The Kansas City Star used two provocative words in a headline that have little or nothing to do with the western Kansas bombing plot in question: “mosque” and “Trump.”
The headline reads, “Pro-Trump jurors sought by men charged in Kansas mosque bombing plot.” It would have more accurately read, “Rural jurors sought in anti-Somali bombing plot.”
The case in question involves three western Kansas men–Curtis Allen, Gavin Wright and Patrick Stein–who reportedly conspired to terrorize Somalis living in Garden City.
The Obama Department of Justice announced news of the men’s arrest three weeks before the November election. The timing is suspect, but the planned crime, if true, was indeed heinous.
The suspects, however, did not target a mosque. They targeted an apartment complex. Federal authorities note that there was a mosque of sorts in the complex, but whether the men knew that or not is uncertain.
The FBI began its investigation into the men’s activities in February 2016. It seems likely that they had done something to attract the FBI’s attention before that. In early 2016, Donald Trump was just one of 17 Republican candidates for president.
No matter which Republican candidate had gotten the nomination, the great majority of western Kansans would have voted for him or her. This takes us to the gratuitous heart of the Star’s stab at Trump.
The attorneys for the three men now scheduled to face trial in a Wichita federal court have argued that the jury selection process is discriminatory in that it “excludes rural and conservative jurors.” The attorneys claim in a motion that the jurors will be selected largely from Wichita and its suburbs.
The attorneys concede that the trial will be “uniquely political” and that conservatives and liberals tend to have different views “regarding the appropriate size and power of the federal government and the individual rights of its citizens.” For this reason, they specify in the motion that they want Western Kansans on the jury.
Star reporter Tony Rizzo quotes freely from that motion. If that motion cites Donald Trump, Rizzo fails to mention it. It is he who makes the Trump connection, inferring that western Kansans are “more likely to have supported Donald Trump in the 2016 election.”
The headline writer takes it from there, and a slam is born.