A bit of good news this morning, via the New York Times:
The federal authorities have charged a St. Louis man with making more than half a dozen bomb threats against Jewish community centers, schools and a Jewish history museum, an unsealed court document shows.
The man, Juan Thompson, made some of the threats in his own name and others in the name of a former girlfriend, apparently in an attempt to intimidate her, according to a federal complaint filed by the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan and unsealed on Friday.
Close followers of journalistic trivia may recognize the name: The accused is the same Juan Thompson who briefly wrote for Glenn Greenwald’s The Intercept, before being fired for fabricating quotes and inventing sources for several stories. Alerting readers to the problems in February 2016, Intercept editor Betsy Reed noted: “Thompson went to great lengths to deceive his editors, creating an email account to impersonate a source and lying about his reporting methods.” Gawker published a lengthy write-up of the episode, including Thompson’s attempt to excuse himself by implying that he was a victim of “the white media organizations that dominate our media landscape.”
Indeed, a scroll through Thompson’s Twitter feed reveals a staunch leftist. Thompson tweeted that Flint’s water supply “was poisoned by a capitalist state wanting $$/kill black ppl.”; that last week’s Academy Awards “are f[***]ing and toying and exploiting black ppl like America has done for centuries. White folk are trash.”; and, responding to a poll showing a 42 percent approval rating for President Donald Trump, that “42 percent of Americans are filthy fascist appeasers and they should be taken out along with Trump.” He says he voted for Bernie Sanders.
It also shows someone with obvious mental-health issues. Thompson’s pinned tweet is a plea for help dealing with a “nasty/racist #whitegirl I dated who sent a bomb threat in my name & wants me to be raped in jail”:
He also tweeted frequently about the recent threats to Jewish organizations.
As it happens, I met Thompson a few years ago, when we were both guests on a Huffington Post television show. He may be the most convinced leftist I’ve ever debated — although he was polite to me, on camera and off. For my part, I don’t see much reason to attribute his crime to his politics, assuming the allegations are true. It’s clear that Thompson is unstable and has been for some time, and unstable individuals frequently gravitate toward political extremism.
But for several weeks, commentators have been reflexively assigning blame for the latest rash of anti-Semitic incidents to Donald Trump supporters. Other culprits are still out there — Thompson appears to be a copycat — but given the identity of this one, perhaps a little circumspection is in order going forward.