An example of shameless media innuendo, courtesy of suggestive headlines and dangling facts. Tim Remington, the Idaho pastor who was shot and critically wounded outside his church in Coeur d’Alene on Sunday, had recently prayed for Ted Cruz. That’s all. No other reason whatsoever to believe this shooting was (or was not) politically motivated. But it does not stop the news media from drumming up suspicions that the “Donald Trump effect” is starting to rain havoc and bloodshed across the land.
The pastor of a prominent Idaho church was shot and critically wounded in the church’s parking lot Sunday, a day after he delivered the invocation at a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, authorities told NBC News.
Tim Remington, 55, senior pastor of the nondenominational Altar Church in Coeur d’Alene, was taken to Kootenai Health and Medical Center in critical condition, police and the hospital told NBC News. The hospital reported his status as stable late Sunday night.
There, in the lead paragraph, the notation of a fact, that, as we learn through reading the rest of the news story, thus far has absolutely no known or stated relevance to the events of the shooting. Any political motivations are nowhere to be seen (other than the reporter’s mind).
The gunman fled and remains at large. Coeur d’Alene Police identified the suspect late Sunday as Kyle Andrew Odom, 30, a white man in his mid-30s with blond hair and blue eyes. Odom was believed to have been driving a 2004 silver Honda Accord, and police warned he should be considered armed and dangerous.
Remington, a prominent spokesman for conservative issues, delivered the opening prayer for Cruz, a U.S. senator from Texas who is among the leading candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, at a rally Saturday at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds.
Remington grew up in Coeur d’Alene, in northern Idaho, and was pastor of a church in California during the 1980s, when he started a street ministry for drug and alcohol addicts, according to a biography on the church’s website.
He returned home to Coeur d’Alene about 18 years ago and started The Altar Church, as well as the Good Samaritan Rehabilitation drug and alcohol residential program. He and his wife, Cindy, have four children.
Why doesn’t the news source play up the fact that Pastor Remington ministers to drug-addicted parishioners? Instead, this fact is mentioned far deep in the news story rather than in the headline or the opening paragraph.
Now of course there’s the possibility that Odom was a fanatical, wild-eyed Trump follower seeking a personal deranged sense of justice or expression, but this is all conjectural and dramatic in a non-substantiated way. It’s the fantasy narrative of those who seek to squeeze socially convenient troubles from the litany of daily events. It’s dubious journalism but it’s passable because there is plausible deniability on the part of the news media (“we’re just reporting the facts”).
I suspect we’ll be seeing more of this type of ploy on the part of the news organizations as they try to foment the Trump Effect.