UPDATE: As Think Progress reports, GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz managed to roll up all of the falsehoods about alleged terrorist Robert Dear into one big steamy package of BS:
Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz is the latest presidential candidate trying to downplay the role anti-abortion rhetoric may have played in motivating the Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado Springs Friday afternoon. When a reporter asked him at an Iowa campaign stop Sunday evening about suspect Robert Lewis Dear saying he was motivated by “no more baby parts,” Cruz countered that he’s also been reported to be a “transgendered [sic] leftist activist.”
Cruz explained, “We know that he was a man registered to vote as a woman.” This discrepancy on Dear’s voter registration was first reported by The Gateway Pundit, a self-described “right-of-center news website,” under the claim that he “identifies as [a] woman.” Conservatives have since run with the claim that Dear is transgender.
Now that Friday’s domestic terrorist attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs has been digesting for a couple of news cycles, we’re seeing the reaction to the attack from Republican politicians and pundits take a major turn–away from vanilla statements of sympathy for the victims, many with no mention of Planned Parenthood at all, to angry denials of even the most peripheral responsibility for alleged terrorist Robert Dear’s actions.
During Friday’s standoff and in the immediate aftermath, wild speculation about the killer on the right sought to put distance between Dear and “normal” pro-life opponents of Planned Parenthood. Early on, some conservative media outlets ran with incorrect information suggesting that Planned Parenthood was not even the target of the attack. This was reinforced by GOP Rep. Kit Roupe of Colorado Springs, who irresponsibly spread this falsehood on social media, doing her constituents a major disservice:
Alleged domestic terrorist Robert Dear. Photo via CSPD
An apparent error in Dear’s voter registration led to widespread breathless claims that Dear “identifies as a female.” Breitbart News ran with it, and dozens of right-wing media outlets picked it up:
He is registered to vote in Park County, Colorado, and The Gazette reports that his voter registration has him listed as an “Unaffiliated female” voter instead of a Democrat or Republican. Dear’s voter registration on Colorado Voters Info lists his gender as “female.”
Now folks, take a look at that photo. Without any attempt at insensitivity, let us just say that we do not see a person who “identifies as a female.” Anyone with voter file experience knows these kinds of mistakes happen. To run with something like this without any checking is…well, it’s ridiculous.
Leading Republican-aligned website The Federalist’s front page as of this writing is dominated by the mug shot you see above, linking to a story titled “Stop Blaming Pro-Lifers For The Colorado Springs Shooting.”
The pro-lifers praying and swaying and holding their placards are as responsible for this shooting as the Beatles were for Charles Manson’s violence…
Got that? Republican accusations that Planned Parenthood “sells baby body parts” are the same thing as the Beatles song Helter Skelter, which Charles Manson “interpreted” to be a prophecy of a coming race war. The only problem with this theory is that in truth, Helter Skelter was about an amusement park ride.
Friday’s shooting, on the other hand, required no creative interpretations.
Headline collage via the Colorado Independent
In the coming days, we’re going to hear more, both fact and speculation, about the motivations of Robert Dear from both sides. We understand that both sides in this debate have an agenda underlying their statements that is bigger than this one tragic mass shooting.
Unfortunately for Planned Parenthood’s devoted GOP antagonists-cum-sympathizers, the facts are not on their side. The connection between the bellicose rhetoric against Planned Parenthood in recent months and Friday’s terrorist attack in Colorado Springs, wishing really hard otherwise notwithstanding, is rationally undeniable.
And if this makes Republicans uncomfortable, that’s because it should.