Partisanship didn't take a complete backseat on September 11, 2001, as there were some murmurs during the first few hours of media coverage about which side's administration could be more at fault.
But even five years after Jon Stewart famously told CNN's dueling Crossfire hosts to "stop, stop, stop, stop hurting America," some folks can't stop politicizing tragic events and claiming them for or against their respective sides.
A disturbed Texas man deliberately crashed a small plane into a building containing a federal tax office Thursday in an apparent suicide attempt, after setting his house on fire, officials said. Two fighter jets were scrambled out of a nearby airport in response to the incident, which officials said did not appear to be linked to terrorism.
"This was apparently - according to an official - a deliberate act," CNN anchor Tony Harris said. "Joseph Andrew Stack is the name of the pilot."
The plane struck the second floor of the seven story building in Austin, Texas about 10:00 am (1600 GMT) and burst into flames in a massive explosion that forced people to flee out of the windows, witnesses and officials said.
A rambling suicide note signed by Joe Stack was discovered online that blamed the government for an unfair tax system which he apparently said ruined his life.
The unverifiable note concluded that "violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer" and said he hoped his actions would cause a "knee-jerk government reaction that results in more stupid draconian restrictions people wake up and begin to see the pompous political thugs and their mindless minions for what they are."
In a provocative column at Business Insider titled "The Austin Texas Bombing Is A HUGE Image Blow To The 'Tea Party' Right," Joe Weisenthal is strikingly honest about the partisanship warfare (and a bit more fair-minded than the title might indicate).
"It's not clear who the Austin, TX plane crash pilot Joe Stack hung out with, but let's just put it out there and stop playing pretend: this is not good publicity for the 'Tea Party' right, and no, we're not saying Stack was a tea partier," Wiesenthal writes. "But in his insane manifesto he rails against the IRS, bailouts, and, well, all of the right wing's typical enemies."
Is this fair to the right? No. Will some of the media use this as a chance to smear the "tea partiers"? Sure.
But we're not talking about what's fair, we're just talking about what happens.
The bottom line is that this event is to Obama what Oklahoma City was to Bill Clinton, and Oklahoma City helped Clinton a lot in the dark days after the 1994 election.
At the conservative-leaning Free Republic a number of commenters worry that the incident will tarnish the Tea Party movement and/or call Stack liberal because he mentioned opposition to President George W. Bush.
NavyCanDo writes, "This sounds like the rantings of the loonatic Mike Malloy from Leftist talk radio show. He over the last few nights has been saying violence is the only solution. Hard to believe this guy is alloud to be on the air."
In response to TruthHound's "And this commie scumbag gets his spew posted to FREE REPUBLIC!?!? Why?", VRWCmember responds,
So that when the drive-by media tries to spin selected quotes from the screed as a "tax-protestor" (like those Tea Party extremists), we already have the truth that this guy is no right-winger, but rather a wealth-envying class warrior tax-dodge scammer (probably jealous that TurboTax Timmy could get away with it but he couldn't), anti-religion, anti-Bush, anti-capitalist nutbag who was probably a hope and change voter. Notice in his screed that he bemoans the fact that congress could bail out the bankers and the automakers, but couldn't find a way to pass universal healthcare. His SPEW NEEDS TO BE POSTED so that people can see he was no right-winger. Don't let the media spin this guy as a Tea Party activists. You KNOW they will try.
NavyCanDo agrees, "Probbaly to counter the missinformation. Look at the first few hundred post on the original breaking news. It was greared he was going to be a Tea Party person and that the media was going to use that against conservatives everywhere."
"He was mad cause Obambi's hopey & changey didn't work for him! Boo hoo!" blondee123 writes at Free Republic.
Most ominously, ClearCase_guy, who posts "(We're all heading toward red revolution - we just disagree on which type of Red we want.) " next to his Free Republic alias, writes, "Wait and see. This guy won’t be the last. Some will be crazy. Others won’t be so crazy — though the media will call them crazy too."
At the Village Voice, Roy Edroso notes, "Also the Twitter fight over the attacker's ideological provenance has begun."
Did I call it or did I call it? Effing tea bagger pyscho," says Elisa Hopper; "Anti-Christian Communist responsible for Austin Terrorist Attack," says DivineMoments."
(with AFP reports)