Media Matters' Body Count? Awaiting Eric Boehlert's Apology

Video of Clay Duke threatening Florida school board members with a gun:

[youtube bB-cJWIZexM nolink]

Did he have “caps” and not real bullets as someone in the video claims? According to the AP as of this writing, after being wounded by a security guard, Duke killed himself with his own gun. If correct, then at least some of the rounds were real. At a minimum, he intended to terrorize these people before he died.

But it’s going to be hard to spin Clay Duke into a Tea Party terrorist. His Facebook page contains a kind of suicide note which references the movie V for Vendetta (a film in which the “hero” blows up Parliament). His religion is listed as “humanist” which means he was an atheist. He also quotes part of Shelley’s poem Masque of Anarchy. (click for full size)

Also interesting is the list of favorite websites he provides, including Media Matters and The Progressive Mind along with about a dozen others.

Clearly this guy was mentally unbalanced. He had a history of trouble with the law going back at least 10 years. In fact, he has a lot in common with “freeway shooter” Byron Williams. Williams was a two time felon who set out to kill some folks at the Tides Foundation. He never got there and no one was killed thanks to timely police intervention. But his story became big news when he later listed Glenn Beck among his favorite television programs.

Eric Boehlert, Senior Fellow at Media Matters, made much of the Beck connection saying that Beck had come close to having a “body count.” In addition to Media Matters, Boehlert’s article was picked up by major liberal sites including Current TV, Huff Post, Salon, Alternet and Truthout. But it was distributed much more widely by blogs. A Google search for the title of his piece, in quotes, yields 57,000 results. The left ate it up like cotton candy.

And Boehlert inspired others in the media to follow his lead. Just a few days after his piece made the rounds, Dana Milbank at the Washington Post (who was about to publish a book on Beck which relied heavily on Media Matters) did what amounted to a sloppy rewrite of Boehlert’s piece.

And that was really just the beginning. Over succeeding weeks, Media Matters put up dozens of stories (1,600 search results) about Byron Williams, all of them mentioning Glenn Beck. Boehlert himself returned to the topic several months later using the same extended network of liberal sites. He once again blamed the shootings on Beck. He also wrote in a separate piece that the right’s “silence” about the supposed connection spoke volumes, saying:

Not even Andrew Breitbart and his bloggers, who are incessantly whining about supposed left-wing violence, and who ritually parade around the Kenneth Gladney story as proof that political violence is looming, even they won’t touch the cut-and-dry Byron Williams story. Even they can’t seem to find any opening to extricate Beck from his man-made mess.

As one of Andrew’s bloggers, let me just say…I think I found an opening, Eric. Would you like to comment on being among the Florida school board shooters favorite websites? Or would you prefer to admit that the actions of a disturbed individual with a police record, who was thousands of miles away at the time have nothing to do with you. You’re free to choose the latter, but you need to offer Glenn Beck one helluva big apology first.

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