So far this year at least 15 Mexican journalists have been murdered, reportedly killed by criminal cartels trying to silence their reporting on the drug trade. Their loss is tragic, as the killing of any journalist should be considered an act of war against the entire media.
Surprisingly, that hasn’t been the case in the United States since Jeff German, an investigative reporter for the Las Vegas Review-Journal was murdered on Sept. 2. Mr. German was fatally stabbed to death at night outside his home allegedly by a bitter Democratic politician who recently lost his primary. Prosecutors believe Mr. German’s stabbing was fueled by the journalist’s investigative reporting.
Mr. German had uncovered purported corrupt misdeeds committed by Clark County Administrator Rob Telles, and more recently reported the public official had been having an extramarital affair with a female staffer in his office.
The few news outlets that have covered this story have reported that Mr. Telles finally apparently hit a breaking point when he learned that Mr. German filed another public records request to delve into his background.
There are many bizarre facets to this story, the most recent of which was reported by the New York Post, revealing that while Mr. Telles remains locked up in pre-trial detention he not only gets to remain the Clark County Administrator but that he’ll continue to get paid for it. Local officials say without a recall election backed by 100,000 signatures, there just isn’t a mechanism to remove the elected official.
But the most surprising angle to this blossoming story isn’t the news that’s breaking—it’s the absence of it. Although according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 50 journalists have been killed around the world this year Mr. German is the only reporter to be killed in the U.S. He is the ninth journalist to be murdered in our country in the past three decades since 1992.
Despite this fact, there has been little outrage or discussion on the many cable news shows that spent four years during the last administration clamoring about how Mr. Trump considered the media to be an “enemy of the state.”
Despite the missteps of the media, Mr. Trump’s words were unwise. Still, they were just words, not murder, yet that one comment sent a shockwave of fear and fury throughout the mainstream media. Sadly, Mr. German’s death has largely gone unnoticed by analysts, commentators, pundits, journalists and editorial pages outside the basic, core reporting done by major outlets such as the New York Times and the Washington Post.
“We are relieved Telles is in custody and outraged that a colleague appears to have been killed for reporting on an elected official,” Review-Journal Executive Editor Glenn Cook said last Wednesday. “Journalists can’t do the important work our communities require if they are afraid a presentation of facts could lead to violent retribution.”
Mr. Cook could not have been more right, which raises questions about whether the reason the charges against Mr. Telles’ are being overlooked by the media—is because he’s on the left.
Imagine for a moment the reaction CNN, MSNBC and even network television stations such as ABC and CBS would have had if a Trump-endorsed candidate had killed a reporter working for any of them. The media, and perhaps even President Joe Biden himself would have probably condemned the act.
After all, the day before Mr. German was killed, Mr. Biden addressed the nation in Philadelphia to say that Mr. Trump and his tens of millions of supporters “represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.”
Acts and threats of violence against those exercising their First Amendment right are the real extremism threatening our republic. An attack against one journalist is an attack against all. Our colleagues in the press whose job it is to safeguard free speech—regardless of the political impact it has on either party—would be well reminded not to forget that.