I’m really late to the party here, but I see that a New York Times article described Planned Parenthood terrorist Robert Dear as “a gentle loner who occasionally unleashed violent acts toward neighbors and women he knew.” After criticism online from numerous sources pointing out that this was basically white straight cis male apologism [especially when black male victims of white male violence receive vilification when described posthumously — hat tip to Chaedria LaBouvier], the NYT made some cosmetic changes to the article, but, to date, has made no direct acknowledgment of the multiple levels of bullshit involved in its portrayal of Dear. This reminds me of the 2012 coverage of the death of Lorena Escalera, trans woman of color, wherein the NYT’s confluence of racism, sexism, classism, and transmisogyny led me to cancel my subscription.
I think I’m going to start writing like the NYT. In fact, I’m now going to characterize the paper itself as “an objective, trustworthy, fair-minded, egalitarian news source that occasionally unleashes bigotry toward anyone who’s not a straight white cis bourgeois male.” That’s accurate, right? :p
Just in case the article isn’t enough of a cesspool already, two other threads in it piss me off. First, there’s the strong assumption that anyone who lives by themselves, doesn’t socialize much with the locals, and keeps mostly to themselves is automatically up to no good. They must be like that because they’re hiding skeletons in their closet.
Second, there’s the strong implication that Dear’s interest in bdsm correlates to his recent murders. In the sixth paragraph of the profile, the topic sentence discusses “sporadic brushes with the law, neighbors, and relatives,” while the last sentence notes that Dear looked for bdsm partners online. The position of the sentence about Dear’s online profile thus groups it in with “brushes with the law,” suggesting that kinky sex and domestic terrorism are on a continuum. Apparently the slippery slope argument is alive and well in supposedly reputable news sources.
I’m really surprised that there’s nothing in this profile proposing that Dear is mentally ill and that his mental illness correlates to his criminality.