Early on Sunday before the world learned the identity and religion of the man who murdered up to 50 people in an Orlando, Florida, gay bar, a “law enforcement expert” for NBC went on the air on MSNBC and hinted that the shooter was probably a Christian and a member of a “white hate group.”
Just before 7AM as the details about the shooting were beginning to roll out, NBC analyst Jim Cavanaugh appeared to tell the MSNBC audience that the man who shot up the bar was likely a long-time patron of the club and may have been banned by management for some reason. Cavanaugh said the shooting could have been a revenge shooting.
But Cavanaugh indulged in other speculation, insisting that there are “a lot” of white, Christian, domestic terrorist types who would carry out an attack on a gay bar because “they hate diverse people.”
“Is it just because it’s a diverse club and he hates diverse people?” Cavanaugh added.
The “law enforcement expert” next ascribed the shooting to a “white hate group.”
“You know, there’s a lot of domestic terrorists we classify that do that, they are rooted in white hate movements. So it could be that,” Cavanaugh said.
Expanding on his theory that the shooter was someone who was a former patron who was kicked out of the club, Cavanaugh noted that not all mass shootings are terrorism.
I don’t think that all violent mass murderers terrorize because all violent mass murderers do terrorize. When you have a shooting in a nightclub, you know, a lot of times it’s someone kicked out, thrown out of the nightclub, barred from the nightclub. They want to get back at the nightclub and its patrons because they have done wrong. And you have a lot of times revenge motives when you have nightclub shootings. And some of those can be very bad, multiple victims. But that doesn’t seem to ring true here, if you have somebody coming in with a bomb and a rifle and gun. It’s not like they were just thrown out, they went to the car and came back. It’s more like they planned to do this, and they wanted a high casualty count.
Cavanaugh was clearly attempting to dissuade MSNBC viewers from assuming Islamic terror was a motivation of the Orlando shooter.
Granted Cavanaugh was speaking very early on the morning of the attack, but as the hours passed and more evidence emerged, the shooter was identified as Omar Mir Seddique Mateen, a registered Democrat and Muslim from Port St. Lucie, Florida.
Still, NBC’s Jim Cavanaugh seems to have a history of these sort of wild speculations always leaning away from blaming Islam. As Real Clear Politics notes, at least two times in the past Cavanaugh has urged people to absolve Islam from acts of terrorism.
In 2015 Cavanaugh insisted that President Obama should issue a directive to force people to stop identifying terror attacks to ISIS. And in 2014 he insisted that people in cafes shouldn’t worry because “Islam is not calling to kill people.”