The senseless killing of an Australian college baseball player by three teens has prompted calls in Australia for tourists from that country to boycott the U.S. Meanwhile in the conservative media, the case has launched a slew of reverse racism attacks on ‘mainstream’ media—and even the White House, for not responding in the same way they responded to the killing of Trayvon Martin.
While the baseball player was white, two of the teens are black and one is white. The teens said they shot 23-year-old Australian Chris Lane because “we were bored and didn’t have anything to do, so we decided to kill somebody,” one of them, Michael Jones, 17, who is white, told the police. Jones, 17, was accused of being an accessory to first-degree murder while James Edwards, 15, and Chancey Luna, 16, were charged with first-degree murder.
“It is another example of murder mayhem on Main Street,” former Australian deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer told CNN’s Piers Morgan. “People thinking of going to the USA for business or tourist trips should think carefully about it given the statistical fact you are 15 times more likely to be shot dead in the USA than in Australia per capita per million people.”
The attacks on the media and African-American leaders were especially evident at Fox News, where the hosts of “Fox and Friends” pursued the issue relentlessly this morning, wondering why Rev. Al Sharpton and President Obama haven’t commented on Lane’s murder.
On his radio show yesterday, Rush Limbaugh said Lane’s killing was “Trayvon Martin in reverse.” Limbaugh said the “mainstream media’s” failure to cover the racial aspects of the crime was clear evidence of complicity in “the destruction of American culture and society.”
Limbaugh pointed out that one of the accused shooters “worships rappers” and celebrates “thug culture.”
Some conservative outlets made the embarrassing mistake of describing all three shooters as black. In fact, the Daily Caller actually showed pictures of the three suspects—but the person identified by the website as Michael Jones, who is white, was a black man entirely uninvolved to the shooting. When it later issued a retraction, the Daily Caller sarcastically noted “this, of course, changes everything.”
The site was being facetious, but the fact that one of the teens was white makes it much more difficult to claim that the teens shot Duncan because he was white.
At the White House yesterday, a Fox News correspondent also got the race of one of the shooters wrong when he asked a question of Deputy White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.
“Do you have any reaction to the Christopher Lane case?” Henry asked, to which Earnest replied, “I’m not familiar with it, actually.”
“In Oklahoma, this 22-year-old Australian — 22 or 23, I’ve seen different reports — baseball player, came from Australia, was targeted apparently by three African American young men who — the Australian was out on a jog and these young men apparently told the police they were bored and they thought it would just be fun to kill him,” Henry explained. “Any reaction to that?”
Earnest said, “This sounds like a pretty tragic case,” but that “I wouldn’t want to get ahead of the legal process here.”
He added, “the President, I think, himself has spoken pretty eloquently about violence in our communities, and he stood at this podium a few weeks ago where he talked about his concern about the impact that violence is having on, in particular, young people in this country.”
Henry wouldn’t let it go. “Why hasn’t he spoken out on this, in this case? You said there was a judicial proceeding; there was one in the Trayvon Martin case. He spoke out extensively on that one.”
Earnest said the President’s initial remarks on the Trayvon Martin killing were brief and in response to a direct question. He said the President also spoke “at the conclusion of the legal proceeding, where he expressed his concerns about the impact of violence in communities all across the country, and he talked about the number of things that the government can do but also a number of things we can do in our communities, whether it’s parents, churches and communities can do to try to address the impact of violence, and whether there is more that we can do to try to protect our children.”
When a black leader did mention the shooting, he was attacked for the way he did it. Rev. Jesse Jackson sent out a tweet about the killing saying, “Praying for the family of Chris Lane. This senseless violence is frowned upon and the justice system must prevail.” But in the conservative media, commentators picked up on Jackson’s term “frowned upon,” claiming it wasn’t strong enough.
“I was 4 and got frowned upon digging in my mom’s flower beds when she told me not to. Who knew senseless violence gets the same response?” Nathan Wurtzel wrote on Twitter.