Red Flag: The Cowardice of the Media and the Courage of Charleston

The Wilderness | Issue .51 | 6 . 22. 2015 |

Charleston Shooting


As Charleston marched in unity at sunset on Sunday night, two things were conspicuously missing. One was the progressive paid-agitation mob, normally so prevalent whenever an eager media trains its cameras on torched buildings and tear gas.  The other was Barack Obama, who was golfing on the other side of the country and nowhere to be found. Just days earlier, an unthinkable act of racial terror had ripped the city apart and frayed the fabric of the nation: nine African-American members of the historic Emanuel A.M.E. Church were gunned down in a Bible study group by a white supremacist with yet another creepy bowl haircut. The dead included three pastors, one of which was noted State Senator Clementa Pinckney. Due to the time of night when the crime occurred, very few details initially emerged concerning the crime or its particulars.

But, to a narrative-happy media approaching another critical election year, it didn’t matter.

Before the sun was given a chance to rise, the usual media suspects had chosen their narrative. Before the shooter was even apprehended every professional grievance-hunter, from Talking Points Memo, Salon, and The Huffington Post to the Obama Administration, was placing blame for a terror attack at the feet of a Republican Governor and a flag. Before the weekend was out, every Republican candidate for President was being bombarded by Buzzfeeders and JuiceVoxers. The GOP campaigns, still apparently naïvely unaware as to what the goals of these outlets are, decided to play along and they were promptly rewarded with more blame and more questions. Leftist media finally had the Conservative Tea Party Monster they’d always intended James Holmes or Adam Lanza or Jared Loughner to be.

Republican Presidential candidates were being made to answer for a Democrat battle flag, representing a Democrat war in a chapter of American history remembered as a Democrat revolt against the Republican proposition that human beings shouldn’t be held as chattel property. And all this even before the victims of Emanuel A.M.E. Church were given a chance to be memorialized.

Before the crime scene had been cleared and the killer had been caught, our media was once again bludgeoning us over the head and telling us to submit before we had even begun to grasp what it was that had actually happened. As reports came in via social media and local news outlets in the heat of the late South Carolina night, we were all struggling to find out what was happening. We weren’t even able to catch our breath. POLITICO, the Washington Post, and the New York Times all began examining what they called an “uncomfortable relationship the GOP has with the Confederate Flag.” It doesn’t matter that their crack researchers ignored a quote from a prominent KKK Member on the front page of Democrat candidate for President, Lincoln Chafee‘s website. Or that Bill Clinton signed legislation in 1987 amending the Arkansas state flag to honor the Confederate States. This is not about a flag but that doesn’t matter.

We get flooded with opinions of Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee (polling somewhere around 2% nationally), but not once, in spite of her own husband’s legislative ties to the Confederate States, did media pressure Democrat frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

They were too busy partying at the wedding of one of her aides.

That’s how it has been for a long seven years (and if they have their way, another four). A tragedy is immediately politicized by the agitationist progressive left. Their targets are now dragged, unwillingly and unjustly, into a fight they neither wanted nor started. It’s like fighting off a rabid dog. Before we have a chance to catch our breath, progressive media has its jaws locked onto our throat and is foaming at the mouth. Over a flag.

The Confederate battle flag is a stupidly retrograde symbol of a deservedly losing cause that flies over a Civil War memorial adjacent to the Columbia SC capitol building and which, in any event, was not responsible for the actions of a deranged individual in Charleston. If you think it was, then ask why have such modern mass-slaughters managed to spare Mississippi, a state that incorporates the Confederate battle standard into its official state flag?  The Holy Cross is also disagreeable symbol to progressive media (for infinitely less justifiable reasons), and this past weekend there were more people in Charleston waving that than the Confederate flag. Before the victims can be memorialized and grieved for, the political ideology that the national media on the Left is at war with (the party that itself buried the Confederacy, mind you) must atone for sins that don’t belong to them.

And thus a powder keg is lit.

The pattern is all too familiar. Shooter commits crime. President blames guns. Media blames Republicans. Media glorifies leftist protest. Protest turns to riot. Rinse. Repeat. Hope and Change, or else. For the past six or so years, the country feels like we’re on the verge of just getting our teeth kicked in. Like one spark lights a fuse. There was a feeling, propagated on social media and online, that perhaps this was that spark. That’s the goal of Alinsky social policies. At all costs, keep people angry. Keep people divided. Keep people distracted. We feared as a country there was no coming back from this.

