Alabama hostage-standoff guman Jimmy Lee Dykes – anti-governement survivalist or pot smoker?
First of all, let me say upfront how happy I am for both Dykes’ child hostage and the boy’s family, that the boy appears to be safe and unharmed. As a parent, news stories like this go straight to my bones. Thank God, the Fates or Whoever for a better ending than easily might have transpired. That said…
In yet another data point that cable news is broken in this country, I was astounded to see that coverage of this story on the major cable outlet sites seems to already be gearing up the engines of opportunism to fold this tragedy into the daily Red State vs. Blue State propaganda wars.
According to CNN and MSNBC, Dyke has been described by both associates and law enforcement officials as an anti-governemnt survivalist. If true, such information might or might not be pertinent to the story at hand.
However, you wouldn’t know any of that if you were watching or reading FOX News. The conservative news outlet has seems to have decided that Dyke’s extreme (and perhaps paranoid) political beliefs are not worth mentioning. They do want us to know, however, that according to reports Dyke was a fine and upstanding military man long ago, but then later seems to have gotten involved in pot. (Dykes was arrested for possession in 2000.) If true, such information might or might not be pertinent to the story at hand.
Look, I’m not going to pretend to have any idea who is right and wrong about why Dykes did what he did. Faulty wiring seems as likely a reason as any to me, frankly. And if this story is like any of the other Breaking Stories that get reported in Special News Alerts, chances are we’ll find out in the coming days that almost none of what we think we know now is correct.
But so help me Agnostic God, I hope there is a place in Agnostic Hell for cable news producers whose first reaction to a bus driver’s life cut too early, a child’s terror and a family’s suffering is: how can I make the other side of the aisle look bad, so that my own guys look awesome?
Seriously, I really almost never get angry at anything. But stuff like this makes me mad as hell.