During the Monday morning broadcast of Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough delivered a monologue where he specifically blamed the protests over the Michael Brown and Eric Garner deaths for the shooting deaths of two NYPD officers. Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were gunned down on Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn by Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who later turned the gun on himself. Earlier in the day, Brinsley had entered an ex-girlfriend’s home in Baltimore and shot her. He then traveled to New York City by bus. Before shooting the cops, he posted a photo of a gun to Instagram claiming he was going to murder police officers in retaliation for Brown and Garner.
While the protests over the past few months have been largely peaceful, and the message has mostly been around ending police brutality and racial profiling, Scarborough said on Monday that the rhetoric from some of the protesters has been violent and irresponsible and directly led to Brinsley taking the lives of Liu and Ramos Saturday afternoon. Repeatedly uttering the phrase ‘Words Matter,’ Scarborough pointed the finger directly at protesters and smugly stated that he had told everyone weeks and months before that the media needed to stop its anti-cop agenda and protesters should cease with the demonstrations.
To make his point, Joe played a cellphone video of a small group of NYC protesters chanting for that they want “dead cops” for a few seconds. Scarborough implied that Brinsley was directly influenced by that short video as well as other infrequent instances of protesters using harsh rhetoric against law enforcement. He also derided newspaper headlines from the Tamir Rice shooting in Cleveland that stated police shot a child holding a toy. In Joe’s mind, that is an untrue and inflammatory statement, even though Rice was a 12-year-old boy carrying a toy gun who was shot and killed by police. But, words matter, and for Joe, telling a news story in a way he doesn’t like makes everything worse.
Below is video of Joe’s speech, courtesy of Real Clear Politics:
In Joe’s reactionary spiel, the conservative commentator focused all of his energy on protesters and supporters while conveniently ignoring the hate-filled rhetoric coming from opponents of the protests and the police themselves. Prior to the cops’ deaths, police union heads and other members of law enforcement had already taken the tactic of shaming and criticizing anyone who supported the protests. Immediately after the deaths, we saw an NYC union head specifically state Mayor Bill DeBlasio has blood on his hands over the deaths and the Baltimore police union blame President Obama and Eric Holder while demanding “unequivocal support” of law enforcement.
Of course, it isn’t just the police or Scarborough that wants to shut up dissenting voices by placing the blame squarely at their feet. Ex-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani was on Fox Sunday morning and saying four months of anti-police propaganda led by President Obama was the cause of the shooting deaths. Conservative pundits took to Twitter right away and blamed DeBlasio, Obama and Holder for the deaths. Right-wing gasbag Bill Kristol idiotically said cops are owed a protest from liberals now because they already protested for Garner and other slain blacks.
Maybe I would take Scarborough’s righteous indignation over the police killings a little more seriously if I saw the same kind of outrage earlier this year after the killing of two Las Vegas cops by a white couple with ties to Cliven Bundy’s anti-government movement. Jerad and Amanda Miller, who considered themselves right-wing patriots who spent time on Bundy’s ranch after his confrontation with federal agents, assassinated two police officers in June and covered their bodies with a “Don’t Tread On Me” flag along with a note reading, “The revolution is coming.”
In the Millers’ situation, they were definitely inspired by anti-government and anti-police rhetoric, specifically coming from the militia types who had embraced Bundy’s ’cause.’ They were so inspired by it that they went on a rampage that led to the deaths of three people, along with their own. Yet we only heard crickets from the right immediately after the killings.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).