News & Politics

Suspect in Boise Stabbing Spree Doesn't Quite Match Media's Narrative

A horrific stabbing spree at a Boise, Idaho, apartment complex last night left nine people injured, including six children. Local media reports state that four of the victims have life-threatening injuries.

The national media quickly seized on the fact that the apartment complex was known to house refugees and that some of the victims themselves were apparently refugees.

Despite the fact that the 30-year-old male suspect was arrested last night at 8:50 p.m. and his arrest record and mugshot were posted on the Ada County Sheriff’s website at 3:46 this morning, none of the articles identified the suspect.

CNN left the suspect’s identity out, too, while pushing the refugee status of the victims:

That the victims were refugees — with no mention of the suspect’s identity — was quickly highlighted by establishment media types:

The seeming direction that the media narrative took was that this was a hate crime by someone from out of state, directed at Boise’s refugee community and fueled by anti-immigration rhetoric.

Alas, that doesn’t seem to be the case with arrested suspect Timmy Earl Kinner:

A quick internet search shows a series of arrests and charges for Kinner in a number of states, including apparently being shot by a homeowner during a burglary, but nothing to indicate any anti-immigrant animus or bias, just a career criminal.

That notwithstanding, the message that the horrific stabbings last night were fueled by anti-refugee sentiments and by President Trump quickly took hold on social media, including from D.C.-area PR specialist Brian Lustig in a now-deleted tweet:

Self-styled Russia expert and registered foreign agent Molly McKew knew exactly whom to blame — RUSSIA!!!

The story also allowed for airing other racial grievances:

Given the media’s less-than-stellar response to Thursday’s horrific mass shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper on and all kinds of hints that President Trump’s criticism of the media was to blame (turns out the killer had a long-standing grudge against the newspaper), you might think that the establishment media would be inclined to tone down the rhetoric against Trump and his supporters and wait until all the facts come out.

That doesn’t seem to be the case. In last night’s stabbing spree, there is no indication that the refugee status of some of the victims played any role at all. But that was exactly the element to the story that the media led with earlier today.

Media claims that overheated rhetoric is having a corrosive effect on our political and social discourse may be true, but the media seems to be reluctant to admit, let alone correct, their own fearmongering and how it is contributing to the problem. This is especially true as the facts in many of these cases don’t match the initial media narrative.

One might argue that the low public opinion of the media is more due in part to these missteps and the media’s own behavior than anything the president says or tweets.

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