One day, the press will learn to wait for the facts before casting accusations, but at the Washington Post, it is not today.
As the news flashed about the horrific shooting that took place in Allen, Texas on Saturday, the Washington Post rushed out an early report on the incident. Although they had sketchy details regarding the shooter and what took place, one thing the paper was confident in reporting: the likelihood of the shooter being a white supremacist.
There appear to be too many things aligned to resist running forward with a narrative on this event: an AR-15 is said to have been used, the shooting took place in Texas, and the gun control messaging was all set to go. Finding out the killer was possibly also from a hate group would be just the icing the paper needed on this four-layer outrage dessert.
Now, right off the top, we have to point out that the Washington Post admitted to not having all of the facts.
A video that could not be immediately verified showed what appeared to be the gunman after he was fatally shot outside a burger restaurant, wearing tactical gear with several magazines of ammunition on his chest. What appeared to be an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle lay beside him.
So, here is the paper stating things have not yet proven out – including hedging on the weaponry involved – but while admitting they could not verify these details, they felt strongly enough about the racist motivation behind these killings, including declaring a potential neo-Nazi connection in the headline. This alone should have been enough of a warning for the editors, but instead, they decided to run this hype job.
The 33-year-old gunman who opened fire on an outlet mall in a Dallas suburb Saturday, killing at least eight people, had an apparent fascination with white supremacist or neo-Nazi beliefs that are now being examined by investigators as a possible motive for the attack, people familiar with the investigation said Sunday.
The Post used seven writers for this piece, yet no one felt the need to ask a few pertinent questions?! First, what would motivate a white supremacist to shoot other whites at a mall? Of the victims listed, there was a mix of races — including whites — and there is no connection given by any news outlets. A security guard, adults, and children were among those shot. No reports have yet indicated that anyone was targeted as a result of race, which would seem an important factor in highlighting a white supremacist being behind the killings.
Second, precisely how “white” is the shooter named Mauricio Garcia? Other photos of the expired killer have surfaced and he is Hispanic, while also emblazoned with gang tattoos. When authorities went to his residence his parents could not speak English.
The FBI and police raided dead Garcia’s Dallas home just one hour after the massacre and requested a translator to speak with his family.
Just that quickly, the pushed narrative has begun to show cracks, and what is left is the fractured argument of whether a Hispanic individual can be considered “white.” Even applying this very strained standard, the entire purpose of white supremacy is racial purity, so an individual named Garcia hailing from immigrants more likely would be their target than a member. Now, it is not impossible that there are those from other ethnicities who might undertake these teachings, but the very fact that we have all of these variables in play would mean this is the time to pump the brakes and be sure you have your facts square.
One other indicator of the default approach is that there is hardly any reference to Garcia’s ethnicity beyond the claims of his being white. Hispanic or Latino is rarely mentioned, and we surely will see no approach to referring to him as “LatinX”, the media-preferred designation for Hispanics. What is clear is the single-minded approach by the journalists when there is every reason to step back and question things, rather than make pronouncements.
It is clear they have their narrative in place. What has yet to be put in place are the facts supporting the claims.
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