May 17, 2022

As horrific as Saturday was — an 18-year-old white supremacist purposely traveling to a Black neighborhood and killing 10 people at a supermarket — it could have been even worse.

Buffalo police commissioner Joseph Gramaglia told CNN on Monday that the gunman’s plan was to kill even more people.

“There was evidence that was uncovered that he had plans, had he gotten out of here, to continue his rampage and continue shooting people,” Gramaglia told CNN. “He’d even spoken about possibly going to another store.”

Here’s more notable coverage and reaction from the Buffalo shooting.

What is stirring up this hate?

The Los Angeles Times’ Jenny Jarvie and Molly Hennessy-Fiske had an important story with the headline: “A new generation of white supremacist killer: shedding blood with internet winks, memes and livestreams.”

Jarvie and Hennessy-Fiske wrote, “Bored during the early days of the pandemic, Payton Gendron logged on to the 4chan message board website to browse ironic memes and infographics that spread the idea that the white race is going extinct.”

They go on to write, “The white 18-year-old from Conklin, N.Y., suspected of killing 10 people Saturday in a Buffalo, N.Y., supermarket, appears to represent a new generation of white supremacists. They are isolated and online, radicalized on internet memes and misinformation, apparently inspired by livestreams to find fame through bloodshed, much of it propelled by convoluted ideas that the white race is under threat from everything from interracial marriage to immigration.”

J.J. MacNab, a fellow at George Washington University’s program on extremism, told the Los Angeles Times that, unlike other white supremacists such as the Ku Klux Klan and newer neo-Nazi groups, the new recruits to racist 4chan and 8chan forums are often male teenagers.

MacNab had this chilling quote: “They piggyback on each other’s crimes and, as each one became more famous, then just absolutely made it more desirable for them to copy. The joke is always: Who can beat the kill number? … To them, it’s like a video game. How do you score better than the last one?”

Read the Times’ story — it’s both detailed and frightening.

Other stories that are must-read

In her view

Speaking on Monday’s “The View,” co-panelist Ana Navarro said the Fox News leadership, the network’s advertisers and those who donate to the Republican Party are among those who should be blamed for stirring up the white supremacist hate that led to Saturday’s mass shooting in Buffalo.

Navarro said, “Listen, if you are an advertiser advertising on that station you are part of the problem. If you sit on the board and are trying to be a civilized person — Paul Ryan, my friend, I’m talking to you — you are part of the problem. If you’re a Republican donor tweeting about how bad you feel about this but donating to people like (New York Congresswoman) Elise Stefanik, you are part of the problem. If you are a staffer working for them, you are part of the problem.”

Navarro added, “I’ll tell you what (the) ‘Great Replacement’ theory should be. We should replace all these people peddling hate and making financial and political gain from spreading racism. We should replace them with people who hold up American values.”

Writing for Media Matters of America (a frequent critic of Fox News), Matt Gertz talked about those who advertise on Fox News. Gertz wrote, “Those media buyers, like anyone else doing business with Fox, should recognize that the network’s highest priority is producing this brand of white nationalist propaganda. Their ongoing willingness to buy Fox’s ads is a crucial part of the network’s business strategy. Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch and network CEO Suzanne Scott have ignored any number of warning signs and protests from inside and outside the network that Carlson’s white nationalist rants were dangerous, as The New York Times detailed earlier this month. They have an affinity for his views, appreciate his ratings and the money he generates — or both — and so have given him the green light to do as he pleases.”

Gertz added, “The only thing that could plausibly make them stop is if doing so stops being so profitable. Until that happens, Carlson knows they have his back, and he can laugh off people who point out that his show promotes the grievances and worldview of neo-Nazis.”

The manifesto

The gunman wrote a 180-page manifesto before going on his shooting rampage. It spewed white supremacist views, including the baseless conspiracy theory known as the “Great Replacement” — that white people are being replaced in the United States by people of color.

First, about the word “manifesto.” Tony Cavin, NPR’s managing editor for standards and practices, wrote that NPR isn’t using that word.

Cavin first quoted Webster’s New World Dictionary, which defines “manifesto” as “a public declaration of motives and intentions, as by a political party or by an avant-garde movement.”

Cavin wrote, “So to refer to the shooter’s document as a ‘manifesto’, in my opinion, implicitly takes the twisted racist and anti-Semitic rantings that comprise it, far more seriously than they deserve to be taken and gives it a level of credibility that furthers the shooter’s aims.”

Cavin went on to write, “A ‘manifesto’ can also be seen as a call to action. There are many words, ‘statement’ ‘screed’ and simply ‘writings’ that come to mind to accurately characterize the online document without giving it the implied importance of ‘manifesto.’ Not using the word ‘Manifesto’ in no way deprives our audience of information, it helps deprive the shooter of the platform he was looking for.”

