House

GOP chairman blames media after lawmaker shooting

Greg Nash

The chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee is blaming the “liberal media” for the level of public anger toward President Trump after a gunman fired at GOP lawmakers at a baseball practice the day before.

In a House floor speech on Thursday, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) argued that the mainstream media’s critical coverage of Trump has fed what he described as “an environment of hatred and violence.”

“We must speak truth to the powerful liberal media,” Smith said. “The media’s constant barrage of personal attacks can incite someone to take irrational actions.”

{mosads}A gunman, identified by the FBI as James Hodgkinson from Belleville, Ill., shot five people at the GOP’s baseball practice in Alexandria, Va., early Wednesday morning, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and a staffer for Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas).

Smith pointed to a Facebook post from Hodgkinson that said, “It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co.”

“That’s not much different from the tone of many media articles,” Smith said.

“The American people deserve better than a biased media. For the sake of our country, let’s hope they will drop their abusive language.”

Smith is the chairman of the Media Fairness Caucus, which his office’s website describes as an effort to “examine the causes of one-sided reporting, develop strategies to combat media bias, promote an open dialogue between members of the media and elected officials, and remind the media of their profound obligation to provide the American people with the facts.” 

Smith delivers House floor speeches on a near-weekly basis to criticize the mainstream media. 

He dismissed a New York Times column in January that linked climate change to human starvation in Africa as “fake news” and urged Americans in another speech to “get your news directly from the president” because “it might be the only way to get the unvarnished truth.”

Since Wednesday’s shooting, Republicans have pointed to a variety of factors that might have led to the attack on members of Congress.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) suggested President Barack Obama deepened the nation’s political divisions by emphasizing “differences rather than our things that unify us.”

And Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), who’s criticized Trump on occasion, said the president is “partially to blame for the demons that have been unleashed.”

Tags Barack Obama Roger Williams
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