Did the shooting down of a passenger jet over breakaway eastern Ukraine this week prompt America’s right-wing pundits to rise above OIP Derangement Syndrome? Of course not.
As The New Republic documented, multiple commentators attacked President Barack Obama for not making more of the 23 Americans who died in the airplane. They didn’t bother to confirm that those 23 Americans were, in fact, real.
We might take that as a symptom of the pressure in today’s online news environment to be the first with the story. Except that none of those people were reporting the story—they were opining on it. And they didn’t pause to think that the fact that the White House was not highlighting those people was a strong indication that the reports about them were unreliable. They had to assume that President Obama must be doing something wrong in order to justify their visceral urge to complain about him.
But that’s nothing compared to Rush Limbaugh, who hinted to his aging radio audience that the plane had been shot down in a conspiracy to allow the news media to stop reporting on children from Central America seeking protection in the US:
I don’t want appear to be callous here, folks, but you talk about an opportunity to abandon the Obama news at the border? And, no, I’m not suggesting anything other than how the media operates. Anyway, it’s eerie. It is really eerie. A Malaysian airliner. It was on the way to Kuala Lumpur. Why would it be shot down? Over Ukraine? It was shot down by a missile.With Limbaugh, it’s often difficult to tell whether it’s the pills or the racism talking, but in this case the OIP Derangement Syndrome is clear. And it was strong enough to justify trying to make political points off the sad death of hundreds of people.
This would lead one to believe that it is not an accident.