That Vermont ‘Islamophobic’ Attack? Not So Much. – HotAir

Remember the horrific shooting of 3 Arabs in Vermont back in November? It was Exhibit A in the case that Islamophobia has skyrocketed in America and is often used to make the case that both antisemitism and Islamophobia are pressing problems.

Yeah, well, not so much. As is so often the case, the story was massaged to make it fit the narrative.

I discovered that this was the case by reading the blog “Flopping Aces,” and the story is no less horrifying, but it is much less clear-cut than the media has led us to believe.

I haven’t been following the story, so I stupidly assumed that the shooting was indeed an example of a crazy person who was reacting to the heightened emotional discourse over the Israel-Hamas conflict.


The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee falsely claimed that “a man shouted and harassed the victims, then proceeded to shoot them. We have reason to believe this shooting occurred because the victims are Arab.”

In reality, they had been shot by a local resident outside his house who did not say a word.

The three Muslim men were returning home from a party on Saturday night when James J. Eaton, a local resident with a history of mental instability, stumbled out of a white clapboard house on the residential street and without a word fired four shots at the three men.

Eaton had been described as “that hippie guy” and “progressive”, an organic farmer who had posted a meme with a definition of “Amerika” that called it “the worst sense of the United States, ie imperialism, corruption and the global exportation of American culture.”

He appeared to be a Biden supporter

Media outlets, anti-Israel activists and politicians attributed the shootings to the Hamas war. Everyone from Biden and Kamala on down emphasized the “Palestinian” identities of those shot and implied that Eaton had attacked them because he was opposed to the ‘Palestinian’ cause.

In reality, Eaton supported Hamas.

The facts were, unsurprisingly, not unearthed by–or rather, reported on, since the MSM undoubtedly dug up these easy-to-find facts–a local independent media outlet in Vermont called Seven Days. They did the legwork to investigate the background of the shooter, read his social media posts, and even talk to people who knew and worked with him going back decades.

Just the sort of work you used to expect the MSM to do. After all, the media is filled with multi-billion dollar corporations with substantial resources, which is certainly not the case for independent media.

But it is only independent media sources that care about digging up the truth these days. The MSM doesn’t need actual facts, just talking points.

Nothing in Eaton’s publicly visible digital footprint indicates that he harbored a consistent or coherent ideology. In the profile for his account on X, formerly known as Twitter, he describes himself as a “radical citizen pa-trolling demockracy and crapitalism for oathcreepers,” an apparent reference to the armed far-right group the Oath Keepers.

Eaton’s location is tagged as “parallel universe,” and a meme attached to his account reads, “Libertarians want trans furrys to be able to protect their cannabis farms with unregistered machine guns.”

Eaton’s messages are protected, meaning only people who follow him can view his approximately 1,800 posts. One of those people, who asked not to be named, shared with Seven Days a small selection, including a handful about the Middle East conflict in the weeks after Hamas’ October 7 surprise attack on Israel that left some 1,200 people dead and hundreds more taken hostage.

While Seven Days has not been able to view all of Eaton’s social media posts, what was provided to the paper suggests he had some sympathy for the Palestinian side of the conflict.

“What if someone occupied your country? Wouldn’t you fight them?” he wrote in a November 16 post responding to a VTDigger.org commentary by U.S. Rep. Becca Balint (D-Vt.) that called for a cease-fire. “Brittan [sic] wouldn’t let ships with food sent by other countries into Ireland during the famine. My people starved.”

In an October 17 post on X responding to a different article, Eaton wrote that “the notion that Hamas is ‘evil’ for defending their state from occupation is absurd. They are owed a state. Pay up.”

The shooter, Jason Eaton, doesn’t seem to be driven by hate for Palestinians or their cause. Instead, interviews with Eaton’s family, employers, landlords, and ex-lovers suggest that he is an unstable man with serious mental problems.

He certainly is no MAGA White supremacist who went out hunting Arabs because of some mythical spike in Islamophobia.

This, though, doesn’t fit The Narrative, so the MSM has kept pushing the Islamophobia narrative. Again, Flopping Aces:

Media outlets which had rushed to spread the false claims never retracted or modified them. After a month of pushing the lie that the shootings were a response to Israel’s campaign against Hamas or to the ‘Muslim’ or ‘Palestinian’ identities of the three men, the new information was not reported, acknowledged or in any way addressed by politicians and media reporters.

NBC News, which had run an entire ‘live blog’ about the shootings, pushing anti-Israel and Islamophobia narratives, did not provide an update that would have contradicted its narrative.

Even in December, NBC News still continued running articles falsely linking the shootings to the Hamas war and attacking Israel. A Dec 5 article quoted one of the men shot as spreading anti-Israel propaganda and claiming that “this is happening to Palestinians across the country and, more importantly, in Gaza. We’re mad at the system that’s allowing not three of us to be injured but thousands and thousands and millions of us to be displaced and injured and killed.”

PBS ran a similar article in December quoting an uncle of one of the men as contending that “even in this country, even in this town — that many of the risks that exist for my nephew and his friends in Palestine exist for them here.”

I have to admit that I casually accepted the MSM narrative on this shooting, and I am ashamed to say it. No matter how cynical you are, unless you bother to look into any particular story, it is easy to fall into the trap of accepting the facts as presented.

One reason among many why propaganda works. Even those of us primed to look for it get duped at times.

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