Numerous liberal journalists and pundits appeared to blame Republicans, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Rep. Lauren Boebert, Colo., for Saturday’s tragic mass shooting in Colorado.
Just after midnight, a gunman entered Club Q, an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, and immediately opened fire on the crowd. At least five people were killed, and another 25 injured. Several patrons inside the club confronted the gunmen and were able to subdue him before he continued his rampage.
The suspect faces five counts of first-degree murder and five counts of a bias-motivated crime. Investigators as of Tuesday are still seeking a motive, yet prominent media figures had already decided a day earlier that Republican rhetoric surrounding the LGBTQ community was directly correlated with the attack.
On ABC News’ “The View,” the panel of women went on a lengthy discussion about the shooting, appearing to blame the tragedy on conservatives, religion, and Republican leaders. Early in the conversation, Whoopi Goldberg specifically named Boebert.
“Words matter,” Goldberg said. “Words matter and people like Lauren Boebert who, you know, has been in the forefront of dissing LGBTQ+ people is now saying her prayers and thoughts go with the families. Well, they don’t really need your prayers and thoughts. They needed your votes. That’s what they needed.”
MSNBC made up a significant chunk of the coverage, drawing a line between a recent rise in hate crimes, the Colorado shooting, and the Republican Party.
NBC News senior reporter Ben Collins, during an appearance on “Morning Joe,” hoped that journalist would have a “come to Jesus moment” with regard to politically divisive rhetoric.
“Are we more afraid of being on Breitbart for saying that trans people deserve to be alive, or are we more afraid of the dead people? Because I’m more afraid of the dead people,” he said.
Collins also brought up a story, published by NBC News’ Maura Barrett, of one of the survivors of the shooting, who was ridiculed by their parents for being gay after coming home from the club. He said that the parents responded this way because such a perspective was viewed as an “acceptable response” by the Republican Party.
Brandy Zadrozny, a senior reporter who covers the internet, misinformation and politics for NBC News, claimed that there was a “one-to-one correlation” between violence, and harassment against LGBTQ members, as well as recent political rhetoric surrounding transgender rights, “gender-affirming care” for adolescents, and LGBTQ-focused books in schools.
While filling in for Ari Melber on “The Beat,” MSNBC host Katie Phang wondered how Americans can “curb” politicians who are condoning, spreading, and supporting “pure hate.” She also said that violence against LGBTQ Americans was being “legitimized” by politicians.
Responding to Phang, Maya Wiley, a former legal analyst for MSNBC and NBC News, said that Republicans “enable” violence and are spreading a “pandemic” of hate by vilifying transgender people, and creating the context for discrimination.
Chris Hayes made a similar observation during his show “All In,” when he admitted that while nobody is “responsible” for the shooting besides the shooter himself, ant-LGBTQ hysteria had created the “context” for the crime to take place.
During the extensive segment on the shooting, Hayes attempted to tie DeSantis’ signing of the Parental Rights in Education law, as well as concerns about transgender surgeries for children, to the attack. They panel also suggested Republicans are “grooming people for extremism” on social media, and government must crack down on social media companies that allow it.
Author and Babylon Bee contributor Ashley St. Clair, who previously lived in Colorado Springs, spoke out against the politicization of the attack, and asserted that the shooter was solely responsible for the bloodshed.
Author and former New Yorker Financial Page writer James Surowiecki responded to St. Clair and claimed that Republicans had “dramatically increased” violence towards trans and gay Americans by labeling people as “groomers.”
“We all know that the relentless labeling of gay and trans people as “groomers,” with its connotations of pedophilia, dramatically increased the chances that people would decide to harm gay and trans people. Pretending otherwise is obtuse,” he tweeted.
Journalist John Harwood, who parted ways with CNN in September, then suggested that journalists cannot be neutral in this situation, accusing Republicans of “dishonesty, cruelty and incitement to violence.”
Various conclusions about the reasoning behind the attack were also drawn in online print publications.
A Washington Post opinion piece by Brian Broome said that “Homophobic hate-mongers on the right bear responsibility for Colorado Spring.”
And another column from The New York Times by Michelle Goldberg tied the rise of Donald Trump, conservatives, Republican politicians, and concerns about children at drag shows to the attack.
“Perhaps we’ll learn something in the coming days that will put these murders, which took place on the eve of Transgender Day of Remembrance, into a new light, but right now, it seems hard to separate them from a nationwide campaign of anti-L.G.B.T.Q. incitement,” she said.