As far as what the gunman is believed to have written, The Atlantic’s Graeme Wood wrote, “Why Tucker Carlson Should Want the Buffalo Manifesto Made Public.”

It should be noted that many argue the rantings of the gunman should not be shared with the public. Many scholars and experts in the area of white supremacy and extremism argue that they should read it to learn, but it should not be shared.

Wood wrote, “They are right, of course. You should not circulate it, any more than you should store your feces and fling them around the neighborhood out of your car windows, rather than flushing them down like a normal person. It is a sick document, neither edifying nor entertaining, and it is better sent for analysis to the ideological sewage-treatment plants where (scholars) and I spend so much of our time.”

As far as Carlson, I read Wood’s piece and it came off as giving Carlson the benefit of the doubt when it comes to some of the things he says on his show and some of the things reportedly written in the manifesto. Wood gave examples of some of the images in the manifesto and wrote, “I think Carlson himself would be repulsed by these images — and for the sake of all, including his soul, I would like him to distinguish his views from those expressed this weekend.”

Wood later added, “Suppressing this manifesto is in some ways an act of kindness to its author, who comes across as a crass amateur who learned his history from cartoons and 4chan. And it is unfair to Carlson, who may struggle to deny his association with a killer whose words are hidden from the public. He deserves his chance to explain why his views are not just genteel versions of the manifesto, especially because many of those in a position to analyze and summarize the manifesto hate him.”

Carlson shares some blame

Tucker Carlson. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

The headline on a piece in New York Magazine from Jonathan Chait: “Yes, Tucker Carlson shares blame for the Buffalo supermarket attack.”

Chait recites numerous examples of Carlson’s dangerous on-air rhetoric and writes, “Carlson is not directing his audience to commit murder. But he is spreading an ideology that lends itself naturally to murderous tendencies and has accordingly spawned a violent wing. White nationalists see Carlson as their champion, and so too does the vast majority of the conservative movement. Carlson, like Trump, serves as a bridge between the Republican Party and a movement once seen as too extreme and marginal for the party to touch. The defenses of Carlson will ensure that the power of white nationalism continues to grow, along with its body count.”

Carlson’s show

Tucker Carlson did open his show Monday night by talking about the Buffalo shooting, falsely stating that the media has not covered the stories of the victims. That simply is not true.

Carlson called the gunman “mentally ill” and then began talking about how the left has politicized the shootings. He showed clips of the Sunday shows with commentators criticizing hate speech.

Carlson followed up by saying, “So what is hate speech? Well, it’s speech that our leaders hate. So because a mentally ill teenager murdered strangers, you cannot be allowed to express your political views out loud. That’s what they’re telling you.”

He then criticized President Joe Biden for what he called “race politics.” Carlson said a bunch more and interviewed guests talking about politics and free speech and so on. If you’re truly interested, I’m sure you can find it online somewhere.

What’s the story?

I picked a random time early Monday evening — 5:45 p.m. — and went to some of the major news sites to see what the prominent story was on their websites. Here’s what I found.

And, this is somewhat stunning, “The Five” — Fox News’ 5 p.m. show — did not talk about the Buffalo shooting at all on Monday. Other than a passing reference made by Geraldo Rivera, the topic did not come up even once even though it is the most-watched show on cable news and it was the first episode since the weekend’s shooting. Can something be both surprising and not surprising at the same time?

The following program, “Special Report with Bret Baier,” led with the Buffalo shooting story.

It should be noted that all three network lead news anchors — ABC’s David Muir, CBS’s Norah O’Donnell and NBC’s Lester Holt — all anchored Monday’s evening newscasts from Buffalo.

Holt closed Monday’s “NBC Nightly News” by saying, in part, “We knew there would be more and so it is hard to describe what we’re feeling today as shock. What we are, is sad. We are angry. We are tired, so tired. And hardest to say — we feel helpless because we are somehow unable to diffuse the ticking time bombs among us.”

Emotional response

CNN’s Victor Blackwell has been in Buffalo since Sunday covering this story. This was far from his first mass shooting story. He had this emotional response on air Monday:

“Listen, I was counting in the car talking with my producer. I’ve done 15 of these, at least the ones I can count, and we keep having the conversation about Democrats will say guns, Republicans will say mental health, and nothing will change. And I’ll probably do another one this year. Family after family having nowhere to go with their grief. We’ll get into a political conversation later but is this the way we’re supposed to live? Are we destined to just keep doing this city after city? Have we just resigned that this is what we’re going to be?”

Insightful interview

Outstanding work by NPR’s Ayesha Rascoe in her conversation with Darius Pridgen, the president of the Buffalo Common Council and a local pastor, about Saturday’s mass shooting.

