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SUBURBAN LEGEND! Did media “profilers” blame the White Man? The evidence is—alas!—hard to find:


STILL ANGRY AFTER ALL THESE YEARS: Our Angry White Males are angry again. Somewhat comically, they’re angry now because they say that folks have been putting down Angry White Males! On Thursday’s Special Report, for example, Fred Barnes said that Muslim groups should apologize for John Allen Muhammad. Then he voiced the hottest new grievance:

BARNES: I mean, I’m glad you brought up the question of white guys, because there was a lot said about angry white men, and that this was the work of an angry white man. It wasn’t the work of an angry white man at all. It was a Muslim terrorist.
Fred is angry, and John Gibson isn’t. But on Friday’s Big Story, Gibby also recited the line:
GIBSON: You know, most of the—most everybody, professional and amateur and professional profiler, was sure this was going to turn out to be an angry white man. Turned out to be an angry black man. Were you surprised by the outcome of the case?
Over the weekend, Fred was still fulminatin’ on the Beltway Boys, telling Mort that “all that speculation about how it was an angry white male, it was white teenagers on a rampage, it was some hunter, you know, member of the NRA or something, turned out to be nonsense.” On Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume voiced the grievance too. And in today’s climate, when angry men speak, politically-astute white men listen. On Saturday’s Reliable Sources, Howard Kurtz began by voicing the claim:
KURTZ: Covering the capture: Did the media help catch the sniper by putting out crucial information that the police failed to release? Did they scare people by playing up the sniper’s threat against children? And all those profiles of an angry white man, how did so many made-for-TV experts get it so wrong? Welcome to Reliable Sources, where we turn a critical lens on the media.
Predictably, Andrew Sullivan had jumped on this bandwagon early, linking to Michelle Malkin’s bogus piece, which had been published on October 11 (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 10/25/02).

But is this new agit-prop really true? Did media “profilers” finger Angry White Males as the likely killers? In fact, a review of TV profiler babble doesn’t seem to support that assertion. For example, no TV profiler was more visible than former FBI gumshoe Clint Van Zandt. But here’s what he said on Today on October 8, just four days into the killing:

VAN ZANDT: As far as the person who’s doing this. You know, when this first started, Katie, the traditional profilers would tell you statistically this is a white male, maybe operating by himself, or at most, with one other person. Probably in his 20s or early 30s at very most. You know, Katie, I’m just not sure anymore. You know, for me, shooting that child yesterday changed the equation. It’s one thing when you’ve got a coward who’s out shooting 72-year-old men, shooting mothers in the back as they’re going about their daily activity, but when you start to hunt down and shoot a child, that, that has lowered the bar so far that, you know, whether this is, has a face like Mohamed Atta or Timothy McVeigh, this is terrorism. This nation, this part of the country, is being terrorized right now, whether it’s political, religious or personal reasons. And I think that’s why you’re going to see a tremendous infusion of federal agents in this area for what Fred Francis indicated is the largest manhunt that’s probably ever been conducted here.
Van Zandt gave voice to a hazy judgment, saying the killings were “terrorism.” But early on, he was explicitly saying that the killer might not be white. We can find no TV appearance where Van Zandt ever gave a “racial” profile. Neither did the hapless but ubiquitous Bo Dietl, who kept insisting that the killings were being done by a pair of teen-agers crazed by video games. Clearly, Dietl was thoroughly wrong in this “profile,” but he never specified anyone’s race, and he certainly didn’t expound the “AWM” theory. Neither did the ubiquitous Candice DeLong, who offered this analysis on Meet the Press just before giving the expert opinion that witnesses should jot down license numbers (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 10/21/02):
DELONG: Regarding what type of person, he’s very organized. This is a bright guy who’s—as you mentioned, he’s planning these things out. A professional sniper knows what his target is and then sets up on his targets, such as a police sniper maybe having to shoot a hostage taker. This guy is setting up first on a location and then he’s shooting someone that he feels is OK to kill, that comes into the crosshairs of the scope on the rifle, because he’s setting up first because he has to get away. He’s very, very organized.
We now know how silly this ouija work was. But three “experts” appeared on this Meet the Press session, and no one ever said a word about the killer’s race. In fact, if one reads back through the “profiler” chatter which wasted so much time on TV, one is struck by how little effort was made to guess at race. Did the press keep saying the killer was white? In fact, there were frequent questions as to whether the shooter might be working for al Qaeda. (Indeed, there was wide media coverage when police authorities visited the terrorist camps at Guantanamo.) And there was so much speculation about Hispanics, the Washington Times ran an article on October 25 about “what [Latinos] view as the disparate treatment Latinos have received at the hands of the police and the media in the midst of the sniper attacks.”

