Andrew Sullivan lambasted the media for their coverage of the recent deadly Atlanta-area shootings for pushing a “narrative” about the violence being driven by anti-Asian bigotry despite the lack of evidence that proves that it was a hate crime.
Much of the mainstream media and the Democratic Party have condemned racism against Asian-Americans after it was reported that six of the eight victims who died in a trio of massage parlors were of Asian descent even though an ongoing investigation has yet to determine racism as a motive.
In a piece published in his “Weekly Dish” Substack, Sullivan sounded the alarm on how “narratives” are replacing the news with the media’s “grotesquely distorted” coverage of the shootings.
“This story’s coverage is proof, it seems to me, that American journalists have officially abandoned the habit of attempting any kind of ‘objectivity’ in reporting these stories,” Sullivan wrote. “We are now in the enlightened social justice world of ‘moral clarity’ and ‘narrative-shaping.'”
“Here’s the truth: We don’t yet know why this man did these horrible things… That’s why we have thorough investigations and trials in America,” Sullivan explained. “We only have one solid piece of information as to motive, which is the confession by the mass killer to law enforcement: that he was a religious fundamentalist who was determined to live up to chastity and repeatedly failed, as is often the case. Like the 9/11 bombers or the mass murderer at the Pulse nightclub, he took out his angst on the source of what he saw as his temptation, and committed mass murder. This is evil in the classic fundamentalist sense: a perversion of religion and sexual repression into violence.”
While he stressed that the country shouldn’t take the killer’s confession to police “as definitive” but noted that “his story is backed up by acquaintances and friends and family” that his apparent sexual addiction played a role in the shootings.
“We have yet to find any credible evidence of anti-Asian hatred or bigotry in this man’s history. Maybe we will. We can’t rule it out. But we do know that his roommates say they once asked him if he picked the spas for sex because the women were Asian. And they say he denied it, saying he thought those spas were just the safest way to have quick sex. That needs to be checked out more. But the only piece of evidence about possible anti-Asian bias points away, not toward it,” Sullivan wrote.
Sullivan then took aim at The New York Times and The Washington Post for their nonstop coverage depicting the Atlanta shootings as an anti-Asian hate crime with over two dozen stories combined. He also called out several others including, New York Times Magazine reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones, author Ibram Kendi, “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah for similarly jumping to conclusions.
“None of them mentioned that he killed two [W]hite people as well — a weird thing for a white supremacist to do — and injured a Latino. None pointed out that the connection between the spas was that the killer had visited them. None explained why, if he were associating Asian people with Covid19, he would nonetheless expose himself to the virus by having sex with them, or regard these spas as ‘safer’ than other ways to have quick sex,” the columnist said.
“They didn’t because, in their worldview, they didn’t need to. What you see here is social justice ideology insisting, as [New York Times executive editor] Dean Baquet temporarily explained, that intent doesn’t matter. What matters is impact. The individual killer is in some ways irrelevant. His intentions are not material. He is merely a vehicle for the structural oppressive forces critical theorists believe in. And this ‘story’ is what the media elites decided to concentrate on: the thing that, so far as we know, didn’t happen.”
The “Weekly Dish” columnist blasted the role of Critical Race Theory in the media’s narrative push, how the “only evidence” they need is to “check out the identity” victims and the culprit, adding “If the victims are [W]hite, they don’t really count. Everything in America is driven by white supremacist hate of some sort or other. You can jam any fact, any phenomenon, into this rubric in order to explain it.”
“Treating the individual as unique, granting him or her rights, defending the presumption of innocence, relying on provable, objective evidence: these core liberal principles are precisely what critical theory aims to deconstruct. And the elite media is in the vanguard of this war on liberalism,” Sullivan wrote.
Sullivan debunked the notion that “white supremacy” is driving the increased hate crimes towards Asian-Americans, pointing to 2020 statistics in New York City that showed 18 of the 20 reported hate crimes were committed by Black and Hispanic Americans. He also pointed out that while there’s been a spike in anti-Asian hate crimes, the rate is still far lower than it was back in the 90s, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.
“It seems to me that the media’s primary role in cases like these is providing some data and perspective on what’s actually happening, to allay irrational fear. Instead they contribute to the distortion by breathlessly hyping one incident without a single provable link to any go this — and scare the bejeezus out of people unnecessarily,” Sullivan wrote. “The media is supposed to subject easy, convenient rush-to-judgment narratives to ruthless empirical testing. Now, for purely ideological reasons, they are rushing to promote ready-made narratives, which actually point away from the empirical facts.”
“To run sixteen separate pieces on anti-Asian white supremacist misogynist hate based on one possibly completely unrelated incident is not journalism. It’s fanning irrational fear in the cause of ideological indoctrination. And it appears to be where all elite media is headed,” he concluded.