But then something happened. This time was different. This time things didn’t go according to the their plan. This time, spurred on by the courage of families left behind, forgiving an unforgivable monster, with arms linked on bridges and church pews, Charleston joined together and made it known to racial extremists, both black and white, that their community would not be defined by them.

Hate would not win.



The country isn’t divided. The country isn’t racist. The country is exhausted.

As we witnessed Charlestonians of every race, color, and confessional creed congregating and joining hands as services at Emanuel A.M.E. Church resumed on Sunday, our President and his special advisor Valerie Jarrett were finger-wagging everyone on Twitter from the confines of an exclusive private country club in Palm Springs, CA–literally the furthest point he could get from Charleston in the country without physically leaving it.

Obama entered the White House briefing room the morning after the attack, gave a short two minute statement, lectured the country about gun control and then got on his airplane and flew away to Hollywood. Beyond a couple sparse tweets, that was all we heard from him. It takes a truly special brand of narcissism to decide to sit out the healing and grieving process a country takes upon itself in its President’s absence, yet at the same time scold it from an iPhone at Tyler Perry’s house or a golf course in Palm Springs.

Ronald Reagan sat in the Oval Office and embedded the memory of Christa McAuliffe and her crew into the permanent consciousness of the country. Bill Clinton’s down-home personal touch helped a country cope with, and understand a devastating act of domestic terror in Oklahoma City. George W. Bush, on the night of September 11th, 2001, exited Marine One and marched across the south lawn of the White House alone, head unbowed, and addressed a confused and angry nation against the wishes of his Secret Service.

With this President, checking out seems to be his only coping mechanism of choice, an inadequate response for a man tasked as the leader of the free world. Barack Obama, indignant that he can’t use the Charleston shooting to pass his political agenda, seems to have found no use in acting as a consoler-in-chief, but instead offered up a half-hearted lecture on gun control premised on faulty statistics. Then he boarded Air Force One and flew to Hollywood for four fundraisers, a podcast with a comedian and two days of golf. Just as he did after the terror attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi. Just as he did in the Hamptons and at the White House Correspondents Dinner as images of Ferguson and Baltimore being burnt to the ground blazed across cable channels.

A defining characteristic of this President is his constant (really, unique) ability to completely disappear when the country needs leadership the most, and instead let his bidding be done by junior staff on Twitter. A terrorist attack fundamentally changed the course of George W. Bush’s presidency. A terrorist attack doesn’t even change Barack Obama’s podcast schedule.

The last time he addressed the country from the Oval Office was in August of 2010.  Every time the country has endured a tragedy since then, and has turned to its President looking for words of comfort or understanding, that office has remained empty.

This country doesn’t have a race problem. It has a leadership problem.

In spite of unimaginable horror, however (and in spite of the vacuum of leadership), Charleston has given us hope. For the first time in seven years, the country turned its back on divisive rhetoric and policies. It drowned out the voices of a leftist mob hoping to leave a scorched wasteland wherever it goes (but particularly wherever the cameras follow). Charleston has begun to put itself back together and has done so without Al Sharpton’s paid mob of leftist shock troops or Barack Obama’s idle threats and apathy. They didn’t turn their pain into rage and then take it out on businesses in the community. They harnessed it into a message of hope and forgiveness, thus neutering the shooter of his stated goals. It was illuminating. It was inspiring and the remaining remnants of an organized horde of occupiers and incendiaries were helpless to stop it.



Their self appointed leader, Deray McKesson, the seemingly fresh-spawned whelp of the Sharpton/Soros social media faux-activist mob, arrived in Charleston ready to stamp his feet and scream, only to be greeted by the nigh-incomprehensible (to him) sight of people singing with, and not screaming at, one another. Before the weekend was out, Deray was taking his frustrations with this so-called “forgiveness” narrative out on the families of the victims, and was being told to go home by a city and a state with its heart already full of grief and with no time for his shovel-ready anger-and-agitation tactics.

Deray was instead exiled to the blasted ratings heath of CNN to spread his message of widespread rampant racism in South Carolina, despite the solemn claims of the racist mass murderer in his manifesto.  Despite the claims of Obama on Marc Maron’s podcast, or Deray’s daily racial Uberfact Tweets, racism was so scarce on the ground in South Carolina that the shooter couldn’t find anyone to go along with his ideology or his plan. He lamented about how alone he was in his demented ideals. Deray’s only outlet in Charleston became his Twitter feed, where he did his best impression of Vigo the Carpathian, desperately clinging onto a baby as he hears all the singing coming from outside the museum. In the end, the sight of thousands of peaceful people marching across the Revenal Bridge, waving flags and locked in arms was too much for him to stomach.