Pridgen told Rascoe, “Well, you know, to be very honest, I’m not much of a pastor right now. I’m just a boy from Buffalo who is grieving with my brothers and sisters. It is difficult to lead during times like this, but leadership is necessary. And so what I do say when I do have to put on the pastor hat is that there are times that there has to be tragedy for there to be change. There’s never been a change in the world, in our country, without there being some form of hurt. And unfortunately, 10 people gave their lives.”

Pridgen continued, “But anybody now who says there is not racism in America, anybody who says there are not still  — that it’s ‘fake news’ that there are white supremacists who really just want Black people dead —  I read a portion of his manifesto. I read and looked at how he mapped out the grocery store. I read how he looked at ZIP codes and looked for a place of a high concentration of, as he put it, Black people and how he desired to shoot, in his words, to shoot Black people. It’s hard to be a pastor —  being a pastor, because that’s my calling, not because it’s my wish right now.”

This is the kind of work that makes NPR so good — a narrow, but deep report on a big story that gives listeners a real sense of the impact this had on citizens and a community.

Now onto other media news …

Karine Jean-Pierre’s first day

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre takes a question from a reporter during her first press briefing as press secretary on Monday. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

On Monday, Karine Jean-Pierre held her first press conference as the official White House press secretary.

She told the media, “I am a Black, gay, immigrant woman. The first of all three of those to hold this position. If it were not for generations of barrier-breaking people before me I would not be here. But I benefit from their sacrifices, I have learned from their excellence and I am forever grateful to them. Representation does matter — you hear us say this often in this administration, and no one understands this better than President Biden.”

This was not Jean-Pierre’s first time holding a press conference. She has done that several times previously in her role as deputy press secretary.

Primary day

Today is primary day in several pivotal states, including Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Kentucky, Idaho and Oregon. CNN will be locked in all evening, with Jake Tapper anchoring coverage from Washington, D.C., from 7 p.m. to midnight Eastern. The network will have analysis from Dana Bash, Abby Phillip and David Chalian.

Anderson Cooper and Erin Burnett will anchor from New York City with analysis from Chris Wallace, Gloria Borger and David Axelrod. Wolf Blitzer will anchor from Philadelphia alongside Kasie Hunt and Michael Smerconish. Don Lemon will anchor the network’s late-night coverage after midnight from New York City.

NBC News NOW will have special coverage starting at 8 p.m. Eastern with NBC News political director and “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd and chief White House correspondent Kristen Welker anchoring. Correspondents Dasha Burns, Vaughn Hillyard, Henry Gomez and Sahil Kapur will report from Pennsylvania and Antonia Hylton and Allan Smith from North Carolina.

A future TV star

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Patrick Beverley (22) in a game last October. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

Patrick Beverley is a decent NBA player, but he’s better known for being a world-class NBA trash-talker. And he isn’t afraid of bringing that entertaining talk to TV. Appearing as a guest on various ESPN shows on Monday, including “Get Up” and “First Take,” Beverley didn’t hold back. That showed two things.

One, he’s willing to be publicly critical of other NBA players and, two, I can’t wait until he’s done playing so he can do television full time.

During his “Get Up” appearance, Beverley verbally destroyed Phoenix Suns legend Chris Paul, whose team stunningly was eliminated in a humiliating Game 7 loss at home to Dallas on Sunday. Beverley said, “Ain’t nobody worried about Chris Paul and the Suns. Don’t get it twisted. He can’t guard. He can’t and everyone knows that. … CP can’t guard anybody, man, everybody in the NBA knows that.” He then compared Paul’s defense to that of an orange cone.

Beverley added, “You know what you do with cones, in the summertime you got a cone, you make a move. What does the cone do? Nothing. He’s a cone. Everyone knows that, it’s just that y’all don’t want to accept that.”

Later in the day on ESPN, former NBA player Matt Barnes took issue with Beverley’s comments.

“As a part of the media, we have a job to be critical,” Barnes said. “But I think there’s a thin line between being critical and disrespecting. And I feel like what Pat Beverley did today to Chris Paul was completely disrespectful and out of the line.”

Then Barnes reminded viewers, and Beverley, that Paul is a better player than Beverley — that Paul is a future Hall of Famer, while Beverley is a role player.

“I just think the disrespect we saw earlier today on the ESPN shows needs to be checked because he was way out pocket.”

But it was sure fun to watch.

One more sports media note

Sean Payton, who stepped down as coach of the New Orleans Saints last season, is joining Fox Sports as an analyst for 2022. ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio broke the news, although New York Post sports media columnist Andrew Marchand wrote last month that Payton was nearing a deal with Fox Sports.

Payton is expected to do work in the studio, as opposed to calling games.

Don’t look for this to be a long-term thing. Payton is only 58 and is expected to eventually return to the sidelines as head coach, perhaps as soon as the 2023 season.

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Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer for He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30…
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