Is it true? Did media profilers call the killer an Angry White Male? Guess what? According to the Nexis archives, the phrase “Angry White Male/Man/Men” was never used by a TV profiler. And according to Nexis, no one was ever quoted in a newspaper or magazine using those incorrect phrases. In fact, until Barnes began venting on Thursday night’s show, only John Gibson—right there on Fox—had ever used the outrageous locutions. In fact, there was very little speculation on TV about the race of the killers—although you’ll likely be told something vastly different in the propaganda-fest lying ahead.

CHINESE PRISONER BO DIETL CONFESSES!! In today’s press climate, when Angry White Males start to voice a complaint, Compliant White Males tend to sing the song too. Indeed, it wasn’t just Kurtz who relented on Saturday. On Sources, Kurtz featured Bo Dietl on tape, making his latest odd statement:

DIETL: I always said there was probably two white teenagers, but you know what, I’m not a clairvoyant. All I’m glad is, they got them.
Dietl “always said there were probably two white teenagers?” In fact, we can’t find a single place in the Nexis files where Dietl guessed at race. He may have been thinking the killers were white. But we can’t find a place where he said it.

But then, how few pundits guessed about race? Eventually, Kurtz fleshed out his complaint about the “experts” trying to blame it on Whitey:

KURTZ: Now during all of the 24-hour blather that we’ve all heard for so many weeks on this horrible and horrifying story, we were looking for a white van, a white sniper, and that turned out not to be the case. Let’s take a brief look at what some of the experts, ex-detectives, ex-profilers and other self-appointed wise men and women had to say on this case.


JOHN TIMONEY: For the two people to act in unison and keep a secret for now 20 days, that’s almost an impossibility. So I said originally, it’s probably one guy. I still think it’s just one person.

CHRIS WHITCOMB: This guy has some role, some idea of what a sniper is all about from a romanticized version, and he probably doesn’t have direct training in this, but he is a wannabe.


KURTZ: Some red faces afterwards including from former detective Bo Dietl, who had this to say on CNN:


DIETL: I always said there was probably two white teenagers, but you know what, I’m not a clairvoyant. All I’m glad is, they got them.


KURTZ: Chris Gordon, should they be embarrassed? Should they resign from the talking heads society?

Intriguing, isn’t it? Kurtz headed his program with the pleasing claim that everyone tried to blame Mr. Charley. But when he got around to playing tape, he didn’t even include one pundit saying the killers were white! In fact, tape like that is hard to find—but a suburban legend is being born. More on the story tomorrow.

THE PUNDIT’S NEW LANGUAGE: In today’s column, Sully says that, if you call Iraq “Iraq,” you are a “de facto party to Saddam’s vile propaganda.” And here we come to the beauty part—he does this as he praises Orwell! We will seldom enjoy such amusement again. You know what to do. Just click here.

By the way, in Sully’s “e-mail of the day,” a correspondent flogs the Suburban Legend. “I am struck that everything we thought we knew about the Washington ‘sniper’ was wrong,” the upset e-mailer writes. First example? “He was not an ‘angry white male’ or ‘right-wing gun nut.’” The e-mailer puts both phrases into quotes; according to Nexis, neither phrase was ever uttered. But Angry White E-mailers love Victim Status, and Sully likes to spin you blue too.