He sat it out. 

Charleston turned their back on hate, and did so without occupying a park, torching a business, smashing up a single cop car, or burning a single American flag. It’s a country we aren’t used to seeing anymore, which is why the images from worshippers joining hands and embracing each other in faith felt so viscerally moving to so many. It’s something we haven’t seen in awhile and it’s not something the far left wants us to see. Progressive and network media were happy to wrap themselves in a biased political narrative about an outdated flag. The rest of the country wrapped itself in the of the arms of the victims, their families, and the congregants of Emanuel A.M.E. Church, and let it be known loud and clear that they were not alone. Charleston, like New York or Boston, is not alone.

That is the country we are.



– SM –














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  1. Tuxi Reply

    The Potus should have been down in Charleston, SC, showing unity and giving words of comfort. Instead, he’s running around like a kid in a candy store.

  2. Brooke Reply

    Just an FYI, President Barack Obama will deliver the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, one of nine people killed in last week’s shootings at a Charleston, South Carolina, church, the White House said Monday.

    The President, First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will all attend funeral services Friday. 

    Now, what was that you were saying?

    • S. Miller Reply

      It’s good for the country that he’s finally getting around to paying attention to it.

      • Brooke Reply

        Finally?  You don’t watch or read the news much, do you?

    • Jim Reply

      Brooke, your divisive hate has lost. Take your smuggness some where else, it is no longer needed here 

      • Brooke Reply

        Jim, exuse me, who appointed you hall monitor?  I have said nothing divisive nor hateful, a little smug perhaps but the comment called for it since it was lacking in accuracy. 

    • Kim Reply

      That’s wonderful but what about the other 8?  Obama could have said something for all rather than an elite one. But that’s the point Mr Miller was making. – leadership or lack thereof. 

      • Brooke Reply

        Kim, You do realize that the President has a country to run?  Despite this, he has devoted a lot of time talking about this shooting and the people it hurt, as well as the issue of racism.

        • KRIS Reply

          Brooke, you do realize the irony of using “has a country to run” as a defense for golfing and fundraising rather than speaking to the nation and being a leader, correct?

          This administration DOES have a history of finger wagging and lecturing, but on the subject of LEADING, have been sorely discounted in their ability (or desire) to do so.

          • A.J.

            As a resident of the state of California, I can promise you that he spends much more time out here fund-raising in Silicon Valley and down in Hollywood than he does taking care of crisis.

        • blahblahblah Reply

          LOL @ ‘President has a country to run.’ That misdirection might have worked if he were going to some massive political summit, but his trip was to go golfing and and fundraising. Running the country indeed.

        • thechicagoway Reply

          Apparently he runs the country from a golf course in Palm Springs…..  Did you miss that part of the article?  Also,
          how does working with Al Sharpton help with respect to the “issue of racism”? 

        • Scott Reply

          >You do realize that the President has a country to run? 

          Really?  I would’ve never guessed, given that his first instinct upon hearing of the shooting (from the MFM, no doubt) was to hop aboard Air Force One to fundraise among the Hollyweirdos and get in a couple more games of golf.

  3. Ward Reply

    Great piece. Thank you. I had been out of the country for a couple of weeks in a wife induced media blackout. She’s wonderful. Thank you for filling me in. Great perspective.

  4. WellDone Reply

    … and more blacks were shot in Chicago this past week than were shot in Charleston, which means each and every person trying to make a deal of this church shooting is a racist dimwit. 

    • Brooke Reply

      WellDone,  There is no question that the shootings in Chicago are very disturbing,  and I could get in to that but it would be off topic.  I do wonder why you feel the need to deflect?  The vast majority of America knows the Charleston shooting was a big deal.  America has awakened, finally to the damage of hatred and racism and its messaging.  The ugliness of what Confederate flag represents (during the Civil War-Treason and Slavery, during the Civil Rights era-Segregation, Jim Crow, and Today–Various White Supremacists, Domestic Terrorism) is a big deal. Even Walmart, Amazon and e-Bay knows its a big deal, as does nearly every member of Congress.  Heck, even Lindsay Graham realized its a big deal. 

      • Kristophr Reply

        Civil War treason and slavery: Brought to us in 1861 by the Democratic Party.

        Segregation: Democratic Party, again. Jim Crow: Democratic Party.
        Klu Klux Klan: Democratic Party. Are you sure you want to go there, Brooke?

  5. Jen Reply

    I never post comments, but I feel compelled to comment in this instance. Very simply, this piece brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for your eloquence, Stephen.

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