The first reaction CNSNews.com had to the March 16 shootings at Atlanta-area massage parlors that killed eight people -- six of them of Asian descent -- was to try and shoot down the narrative that the shooter was targeting Asians.
The first article came early on March 17 from Patrick Goodenough, who declared it was too soon to declare what the motivation was, though he did concede most of the victims were Asian:
Reports of deadly shootings at three massage parlors in the Atlanta area on Tuesday sparked snap judgments on social media, with some posters not waiting for evidence of motive before declaring the killings to be hate crimes targeting Asian Americans.
Some critics sought to lay blame on former President Trump, linking the shooting to Trump’s criticism of China over the coronavirus pandemic.
There was little sign of such caution on Twitter, where although investigators have yet to establish a motive, the assumption was that Asians were deliberately targeted for their ethnicity.
Goodenough also conceded that "Hate crimes against Asian Americans have risen through 2020, according to an advocacy group called Stop AAPI Hate," though he waited until the second-to-last paragraph of his article to note that.
Goodenough returned later that day to tout statements relayed by local police that the alleged shooter said he wasn't motiviated by race:
Despite a rush to judgment by some, the man in custody in connection with a deadly shooting at three massage parlors in the Atlanta area told investigators he was motivated not by anti-Asian sentiment but sex addiction, police in Georgia reported on Wednesday.
Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Captain Jay Baker told a press briefing that 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long said he viewed the businesses as “a temptation for him that he wanted to eliminate.”
The shootings at the three parlors cost the lives of eight people – six of them described by police as Asian women. The remaining two fatalities were a white woman and a white man, while a Hispanic man was injured in one of the three incidents.
CNS has largely ignored the shootings ever since, beyond columns complaining about anti-Asian bias being called out -- which means there's no reference to the fundamentalist Christian sect the alleged shooter belonged to, which may have warped his views about sex and may have led him to treat normal sexual desire as "sex addiction."
The following week, there was another mass shooting, at a grocery store in Boulder, Colo., in which 10 people were killed. CNS published several articles related to that shooting -- but focused almost entirely on gun control efforts, with emphasis on shouting down anyone advocating for them:
- Rep. Ilhan Omar: ‘Our Communities Are Living in Terror’
- Cruz: Disarming Law-Abiding Citizens Would Make Crime Worse
- Biden on Colorado Shooting: ‘I Don’t Need to Wait Another Minute’ to Call for Assault Weapons Ban
- Rep. Hice: 'These Tragedies Reveal That We Have a Spiritual Problem in This Country'
- Sen. John Kennedy on Gun Control: ‘You Don’t Stop Drunk Drivers by Getting Rid of All Sober Drivers’
There were no articles advocating against rushing to judgment on the shooter's motivation.
The Christian religion of the Atlanta shooter finally got mention in an anoymously written March 24 article -- a week after the incident -- when "Rep. Ilhan Omar (D.-Minn.) sent out a tweet on Tuesday drawing attention to what she thinks is the disproportionate attention paid to the religious affiliation of the Boulder, Colo., mass shooter as opposed to the religious affiliation of the Atlanta, Ga., mass shooter. “So ‘he’s Muslim’ is trending, did I miss ‘he’s Christian’ trending for last week’s Atlanta mass murderer?” Omar said in her tweet."
Those diverging focus on coverage in these two shooting stories shows us where CNS' priorities lie.