NPR, CBS, AP slamming Shinzo Abe is latest example of media bashing dead conservatives
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On occasion, the media has hit on conservative figures after their deaths in tweets and articles announcing the news of their deaths.
Early Friday morning, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe died in hospital after being shot during a campaign speech. NPR tweeted the news of his death, calling him a « divisive arch-conservative » and one of Japan’s « most powerful and influential figures. »
In the attached story, NPR went on to say that Abe’s « ultra-nationalism » angered Koreans and Chinese, and noted that he failed to address issues for Japanese citizens. kidnapped by North Korea. NPR also hit out at the former prime minister for his overhaul of the country’s constitution renouncing war. The left-leaning nonprofit was swiftly criticized by social media users.
CBS Mornings offered an equally critical assessment of Abe’s life on the day of his death, calling him a « right-wing nationalist » and a « polarizing figure » whose policy decisions were « controversial ».
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The Associated Press, which in the past has been known for its neutral and fast-paced news, published an article with a headline stating that Abe left a « divided legacy ».
AP has previously come under fire when social media users compared the site’s headlines on the latest news of the deaths of Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro. Chavez, a socialist dictator, has been called a « fiery Venezuelan leader » by the AP. Meanwhile, the media site announced the death of communist dictator Fidel Castro with this headline: « Fidel Castro, who defied the United States for 50 years, dies at 90 in Cuba ».
Instances of liberal media including critical remarks about conservative voices in the moments after their deaths have cropped up repeatedly in recent years.
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The sad news of the passing of conservative radio icon Rush Limbaugh after a battle with lung cancer led to this colorful New York Times headline: « Rush Limbaugh, Who Built Talk Radio Into an Attack Machine of the right, dies ».
Meanwhile, the article’s headline description read: « Mr. Limbaugh, 70, who helped transform the GOP, pushed talk radio to the right with misogynistic and racist language and conspiracy theories. «
The article opened with an equally scathing description of Limbaugh, saying his « divisive style of mockery and grievance », in which he disparaged Democrats, « feminazis » and environmentalists, had helped « reshape the American conservatives. The article added that Limbaugh had acted as a precursor to « the rise of Donald J. Trump. »
The article went on to describe the radio host as a man who pushed « baseless allegations » and « toxic rumours » in the days before Reddit and Twitter became « havens » for « misinformation ».
Limbaugh, who rose to prominence in the 1980s, is considered one of the star radio personalities responsible for the boom in national political programming. He is also credited with shaping conservative news and entertainment and paving the way for other conservative networks. A day after his lung cancer diagnosis, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Trump, the highest civilian honor in the United States.
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Several other influential conservatives have also received similar treatment from the media.
In 2016, following the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a New York Times editorial described Scalia as a judge who « opposed much of the social and political progress of the late 20th century… »
The same day, the Washington Post announced the news of his death in giant letters. “Supreme Court conservatives appalled liberals,” the headline read.
Notably, online publication The Post broke the grim news with a less aggressive headline, simply stating « Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Dies at 79. »
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The Post also came under fire in 2019 for a headline describing Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, an extremist leader of the Islamic State group, as an « austere religious scholar ».