Update: News networks report that all hostages have been safely evacuated. Lee has been shot by police and is dead.
A gunman named James Jay Lee has taken a small number of hostages at the headquarters of the Discovery Channel in the DC suburb of Silver Spring, Maryland. Lee, who police say may have explosives, has long protested the Discovery Channel building and has posted a crazed, rambling Internet "manifesto", calling the human species the "most destructive, filthy, pollutive creatures around" and insisting that the Discovery Channel air his views. Though Lee is clearly sick, and though the hostage crisis is still ongoing as of this writing, bloggers and partisan commentators have not hesitated in using this incident to score political points. Whether liberal or conservative, the bloggers argue that Lee represents the opposite end of the political spectrum and is thus the responsibility of that bloggers' ideological opponents.
- He's an Anti-Immigration Conservative The Center for American Progress' Andrea Nill writes a post with the headline, "Purported Eco-Terrorist Angered Over 'Immigration Pollution And Anchor Baby Filth'" She writes, "Lee’s immigration screed bears a troubling resemblance to views and policies espoused by anti-immigrant groups such as NumbersUSA, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), Progressives for Immigration Reform, and others. ... It’s not a coincidence that many of these are amongst the same groups that have always supported changing the 14th amendment to deny 'anchor babies,' or the American-born children of undocumented immigrants, citizenship — long before the debate entered the political mainstream this summer."
- 'Radical Left-Wing Environmental' Mark Hemingway of the National Review and Washington Examiner writes in the latter,
question is, to what extent will the media note that this violence was
spurred by a radical left-wing environmental agenda, or that
eco-terrorism is not a new phenomenon and is arguably the America’s biggest domestic terrorist threat? Then again, maybe the gunman is just angling for a job in the White House."
- Hang This Attack Around Liberals' Necks Conservative blogger Allahpundit of Hot Air boasts, "I’m not going to blame the actions of a nut on all lefties and environmentalists. I will, however, be sure to remind them of this the next time they pull that on the right. Which they do, merrily, at every conceivable opportunity." Allahpundit strongly suggests that Lee is a liberal, but stops short of accusing him of representing the entire left. He goes on to accuse the left of politicizing similar incidents. He scoffs at a tweet by liberal blogger Duncan Black saying that Lee's action is apolitical. Allahpundit responds, "like I say, the narrative shall be a-changin’ the next time some nut on the right does something nutty." The blogger clarifies on Twitter, "I'm not implying that he's liberal, just that the green concerns that motivated him here are usually identified with liberals."
- Too Bad He's Not Conservative The Guardian's liberal blogger Michael Tomasky keeps score. "When you're on a bad run, you're on a bad run. One might have thought that a nut who has taken a hostage at the headquarters of the Discovery network in Silver Spring, Maryland might be from the right, because Discovery devotes lots of admirable programming to saving the environment and the whales and on and on. But no, he's a left-wing nut."
- Reveals the Influence of the Israel Lobby Liberal blogger Philip Weiss works hard for this. "What do I mean by the Israel lobby? Well for one thing, I mean the routine inclusion of a pro-Israel point of view in our media, without contradiction," he writes. "For the better part of an hour this afternoon, during the hostage crisis at the Discovery channel HQ in Silver Spring, MD, CNN featured commentary by Aaron Cohen, who was described as a trainer of Israeli commandoes. Cohen repeatedly explained how Israel handles such situations. When the anchor asked whether the police could just wait till the guy wears down, Cohen said that in 'terrorist' situations people don't just wear down. So an advocate for one side in a terrible cycle of violence is given a platform on American television."
- Reveals 'Their' Hypocrisy Conservative blogger William Jacobson writes, "A gunman has taken hostages at the Discovery Channel headquarters. According to reliable reports, the guy is an environmental activist motivated by fears for the planet, and spouting rhetoric about how the planet doesn't need people. Guess what it is I will not do? (Hint - rub their faces in their hypocrisy and intellectual shallowness). Because someone already is doing that." Jacobson refers to the tweets of popular conservative blogger Jim "Ace of Spades" Hanson, reproduced below.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.