News & Politics

Fake News: WaPo Tries to Link Alexandria Shooter to Right-Wing Talk Show Host

This 1992 photo provided by the St. Clair County. Ill., Sheriff's Department shows James T. Hodgkinson. (St. Clair County Illinois Sheriff's Department via AP)

A bizarre Washington Post article that ran over the weekend (“In Alexandria shooter’s hometown, rage-filled radio host channels middle America’s inner frustration”)  has readers shaking their heads in disbelief.

The article strongly suggests, without evidence, that left-wing terrorist James T. Hodgkinson was influenced by a right-wing radio host in his hometown.

Right-wing shock jock Bob Romanik is described by Peter Holley, the author of the piece, as “a surly 68-year-old former East St. Louis street cop” who habitually uses the “N” word.

Romanik is the type of uncouth, racist caricature lefties think every conservative white male is like. “He hates Black Lives Matter and talks proudly about his Caucasian heritage to anyone who will listen,” Holley writes with apparent disdain.

The journalist went to a black church in town and apparently asked members if they thought Hodgkinson was influenced by Romanik.

At the church, members said it would be unfair to suggest any link between Romanik’s words and Hodgkinson’s actions but noted that Romanik speaks to a humiliating pain among the white working class that black Americans have felt for a long time.

It’s interesting that the black church-goers put on their amateur psychologist hats and speculated that Romanik was speaking to the “humiliating pain among the white working class” etc. Because, frankly, that sounds more like something an elite, East Coast liberal might say about conservative talk radio listeners than the sort of thing you would hear from small-town folks at church. But okay.

His controversy-courting radio program — he’s the self-styled “Grim Reaper of Radio” on KQQZ 1190 AM — reaches across this region, in and around Belleville, Ill.

The suburban community about 20 miles east of St. Louis drew attention in recent weeks because it was the hometown of James T. Hodgkinson, the out-of-work politically frustrated home inspector who up and left, drove a van to the Washington area, and then shot four people at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria.

Holley forgot to mention a few things.

  1. The “people” Hodgkinson targeted were Republican congressmen and staffers.
  2. Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) is still in the hospital in serious condition.
  3. Hodgkinson had a “hit list” with at least six Republican names on it.
  4. Hodgkinson was a self-described Democratic Socialist and Bernie Sanders volunteer who despised President Trump, loved Rachel Maddow, and called the GOP “Rethuglicans.”
  5. He belonged to a Facebook group called “Terminate the Republican Party” where he wrote “Trump is a Traitor. Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co.”

Now, most people would consider Hodgkinson to be the polar opposite of Romanik — and probably not a fan. But there is one thing that links him to the radio host that Holley apparently found compelling.

The two lived in the same town. 

And that’s not all. The smoking gun, apparently, is that Romanik thinks Hodgkinson “probably” listened to his show.

“I can’t say for sure if this Hodgkinson guy listened to me, but he probably did,” Romanik said in a recent interview. “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.”

And there you have it. The Washington Post saw fit to post an article linking the Virginia shooter to a local right-wing personality based on that “evidence.”

If that seems like kind of a stretch to you — well, you’re not alone.

Virtually all of the comments under the article are negative and more than a few expressed disbelief that WaPo actually published the piece.

Here are some sample comments:

Is the Washington Post in competition with CNN to see who can self-destruct first?

Romanik, not accepted as a reliable source otherwise, speculates that Hodgkinson probably listened to him: Relevant. Hodgkinson is known to have been a fan of Maddow: Not relevant.

This story is just plain embarrassing. Holley, you should be a gossip reporter for Tiger Beat.

Peter Holley, keep it up and you will be invited soon to be on one of those CNN fake news round tables.  My dad said that the Washington Post was once a respected newspaper. I just don’t see how.

People on Twitter were similarly appalled.

Oh yes. “The climate of hate” always comes from the right according to the liberal media. Just ask the New York Times, which is currently being sued by Sarah Palin for insinuating in a recent article that her rhetoric caused a lunatic in Tucson, Arizona, to shoot Gabrielle Giffords and several others during a political meeting in January of 2011. There was zero evidence for that assertion. Jared Lee Loughner, it turned out, had no connection to Sarah Palin or the tea party. He was a psychotic who heard voices in his head and had it in for Giffords.

There’s less than zero evidence to blame right-wing rhetoric for the Virginia shooting.  The culprit was clearly a lefty, influenced by fellow lefties who hated Trump and “Rethuglicans.”

Much like the author of the Washington Post piece: