James Taranto is not a common name, but unlike, say, Barack Obama, neither is it unique. Father James Taranto is a pastor at St. Mark’s Catholic Church in Independence, Mo. Jimmy Taranto used to play soccer for the University of Virginia; according to his bio at the UVA website, his father is called Jim. Another Jim Taranto “is a certified ‘short sale expert’ with certification from the prestigious ‘Distressed Property Institute’ of South Florida,” according to the ActiveRain Real Estate Network. According to HowManyOfMe.com, there are 36 James Tarantos in the U.S. …

Let us amend that. There was one other factor, and this is what makes the ABC error not just amateurish but sinister: the innocent Jim Holmes’s involvement with the Tea Party. For more than three years liberal journalists have falsely portrayed the Tea Party as racist and potentially violent. After the January 2011 mass shooting in Tucson, Ariz., speculation immediately began that the suspect was a Tea Partier. Even after it was proved that he was not, the New York Times published a despicable editorial blaming conservatives anyway. …

It is reasonable to interpret Ross’s hasty unsubstantiated report as an expression of hostility–bigotry–toward the Tea Party and those who share its values, which are traditional American ones. ABC’s carelessness here is in sharp contrast with the way the mainstream media treat criminal suspects who are black or Muslim. In those cases they take great pains not to perpetuate stereotypes, sometimes at the cost of withholding or obscuring relevant facts such as the physical description of a suspect who is still at large or the ideological motive for a crime.