About that Bipartisan Dorner Fan Club

Last week Rosie Gray wrote a post at Buzzfeed titled “The Christopher Dorner Fan Club Is More Mainstream Than You’d Think.” Mainstream, yes. Bipartisan, not so much.

The article attempts to make the case that the #teamDorner phenomenon is spread across the aisle, “Dorner is now hailed as a kind of folk hero by some on the Chomsky-esque
left and the Ron Paul right, who view the killer’s manifesto as an
articulate indictment of the “police state” they have always opposed. ” But the rest of the article is devoted to recounting the liberal outlets and individuals who have expressed admiration for Dorner. Gray opens with Marc Lamont Hill who said with apparent enthusiasm on CNN “It’s almost like watching Django Unchained in real life, it’s kind of exciting.” There’s also a story at Alternet which argues that Dorner was a “bad man” but may become an enduring black folk hero. Additionally Gray points to stories at Salon which she describes as “sympathetic” and one at Vice about Anonymous’ sympathy for Dorner’s views on police.

There are only two right-leaning figures mentioned in the story. One is Alex Jones the other, not actually mentioned but included in a linked story, is Glenn Beck. Both are accused of spreading conspiracy theories about Dorner. I’m not interested in wading deep enough into Jones’ site to figure out exactly where he’s coming from. From the little I do see, his site was not supportive or particularly sympathetic toward Dorner. The accusation aimed at Beck is misleading. Beck ridiculed the left’s support for Dorner. And what Buzzfeed now calls a conspiracy theory is almost identical to what the entire media was claiming after the shooting in Tucson two years ago, i.e. a crazy person was stirred up by hot partisan rhetoric. If that’s a conspiracy theory then many of the leading lights on the left and in the media are guilty of spreading them as well.

The #teamDorner phenomenon was a product of left-wing populism. The claim that this was bipartisan may be strictly true but Dorner’s supporters and sympathizers were primarily, if not quite exclusively, progressives.