Accuracy in Media

On Sunday, police identified 24-year-old Connor Betts as the perpetrator of the mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio.

The shooting came less than 24 hours after Patrick Crusius, 21, murdered 22 individuals at a shopping area in El Paso, Texas.   

Just hours before the Dayton shooting, Betts’ Twitter handle, “@iamthespookster” ‘liked’ El Paso-massacre-related tweets, such as reports of bystanders being left for dead.

A further dive into Betts’ social media accounts depicted a motive stemming from liberal politics and Democratic ideals.

Left-leaning outlets said there was no clear motive for Betts, even though reports from Wall Street Journal and Heavy.com showed Betts’ described himself as a socialist supporter and did not support then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016.

Dayton Shooter Supported Socialism, ANTIFA, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren

Betts’ Twitter account, which has since been suspended, was used time and time again leading up until the shooting.

He often tweeted about:

  • Left-wing politics
  • Endorsing socialism
  • Encouraging Antifa
  • Supporting presidential candidates like, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Betts wrote that he would even vote for Warren, adding, “I want socialism, and I’ll not wait for the idiots to finally come round to understanding.

One of the more recent retweets that sparked controversy said, “Millennials have a message for the Joe Biden generation: Hurry up and die.”

After Bett’s and Crusius’ murderous rampages in their respective cities, many major media outlets such as CNN began placing the blame in the hands of Trump, rather than in the hands of the killer.

On August 5, CNN published articles with headlines like: “Trump blames everything but his own words for hate in America” and “Trump condemns ‘racist hate’ and white supremacy but does not acknowledge his own rhetoric.”

On Monday, Trump held a press conference in which he highlighted the mental illness crisis, use of violent video games, and again, condemned “racism, bigotry, and white supremacy.” Within these articles, CNN lambasted Trump, stating that “he didn’t take any of the blame onto himself or pledge to change his rhetoric.”

Media Reaction to Sandy Hook Shooting Under Obama Administration

Hindsight is 20/20 after the devastating shooting in Newton, Conn., at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 26 innocent lives were claimed in 2012. CNN at the time reported on President Barack Obama’s press conference with a piece headlined, “Wiping away tears, Obama mourns children killed in school shooting.”

Furthermore, CNN highlighted Obama’s sorrowful stature and raw emotion, quoting his call to “prevent similar tragedies ‘regardless of politics.’”

CNN did not attack Obama’s character, suggest that he should put some of the blame on himself or turn the tragedy political.

In contrast, during the same time of tragedy in 2012, right-wing Fox News broadcast headlines like, “As nation mourns, investigators try to figure out what led to tragedy in Newtown, Conn.” 

Marissa Martinez is a political contributor for Accuracy in Media and The Hill. She is the former Political Director to Massachusetts Governor’s re-election campaign, alumna of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and current national PAC consultant. @MarissaAlisa




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