A recent story that was rapidly ignored by the mainstream media points to an interesting fact: that while other sorts of terrorists get all kinds of media coverage, ecoterrorists are mentioned as little as possible. The case of James Jay Lee is illustrative. Lee briefly made the news on September 1 when he took over the Discovery Communications building with a gun and what he described as a bomb strapped to himself. He held three people captive for about four hours, before being killed by the police. Lee’s animus towards the Discovery Channel went back a ways — he had long been a protester outside its offices, and was sentenced two years ago to six months probation for disorderly conduct while protesting. But his motives were interesting. He posted a lot of messages online to the effect that humans are a blight on the planet. As he put it in one of his ravings, “Nothing is more important than saving . . . the Lions, Tigers, Giraffes, Elephants, Froggies, Turtles, Apes, Raccoons, Beetles, Ants, Sharks, Bears, and, of course, the Squirrels. The humans? The planet does not need humans.” He was angry that Discovery Communications was not promulgating his message. He also said that he experienced an “awakening” when he watched Al Gore’s documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth.” Now, what is absolutely amazing is how fast this story died. Would it have died as quickly if Lee had said that he was “awakened” by (say) listening to Rush Limbaugh or reading the works of Ann Coulter? You know the answer. It would have been news for weeks, with angry demands from the media for an accounting by Limbaugh or Coulter. You might defend the double standard by saying that terrorism by environmentalists is rare. But in fact it is not. The Earth Liberation Front and other such groups have committed numerous acts of terror over the years. No, we may as well be honest. The mainstream media are interested in terrorism only when it fits their preferred narrative — which always casts people of the Right as villains.
Gary Jason is an academic philosopher and a senior editor of Liberty. His most recent books are: Cinematic Thoughts: Essays on Film and the Philosophy of Film (Peter Lang Publishers), Purchase, Power and Persuasion: Essays on Political Philosophy (Peter Lang Publishers), and The Critical Thinking Book (Broadview Press). All are available through Amazon.