Today's news provided me with an opportunity to conduct a non-scientific survey on the idea that white, Christian conservatives are not defined as terrorists.
Eric Rudolph is accused of four bombings in Alabama and Georgia in the late nineties that killed two people and blinded one other. The most famous was the Olympic Park bombing duing the Atlanta Olympics. This bomb was set off in a crowded public plaza and killed one person. The other three bombs were at a gay night club and two abortion clinics. One of the clinic bombs was a nail bomb that killed a policeman and blinded a nurse. All in all, these bombings appear to be aimed at people more than property and calculated to push a political agenda. In my book, that's enough to call them terrorist bombings and Randolph a terrorist.
This week, Randolph was in the news as the court delivered decisions on his attorneys' requests for a venue change and delay of trial date. So how do various national media outlets refer to Mr. Rudolph?
- Reuters - "Accused Abortion Clinic Bomber." The word terror does not appear in their story in any form.
- CNN - "accused bomber Eric Rudolph." The word terror does not appear in their story in any form.
- AP - "serial bombing suspect Eric Rudolph." The word terror does not appear in their story in any form.
- UPI/Washington Times - "Trial of Eric Rudolph in the bombing of an Alabama abortion clinic." The word terror does not appear in their story in any form.
- New York Times - "Eric Rudolph, who is accused of being a serial bomber." The word terror does not appear in their story in any form.
- ABC - "serial bombing suspect Eric Rudolph." The word terror does not appear in their story in any form.
Local news outlets, which were closest to the crimes, follow the lead of the national news in never using the word terror. In fact, Google news search of "'Eric Rudolph' terrorist" and "'Eric Rudolph' terror" did not reveal a single recent news story anywhere that used terror or terrorist in relation to Rudolph. You'd have to go back to last summer when the news had a brief discussion of the concept of Christian terrorism following his capture. This discussion appears to have had no long term affect on their reporting.
There you have it. Rudolph, a white, Christian conservative, is not a terrorist, or alleged terrorist, or accused terrorist, or terrorism suspect according to our news media, even though the crimes he is accused of are, by any objective standard, terrorism.
To be fair, I haven't proven the second part of my earlier contention that this is somehow John Ashcroft's fault. I'll get to work on that.