As the nation mourned the April 15 bombings at the Boston Marathon, media figures used the attacks to offer conspiracy theories, make Islamophobic comments, and push petty political and personal attacks.
Conspiracy Radio Host Alex Jones: U.S. Gov't Is "Prime Suspect" In Attack
Radio host and noted conspiracy theorist Alex Jones responded to the bombings by suggesting that they may have been a "false flag" operation staged by the government:
In a special webcast on April 15, Jones expanded on the conspiracy, saying"You saw them stage Fast and Furious. Folks, they staged Aurora, they staged Sandy Hook. The evidence is just overwhelming. And that's why I'm so desperate and freaked out. This is not fun, you know, getting up here telling you this. Somebody's got to tell you the truth."
WND Columnist Erik Rush's Attempt At "Sarcasm": Kill All Muslims In Response To Attack
Shortly following the bombings, WND columnist and occasional Fox News guest Erik Rush tweeted:
Rush lashed out at critics of his tweet and claimed it was "sarcasm" intended to show that liberals' "precious Islamists say the same about us EVERY DAY."
WaPo's Rubin Uses Bombings To Take Apparent Jab At Washington Post Colleague Over Gosnell Coverage
Conservative Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin used the attacks to take an apparent shot at a colleague. Rubin tweeted that she was "not writing on Boston" because "it is a local crime story for now."
As Alex Seitz-Wald explains at Salon, Rubin's comments were a sarcastic reference to the controversy over media coverage of the murder trial of Kermit Gosnell. To the ire of conservatives, Rubin's Post colleague Sarah Kliff tweeted last week that she wasn't covering the Gosnell story because "I cover policy for the Washington Post, not local crime."
After several people admonished Rubin on Twitter, she claimed that her remarks were simply a reference to the fact that she wanted to hold off on speculation about the attacks and avoid writing until more details became clear. In a post on her Washington Post blog, Rubin wrote:
I broke my own admonition on Twitter today, using poor phrasing to convey my dismay with outfits like the New York Post racing to be first (and wrong as it turned out) before they knew the extent of the attack. But that sort of observation should wait.
Hoft: Bombings Make Obama The "Worst. President. Ever."
In an April 16 post on his Gateway Pundit blog, popular conservative blogger Jim Hoft claimed that the bombing made President Obama the "Worst. President. Ever." He added that it's "pathetic" that Obama did notlabel the bombings "terrorism" during his remarks after the event.
In a previous post, Hoft claimed that the decision to not immediately label the attack terrorism or "a terrorist attack" was "crazy" and "just nuts."
Contrary to Hoft, several prominent conservative figures have defended Obama. On Fox News, Brit Hume said that "there is no reason to rush characterization" of the attacks.
In an appearance on CNN, Ari Fleischer, former White House Press Secretary for George W. Bush, also urged caution, saying, "Two hours after an attack, it's appropriate for the president to be one of the most cautious people speaking about it. The power of the White House and particularly the power of the presidency, every word gets magnified."
Following Obama's statement, multiple news outlets reported a White House official saying that "any event with multiple explosive devices - as this appears to be - is clearly an act of terror, and will be approached as an act of terror."
Pat Robertson: "Don't Talk To Me About 'Religion Of Peace,' No Way."
Pat Robertson appeared to blame Muslims for the bombings during his April 16 program by attacking Islam, commenting, "Don't talk to me about 'religion of peace,' no way."
Robertson has previously termed Islam both a "violent religion" and "a worldwide political movement [bent] on domination of the world." He has urged Muslims to be treated "as we would members of the Communist Party."
Beck Mentioned Bombing To Promote Owning Gold
Glenn Beck used the attack to strengthen his argument that it is important for viewers to own gold in case "the world starts to fall apart," which he said could be triggered by the Boston bombing.
As Buzzfeed's Dorsey Shaw noted, on his April 15 program, Beck pushed back on claims that investments in gold are volatile. He then stated:
With just the last two stories -- and these are not as dramatic as it would be if, god forbid, the world starts to fall apart - but just the last two stories. Let's say this turns out to be a terrorist operation with multiple bombs around the city. The stock market tanking, things going awry -- wouldn't this exactly be like how it would happen? September 11th, now that we are in this precarious situation, this is the way it will happen it will happen really really quickly. You better have a plan and know what you and your family are going to do in the time do in the time of more difficult days ahead.
Beck's cable network, The Blaze, is sponsored in part by Goldline.
Buzzfeed's post was later updated to include a response by a "source close to the show" who said:
"This is 100% not true. Glenn did a segment on his radio show about the decline in gold in the morning and wrote a monologue at 8am for his T.V. show about why gold prices are dropping - over six hours before he even learned of the tragedy in Boston. Then during his show, after he finished his monologue, he listed a variety of things that can destabilize the country including attacks and a stock market collapse."
Ingraham Uses Bombing To Stoke Fears About Immigration Reform
Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham suggested on her radio show that the bombing "raises all sorts of questions," including about the current debate over immigration reform:
INGRAHAM: This, in my mind, raises all sorts of questions. I mean, again, we don't know who did this, motivations, all of that. But it is interesting that at this moment -- we are considering legalizing or giving regularized status to millions of people. Pretty much none of them have gone through any rigorous background checks, to have a temporary status in the United States. And we don't -- I just think that there are all sorts of security implications aside from the other arguments on immigration -- national security implications that we don't talk about with enough frankness and I think certitude here. We can't stop every attack, but my goodness, if we had borders that were shut down and we actually had a proper screening process, maybe we could stop some of them.