Now along comes James Eric Fuller.
Fuller is one of the shooting victims in the Tucson, Ariz., shooting rampage for which Jared Lee Loughner stands accused. The media fixated over what twisted societal circumstances could have prompted a gunman to open deadly fire into a crowd.
Meanwhile, they're wasting no time in giving Fuller the bum's rush out of the news cycle. Why? Because Fuller, an unabashed liberal, has utterly defied the narrative being pushed by talking heads.
Fuller was taken into police custody this past weekend at a town hall meeting after grabbing a picture of Tuscon Tea Party co-founder Trent Humphries and screaming "You're dead!" As deputies tried to escort him away, he turned on the crowd and called them all "whores." He has since been involuntarily committed for psychiatric evaluation.
If this were a conservative shrieking the same outrage at -- or even about -- a liberal figure, the media would be hyper- analyzing the offender's every action and habit, and clucking their tongues over the sheer hypocrisy of unleashing hateful rhetoric on the heels of President Obama's national call for an end to such hate.
Imagine the "aha!" moment the media would have reveled in had Fuller been a right-winger.
But Fuller isn't. Until his outburst, he was a liberal poster boy in the wake of the shooting. As such, The New York Times buried its account of Fuller's arrest way back on Page A22. On ABC's This Week, Christine Amanpour mentioned his arrest merely as a passing afterthought as she wrapped up her show Sunday -- without even mentioning Fuller's uttered threat of "You're dead!"
Fuller is no shrinking violet. He's a political activist known around the Tucson area for showing up at public events and getting into shouting matches -- often spurred by his provocation.
And in a recent radio interview on the show Democracy Now -- in another aspect of this story most media are reluctant to acknowledge -- Fuller said of the shooting of Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords: "It looks like (Sarah) Palin, (Glenn) Beck, Sharron Angle and the rest got their first target." Classy.
Holding Palin, Beck and Angle in any way accountable for the Tucson shooting is beyond disgusting. And while we're on the subject of accountability, maybe more people in the media should hold Fuller accountable for the hateful things he's been spouting off.
The media seemed to overlook this report from the New York Post: that Fuller "had told the Post on Friday, the day before his arrest, that top Republican figures should be tortured -- and their ears severed.
"'There would be torture and then an ear necklace, with (Minnesota U.S. Rep.) Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin's ears toward the end, because they're small, female ears, and then Limbaugh, Hannity and the biggest ears of all, Cheney's, in the center,' Fuller said."
Where's the outcry over that?
Liberals purport to love free speech -- unless it's their opponents doing the talking. Then it's hate speech. What a mind-boggling double standard.
We're not unsympathetic toward Fuller as a victim of such a horrific shooting or even possibly a mental illness. But that hardly immunizes him from honest scrutiny.
Media outlets seem more than willing to sweep this episode under the rug by tersely reporting Fuller is undergoing psychiatric evaluation, he has issued an apology and the threatened Tea Party official Humphries has accepted it.
But had Fuller been pegged as non-liberal, his feet still would be held to the fire in the same way media still are holding to the fire the feet of any opinionated conservative who occupies even a minute of air time.