Dreyfuss claimed that the bomber was “either a lone nut job or a member of some squirrely branch of the Tea Party, anti-government far right. Which actually exists in Connecticut, where, it seems, the car’s license plates were stolen.”

And, of course, from the lovely folks at the Daily Kos:

The reality is that in this country there seem to be essentially two scenarios that can unfold at this point when we hear about terrorism, two kinds of people/groups that typically end up being involved. And that says quite a lot in and of itself. If I were the Tea Partiers, I wouldn’t be too quick to dwell on the question of why Americans might think they’re involved in terrorism. I don’t think that’s a discussion that’s going to go well for them.

Two days after the bomb was found, the feds arrested 30-year-old Faisal Shahza who, according to U.S. officials, was trained in a Pakistani terrorist camp. He was later found guilty and sentenced to life in prison for his botched attempt at terrorism. When the judge told him that he’d never walk again as a free man, Shahza responded with “Allahu akbar.”

“If I am given 1,000 lives, I will sacrifice them all for the sake of Allah fighting this cause, defending our lands, making the word of Allah supreme over any religion or system,” Shahza told a packed courtroom.

So, wait, he wasn’t mad about Obamacare?

'The Dark Knight' Massacre

James E. Holmes appears in Arapahoe County District Court in Centennial, Colo., July 23, 2012. (AP)

After James Holmes committed unspeakable acts of violence at a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” last Friday, ABC’s Brian Ross — in what can only be described as a sloppy act of journalism — practically jumped at the chance to tie the shooter to the Tea Party.

“There is a Jim Holmes of Aurora, CO, uh Paige, on the Colorado Tea Party site as well, talking about him joining the Tea Party last summer. We don’t know if this is the same Jim Holmes, but it is Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado,” Ross said.

Problem: Ross and ABC never investigated the connection. Had they checked their facts, they would’ve discovered that the 52-year-old Tea Partier was not, in fact, the same man arrested by Aurora police that morning.

But that didn’t stop Ross. He went on national television and casually tossed out the idea that the Tea Party might somehow be connected to the “Batman” massacre.

Palin Caused the Gabby Giffords Shooting

Jared Loughner (AP)

Aside from the “Batman” massacre, this is probably the most egregious example of the media rushing to blame conservatives for terrible acts of violence.

Mentally disturbed and apolitical Jared Loughner on January 8, 2011, took a taxi to a Safeway supermarket in Casas Adobes, Ariz., and opened fire on a crowd that had gathered to meet Democrat Rep. Gabby Giffords. Loughner’s rampage left six people dead and injured thirteen more, including the congresswoman who, miraculously, survived a bullet to the head.

But before the police even had time to collect all of the shell casings, the media had already accused former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin — and everyone like her – of being responsible for Loughner’s insanity.

“Arizona massacre: Should Sarah Palin share the blame?” read one headline.

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, blamed Palin as well as Sharron Angle for the shooting: “I think [their] statements are totally irresponsible and they’re not without consequences.”

Elsewhere, the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank blamed Palin and Glenn Beck for the shooting.

“Both are finally being held to account for recklessly playing with violent images in a way that is bound to incite the unstable,” said Milbank during an appearance on CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”

The New York Times’ Paul Krugman published a blog post blaming conservatives for the tragedy within just hours of the incident:

Just yesterday, Ezra Klein remarked that opposition to health reform was getting scary. Actually, it’s been scary for quite a while, in a way that already reminded many of us of the climate that preceded the Oklahoma City bombing.

You know that Republicans will yell about the evils of partisanship whenever anyone tries to make a connection between the rhetoric of Beck, Limbaugh, etc. and the violence I fear we’re going to see in the months and years ahead. But violent acts are what happen when you create a climate of hate. And it’s long past time for the GOP’s leaders to take a stand against the hate-mongers.

Here’s the best part of his junk logic: “We don’t have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was.”

Wait, what?

Of course, as everyone now knows, Loughner wasn’t motivated by conservatives --  he was motivated by the voices in his head. Prior to the Tuscon shooting, he didn’t watch TV, he burned American flags, he “disliked” the news, he pored over “The Communist Manifesto” and “Mein Kampf,” and he didn’t listen to talk radio. Furthermore, it has been revealed that he is a registered independent.

“He didn’t take sides. He wasn’t on the left. He wasn’t on the right,” said Loughner’s high school friend Zach Osle.


Now let’s be absolutely clear: What happened in Lansing pales in comparison to what happened in Aurora and Tucson. It’s not even close. We are not equating what happened to Tarver and Crowder with the horror Holmes and Loughner inflicted on innocent people.

Our point is this: With no evidence whatsoever, left-leaning personalities have in the past practically tripped over themselves to be the first to blame conservatives for violence. But when people on the left are actually caught making ominous warnings of violence, and violence does occur, for some reason the media becomes very concerned that we don’t rush to judgment.

“It’s the old story -- at time of Gabby Giffords shooting, the problem was apparently metaphor,” said National Review columnist Mark Steyn during a Wednesday’s broadcast of Fox News Channel’s “Your World with Neil Cavuto.”

“Metaphor was dangerous, if you say you were Sarah Palin and said this particular congressional district is in the crosshairs, you were fomenting violence. Now we have actually violence, and it goes entirely unreported by all the ninnies and nellies who were wailing about the use of metaphor at the time of the Gabby Giffords thing,” he adds.

“Absolutely disgraceful, but as you say entirely predictable.”

Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

Featured image courtesy Steven Crowder. This post has been updated.

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