The Washington Post took lots of heat over the weekend after the outlet published a story that appeared to connect last month's leftist baseball shooter to a right-wing radio host.
James Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois, opened fire last month on a group of congressional Republicans at a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia, who were practicing for the annual Republican versus Democrat baseball game that raises money for charity.
Hodgkinson was able to wound four people, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), before being shot by a Capitol Police officer who was part of Scalise's security detail. Hodgkinson later died of his injuries.
On the day of the shooting, it was quickly discovered that Hodgkinson was an ultra-progressive Democrat who supported Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) during last year's election. Hodgkinson's social media postings also revealed that he had a deep hatred for President Donald Trump and Republicans. All of that evidence led investigators to point to politics as Hodgkinson's motive.
But that didn't stop the Post from apparently alleging Saturday that Hodgkinson was partly inspired by a pro-Trump, right-wing radio host in his hometown.
The news outlet in a story titled, "In Alexandria shooter’s hometown, rage-filled radio host channels middle America’s inner frustration," profiled local Belleville radio host Bob Romanik. The story describes Romanik as a racist, pro-Trump supporter who blames crime on black people.
While Romanik's radio audience may largely be filled with Republicans and white people, the Post story also connected "disenfranchised Democrats" to Romanik by quoting remarks the radio host recently made.
"I can’t say for sure if this Hodgkinson guy listened to me, but he probably did," Romanik said recently, according to the Post. "If people would be honest about what drove Hodgkinson to the point of violence, you’d probably see a lot of people right on the same page with him all over the country. But around here, for sure."
Needless to say, Twitter was pretty fired up about the story and people were quick to rebuke the Post. After all, Hodginson's own social media postings describe perfectly how he felt about non-liberals.
Devoted Bernie supporter shoots up baseball field of Republicans. Washington Post blames pro Trump talk radio in hi… https://t.co/9IRbN9iFrw— Stephen L. Miller (@Stephen L. Miller)1499545470.0
(1) Find inflammatory local radio host. (2) Find people who listen to him. (3) Say shooter could maybe have been a listener. Journalism.— Gabriel Malor (@Gabriel Malor)1499566207.0
Revision of year: WP suggests, without evidence, Alexandria shooter was inspired by right-wing bigoted radio talker. https://t.co/97tHJDrofH— Byron York (@Byron York)1499544839.0
Like blaming Oswald on right-wing Dallas, as the NYT still does.— Ramesh Ponnuru (@RameshPonnuru) July 8, 2017
But none of those listeners tried to kill lawmakers.— Tasha Stevens (@tstevensradio) July 8, 2017
What's the point of this? The shooter hated Trump and there's no indication in the story he listened to this pro-Tr… https://t.co/TwKpTbOTF9— Katherine Miller (@Katherine Miller)1499544511.0
This is so dumb.— Jay Caruso (@JayCaruso) July 8, 2017
A. The shooter was a Bernie Sanders supporter and fan of Maddow
B. Nobody outside of St. Louis knows who that is.
Wow. https://t.co/Rsf2ULg390— Jonah Goldberg (@Jonah Goldberg)1499556209.0
This is classic, grade F #FakeNews. This is how the immoral Left rewrites history. They create associations which lead to false conclusions.— Discarded Virtues (@DiscardedVirtue) July 8, 2017
Democracy dies in #FakeNews— Mister Duke (@LeviathanLeap) July 8, 2017
WaPo simply WON'T accept the FACT that it is the LEFT that has SERIOUS violence issues. Like the G20 riots; 100 cops injured.— Michael Openshaw (@mopenshaw) July 8, 2017
The shooter's Facebook page was full of MSNBC. Why are you trying so desperately to falsely tie this to the right?— Jake Domino (@jake_domino) July 8, 2017
Similarly, the New York Times also tried to downplay the role that Democratic politics played in Hodgkinson's decision to attack the GOP congressmen just days after the attack happened while Scalise was still in the hospital fighting for his life.