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Op-ed: Tragedy in Wisconsin underscores liberal media bias

In contemporary American journalism, media bias isn’t just favoring one side — almost always the liberal view — over the other. It’s also the absence of coverage that illustrates which way the national media lean.

Take the example of Phillip Thiessen of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

After high school, Thiessen joined the U.S. Marine Corps. After a four-year hitch, he left the Marines and became a police officer in Fairfax, Virginia. He spent 26 years protecting the people of that community before deciding to return to his home state, serving as an agent with the Wisconsin Department of Justice, where he worked to stop the targeting of children over the internet. After two years of that, he retired.

On July 3 Thiessen was riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle when he was hit and killed in a head-on collision. Local cops say the suspect, Daniel Navarro, specifically targeted Thiessen because he was a white guy on a Harley.

According to the local media, Navarro, who is Hispanic, had told investigators “that if [President Donald] Trump and white people are going to create a world like we are living in then he has no choice and people are going to have to die.”

Furthermore, the cops noted that Navarro had been “thinking about targeting a white person and killing them with a vehicle earlier that day,” and he “picked a motorcycle because he wanted the person to die.” 

According to Navarro’s twisted logic, “white people drive motorcycles,” the cops noted, and “Harley culture is made up of white racists.”

Navarro has been charged with first-degree murder as well as a hate crime for the racial nature of the incident.

But there is one telling aspect of the case.

One local television news reported “Navarro also told detectives that people were poisoning him. Navarro believes he was being targeted because he’s Mexican. The criminal complaint also recorded statements from Navarro’s parents, who said Navarro watched a lot of news, went on the Internet to watch YouTube videos and didn’t socialize with anyone.”

It may turn out that Navarro is psychologically disturbed in other ways besides just harboring hatred for white people. 

But does anyone doubt what the media’s reaction would have been if a MAGA-hat-wearing Trump supporter had brutally murdered a Black Lives Matter activist after watching “a lot of news” and deciding that he didn’t like the world BLM was creating, then “people would have to die”?

Of course, not. In such a case, Phillip Thiessen’s name would be as well known as George Floyd’s or Breonna Taylor’s.

Writing at National Review Online, Jake Curtis, a Milwaukee lawyer and former top staff attorney in former Gov. Scott Walker’s administration, spelled out the duplicity at work here: 

“To be clear, the media did not cause the attack, at least no more than it caused the attacks that nearly killed Reps. Steve Scalise or Gabby Giffords. Evil people consciously choose to commit evil acts using whatever tools of destruction are available. However, when national media and Wisconsin’s largest news outlets essentially ignore something so clearly tied to national events, it becomes nearly impossible not to conclude that they are doing so because it does not fit their preordained narrative,” he wrote. 

“While the media did not cause the attack, its unrelenting focus on what it claims to be poisonous race relations clearly had the effect, at least in the case of Navarro, of contributing to his decision to carry it out. Put another way, if President Trump’s rhetoric has contributed to a breakdown in civil discourse, then the media at least played a small role in triggering a deranged individual such as Navarro to kill.”

As noted, deciding what to pay attention to can be as much evidence of media bias as slanting a story a particular way. It’s shameful that the national media, which is driving this “teachable moment” about America’s supposedly flawed race relations, has ignored what happened to Phillip Thiessen because it obviously doesn’t fit their world view. 

Thus, for the mainstream media, the “conversation” about race really appears to be just a lecture.

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