What’s Your Source For That @Max_Fisher?
Over at VOX, Max Fisher reports on the mysterious deaths of three Muslims in Indiana [UPDATE 02 Mar 2016: Turns out one of the three victims was actually a Christian. Hate crime also ‘ruled out’ by the police]. He engages in some rhetorical throat clearing about not jumping to conclusions, before going on to irresponsibly link it to the Chapel Hill murders. An angle must be found I suppose.
Within the article, Fisher claims that Craig Hicks ‘expressed a paranoid hatred of religion’. My question would be: What is your source for that claim, Max? I’ve reached out on Twitter a couple of times, but have been ignored thus far.
— Stephen Knight GS (@GSpellchecker) February 28, 2016
Due to a number of irresponsible hacks and lazy news pundits, the idea that Craig Hicks was motivated to kill by some hateful, anti-religious lunacy has taken on almost mythical properties. Well, what is it based on? I’ve documented Craig Hicks’s social media output at length before. The fact is, if Hicks had a ‘paranoid hatred of religion’, so do I and most of the people reading this then – as his online atheism appeared to consist of promoting religious freedom (even for Muslims) and posting some tame quotes and memes. In fact, most people who have any criticism of religion whatsoever fall into Max’s ‘paranoid hatred’ profile.
This VOX article has been shared tens of thousands of times with this inaccurate and dangerous claim. The last few years have really felt like a downward spiral for online ‘Journalism’. I think 2016 should be the year that readers start holding people responsible for the things they write.
As I reiterate in everything I write about this case: Hicks may well be guilty of an anti-Muslim hate crime. It’s just that none of the information currently made available to the public so far suggest that is the case. It is irresponsible to claim otherwise.