Media assumptions that violence is right-wing are routine — and routinely wrong.
On Friday morning, Brian Ross of ABC News speculated on live TV that James Holmes, the accused killer in Aurora, Colo., was a member of the Tea Party. A few hours later, Ross posted a short apology online; Holmes had no Tea Party connection.
Ross’ unfounded speculation wasn’t unusual (although the speed of his apology was). This was merely the latest case of media commentators jumping to the conclusion that violent attrocities should be attributed to members of the political right. Let’s look back at how often the media has falsely invoked Tea Partiers and other “right-wing nut jobs” in the past few years.