Last week, North Carolina state government reporters obviously took offense to being called "jihad media" by a State Senator.
Barely a week removed from the attempted assassination of dozens of Republican Congressmen, NC media folks were quite upset over the use of such violent rhetoric.
Coming from a Republican.
Laura Leslie at WRAL wrote
Bishop's relationship with the media has been contentious at times, but this appears to be the first time he has likened reporters to terrorists.
Did he? Did he say reporters are like terrorists? He did not, actually.
The coverage illustrates just how large of a blindspot NC reporter and media have when it comes to political coverage.
Here is the tweet we are all supposed to be offended by...
Petty, jihad media, carrying water as always. https://t.co/0ghnqMkJy3— Dan Bishop (@jdanbishop) June 22, 2017
Colin Campbell, who covers state politics for the News & Observer got the tweet-coverage going...
NC senator has apparently moved on from calling us "corporate media" and now calls us "jihad media" https://t.co/eVs0ngWb6m— Colin Campbell (@RaleighReporter) June 22, 2017
Campbell's reference here is to a previous Twitter interaction he had with Bishop over the Senator's criticism of the way the Associated Press covered a story about President Donald Trump.
Campbell was obviously very concerned about this, too...
Isn't "corporate media" a phrase that Bernie Sanders likes to use?— Colin Campbell (@RaleighReporter) June 8, 2017
Is your point that there isn't one or that you're not in it? https://t.co/MKUS4hwjGx— Dan Bishop (@jdanbishop) June 8, 2017
He's a political reporter. He reporter what you said. How is that circling wagons?— Patrick Brown (@patrickal_brown) June 8, 2017
Believe me, he quotes selectively and with purpose. https://t.co/o8EkWOHjkY— Dan Bishop (@jdanbishop) June 8, 2017
When you enter the political arena, as Campbell has done here, it's dishonest to pretend you're not a participant.
Now, fast-forward 2 weeks from this Twitter exchange -- during which time there was an attempted assassination of about two dozen Republican Congressman as they practiced for an annual charity baseball game. The only reasons the Congressmen survived are modern medicine, two armed Capitol Police officers, and the shooter was an awful shot.
During this two-week period, the News & Observer did exactly zero stories on whether Democrats and their affiliated groups on the political Left might need to do some self-examination. There were no stories about whether Democrats may have helped incite the attempted murders by their use of over-the-top rhetoric and demagoguery.
Nobody on the Left was asked to condemn hyperbolic exaggerations and hate-filled speech.
Instead, the first speech policing effort was directed at Sen. Dan Bishop over his "jihad media" term.
Questioned about his use of the term “jihad” – typically associated with terrorism by Islamic extremists – Bishop defended the comment in additional tweets.
“How can I ‘disagree’ with a ‘news’ story?” Bishop wrote. “Isn’t it supposed to be facts? Or is it a jihad: ‘any vigorous, emotional crusade’?”
He continued his defense of the comment Thursday morning: “What is the right term for media so partisan their support for free speech is selective?”
This N&O article also included a comment from the NC Senate Leader Phil Berger's office:
Senate leader Phil Berger’s office issued a statement Thursday that was critical of Bishop’s choice of language.
“While Sen. Berger wouldn’t have used those words, he certainly understands Sen. Bishop’s frustration with the overt liberal bias of some of the state’s reporters,” Berger spokeswoman Shelly Carver said in an email. “It would probably be helpful for all sides to tone down the over-the-top rhetoric against those involved in various forms of public service, including so-called religious leaders using incendiary terms like ‘all-white extremists,’ ‘hijackers,’ and ‘criminals’ to describe public officials. We have not seen the media hold those people to account."
This is the standard to which the NC Capitol Press Corps adheres: If a Republican says something, then Republicans must be asked to condemn, condone, disavow, or support it.
This is the same standard by which Republicans are held nationally, as well.
I am fine with this standard - if it's applied to Democrats, too.
But it's not - as we saw in the aftermath of the Conrgressional assassination attempt.
Rev. William Barber - a now-national figure in the Democratic Party - has a long history of inflammatory, divisive, and hyperbolic rhetoric.
Barber spoke at the Democratic National Convention in November.
Barber was the de facto head of the NC Democratic Party during the early part of this decade, using his Moral Monday protests to organize a party that had been wrecked by scandal, electoral defeats, and fiscal calamity.
Barber, the state chairman of the NC NAACP, is a leader within the state Democratic Party.
The NC political press corps knows this.
Here is the News & Observer's Will Doran...
So, is this rhetoric over the line?
Is this kind of rhetoric worthy of a condemn/condone quote from NC Democratic lawmakers and leaders?
It is not.
Doran, to his credit, responded.
I read it. You framed the story in your yweet with the "but Dallas..." phrasing. You also failed to ask Dems to disavow. 1/2— (((Pete Kaliner))) (@PeteKaliner) June 25, 2017
He has yet to respond again.
This is one of the most obvious blindspots of the NC political media.
The rush to get disavowals and condemnations from fellow Republicans is never applied to Democrats.
This is precisely the kind of thing Sen. Bishop was highlighting in his criticism of the "jihad media."
That's easy. Barber was criticizing Republicans. Fair game. @jdanbishop was criticizing the media. No group of people is more thin-skinned.— Brent Woodcox (@BrentWoodcox) June 24, 2017
How true. Media's authority is dependent on a patina of objectivity. The latter has failed utterly, and the former is failing in turn. https://t.co/OxVE0H56EG— Dan Bishop (@jdanbishop) June 24, 2017
As media ethics continue to decline, it's no wonder that the public perception of the press is deteriorating as quickly as it is. https://t.co/aVWIV2GIHZ— Brent Woodcox (@BrentWoodcox) June 24, 2017
If you've read this far, you can guess what happens next...
So laughably predictable and ridiculous.
Again... it's dishonest to enter the political arena and then pretend you're not a participant.
Further, I am completely unconvinced that I need to rely on NC reporters for guidance as to what speech is unacceptable, given they do absolutely nothing to police the speech of the Democrats.