NBC Promotes Faulty 'Anti-Government' Tale About Kidnapping Suspects

NBC is promoting a story about a 35-year-old man. Joshua Hakken, who is alleged to have kidnapped his young sons from their grandmother's house and fled with them and his wife Sharyn, possibly by boat. What has elevated this story from the local crime beat to national prominence is the allegation that Hakken and his wife are "anti-government"--an allegation that has been partially debunked by Reason.com's Mike Riggs.

NBC reports:

In a previous release, the sheriff’s department said that "both suspects are anti-government and have attempted a previous abduction at gun point in Louisiana.” 

Joshua Hakken was arrested in St. Tammany Parish, La. on June 17, 2012 after attending an “anti-government rally,” the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s department said in a press release. He was charged with the unlawful sale of narcotics in the presence of minors and possession of marijuana and spent one day in jail before making bond, said Officer Ben Sciambra of the Slidell city jail.

However, Riggs notes that local police in Slidell, Louisiana, the city where the first arrests were made and the "anti-government rally" was alleged to have taken place, say that there was no such rally arrest:

I asked the Slidell Police Department for Hakken's arrest report, and was told that it's being kept private because Hakken's drug charges are still pending. As I noted in an update a few minutes ago, the Slidell Police Department says the claim that Hakken was arrested at an "anti-government rally" simply isn't true, and they don't know where it came from.

As Riggs notes elsewhere, the Florida media are promoting the "anti-government angle." But, as he points out, there is not much evidence that Riggs's beliefs are anything more than "libertarian/Tea Party." He adds:

It's worth noting that law enforcement in Florida are painting the Hakkens as anti-government extremists at the same time police in Louisiana are describing them as death cultists. I suppose they could be both, but they could also be neither.

The media and the left have frequently jumped to associate criminals with conservatives and the Tea Party, from the man who flew a plane into an IRS building in Texas in 2010; to the 2011 Tuscon shootings, which were carried out by a deranged man; to the Aurora theater massacre of July 2012, which was perpetrated by a troubled man with no obvious political leanings. 

The truth remains unclear in the Hakken case, but what is already clear is that NBC and the mainstream media are eager to report a convenient, politicized narrative.


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