According to his words in a released YouTube video, Phil Montag, a technology chairman for the Nebraska Democratic Party, was glad that House Majority Steve Scalise was shot last week, and he wishes that Scalise had been killed.
“This motherf***r, his whole job is to get people, convince Republicans to f***ing kick people off of f***ing health care,” Montag was captured saying. “I’m glad he got shot. I’m not gonna f***ing say that publicly. I’m glad he got shot.”
“I wish he was f***ing dead,” he later added.
Montag was fired by Nebraska Democratic Party Chairwoman Jane Kleeb soon after the audio became public.
The firing came one week after another Democratic leader in Nebraska, Black Caucus Chairwoman Chelsey Gentry-Tipton, posted these disparaging remarks on Facebook about victims of the Congressional baseball shooting:
“Watching the congressman crying on live tv abt the trauma they experienced. Y is this so funny tho?”
“Hard to be empathetic towards those that have no empathy for us. The very people that push pro NRA legislation in efforts to pad their pockets with complete disregard for human life. Yeah, having a hard time feeling bad for them.”
Gentry-Tipton was asked by the state party to resign for her comments, but it doesn’t appear that she has.
It’s hard to fathom, even in the hyper-partisan culture that we now live in, how any political leader could find amusement or take pleasure in another political leader being shot and having to fight for his life.
Is this kind of sentiment representative of the Democratic leadership in Nebraska and beyond? The answer is would certainly be no, but you can bank on one thing: Members of the national media will not demand that prominent Democratic leaders denounce these controversial statements, the way they would Republican leaders if this rhetoric had come from the other side of the aisle.
In the case of Montag in particular, it would seem pertinent to seek comment from Senator Elizabeth Warren. After all, she’s been publicly saying that the Republican healthcare bill will literally kill people, and that the legislation comes down to the GOP trafficking in “blood money” to help rich folks.
Some might dismiss such statements as political hyperbole, but people like Montag clearly subscribe them — to the point where a GOP congressman pushing healthcare reform is so dangerous to society that his murder (in Montag’s mind) would be justifiable.
Personally, I’m of the opinion that individuals should be held accountable for their own words and actions. Then again, I didn’t write the rules of the mainstream media. One of those rules, as often exercised selectively against Republicans, is that when a political figure or group says or does something provocative, notable figures from the affiliated party must answer for it, and be called on to denounce it.
This has been the case with everything from random Tea Party rhetoric, to Rush Limbaugh’s “slut” comment, to statements from political surrogates and local candidates, to Joe Wilson yelling “you lie”, to practically all forms of domestic gun violence, to just about anything related to Donald Trump (going as far back as when he was leading the Birther movement, years before he became a politician).
But you won’t see this in the case of Phil Montag, even though his words could have easily been inspired by the extreme sentiment echoed from the top-tiers of the Democratic party. The mainstream media will instead cast Montag the same way a typical person probably would: as a lone-wolf offender who was dealt with quickly and effectively, thus leaving no need for deeper examination.
And this course of action (or rather non-action) will seem perfectly reasonable to most journalists, even though a much different standard would have been applied if Montag were a Republican.
That’s how ideological bias operates, after all.