The mainstream media are reporting that a Bay Area plumber who allegedly planned to bomb a California mosque was a Donald Trump supporter–though he explicitly supported Hillary Clinton.
On Sunday, police arrested 55-year-old William Celli “on suspicion of possessing an explosive device and making criminal threats,” CBS San Francisco reported. A bomb squad detonated a device at his house. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) cheered the arrest.
CBS elaborated further: “On Facebook, Celli repeatedly praised Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, whose plan to bar any Muslims from entering the United States has drawn criticism even as he continues to rise in the polls.”
The Huffington Post and other left-wing sites played up Celli’s support of Trump, implying that Trump was responsible for “propelling” bigotry and “white domestic terrorism” into the “mainstream” of political debate.
What the media left out, however, is that Celli also praised Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
In one post, Celli wrote: “Hillary Would make a great president. If she would commit to what she is hiding. But she has to crucify the president. Then her run for the White house is over.”
The post praising Hillary Clinton is dated Oct. 22–the day Clinton testified for 11 hours at the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
The Huffington Post and other outlets claimed the story has been overlooked because
Celli doesn’t fit the profile of the “terrorist” who is likely to be invoked on cable news or on a GOP debate stage. In fact, judging by Celli’s Facebook page, he seems to be the exact inverse: a disgruntled white man who has bought into the xenophobic rhetoric of people like GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Or Hillary Clinton. But never mind the facts.
Update: The Contra Costa Times follows the same pattern, calling William Celli a “Donald Trump supporter” in the headline and throughout the piece, quoting extensively from his Facebook page without mentioning his support for Hillary Clinton.
The article uses Celli’s arrest as a way to slam Trump:
Trump has received mounting criticism from both political parties for inflammatory comments about the Muslim community, such as the idea to create databases to track American Muslims and restrict Muslims from entering the country. Critics have warned that such comments could fuel Islamophobia.
No mention of Clinton whatsoever appears in the article.
One of the authors, Thomas Peele, mocked “Bill the Plumber” on Twitter:
— Thomas Peele (@thomas_peele) December 22, 2015
Peele’s website boasts that he has won “more than 50 journalism awards.”
Update 2: Here’s Mediaite‘s Ken Meyer, linking to Talking Points Memo‘s Caitlin Cruz, linking to Raw Story‘s Travis Gettys, all regurgitating the “Trump supporter” claim, all quoting extensively from Celli’s Facebook page, and none mentioning his remarks about Hillary Clinton.
Update 3: The San Francisco Chronicle mentions Celli’s posts about Trump but not his comments about Clinton. It also quotes CAIR–an organization that has been helping the family of the San Bernardino terrorists–raising concerns about Trump.
Update 4: In wades Dean Obeidallah, the so-called-comedian-turned-CNN-contributor, writing at the Daily Beast, repeating all the same mistakes above, citing Celli as evidence “Trump has already radicalized Americans to commit and plot acts of violence right here on American soil.” Obeidallah, notably, links to CBS and to Travis Gettys at Raw Story, not to Celli’s Facebook page–another who is simply too lazy to do his own research:
The latest example came Sunday after William Celli of Richmond, California was arrested for building explosive devices that he allegedly planned to use to kill Muslim Americans. What inspired Celli’s actions? Well, we know that Celli’s Facebook page was filled with his posts praising Trump, even adding that he would follow Trump “to the end of the world.” This is not unlike social media posts pledging undying loyalty to ISIS type groups.