Brian Ross Just the Latest Liberal Reporter to Smear Conservatives After Tragic Shootings

ABC’s Brian Ross's disgusting attempt to link Friday morning’s tragic shooting to a Tea Party member is just the latest example of the liberal media’s knee jerk reaction to impugn conservatives in the immediate wake of horrific crimes. After the shooting of former Democratic Representative Gabrielle Giffords liberal reporters were quick to condemn the Tea Party and conservatives like Sarah Palin and Mark Levin.

Just two hours after the attack on Giffords, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman pulled a similar Brian Ross-like assumption without the facts when he wrote in a January 8, 2011 blog that “We don’t have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was. She’s been the target of violence before....Her father says that ‘the whole Tea Party’ was her enemy.” During MSNBC’s live coverage of the Giffords shooting Luke Russert blamed Obamacare opponents when he theorized: “Remember, this is the deepest fear that was in the back of everybody's mind going through the health care debate. A lot of members were threatened...It looks sadly like it's come to fruition today." (quote compilation and videos after the jump)

Palin was also singled out for judgment from liberal reporters for the crime of having listed Giffords on a political map. CBS’s Bob Schieffer, on the January 9, 2011 Face the Nation charged: “When she [Giffords] showed up on Sarah Palin's political action committee Web site as one of those who had been targeted for defeat, it shows her in the crosshairs there. She warned herself that this kind of thing could have serious repercussions.” NBC’s Matt Lauer, on the January 10, Today show speculated: “While there is no evidence her [Palin’s] Web site featuring a target on Giffords' district had anything to do with this attack, some are asking if today's political rhetoric is inspiring the lunatic fringe?”

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews got into the blame game on the January 11, 2011 Hardball when he pondered: “What's been the role of talk radio in fueling the heated language?...People like Mark Levin, Michael Savage, for example who every time you listen to them are furious, furious at the Left with anger that just builds and builds in their voice, and by the time they go to commercial, they're just in some rage, every night, with ugly talk...And they use that language, when they talk about the other side, isn't that part of the problem? And my question is doesn't that give the moral license to people who have crazy minds to start with?”

That wasn’t the first time, on Hardball, that a conservative was blamed in the immediate aftermath of a tragic shooting. Salon’s Joan Walsh, on the June 10, 2009 show, linked Rush Limbaugh to the Holocaust Museum shooter when she blurted: There is a very disturbing and disturbed element of political discourse. And I would, I would throw in Rush Limbaugh. Not blaming him, but when you say that our President is more dangerous than al-Qaeda you've gone off into crazy nut job land. You are off the charts crazy. And you are, you are whipping people up.”

The following is a collection of examples of the liberal media’s rush to blame conservatives in the wake of tragic events:

"We don't have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was. She's been the target of violence before....Her father says that 'the whole Tea Party' was her enemy. And yes, she was on Sarah Palin's infamous 'crosshairs' list. Just yesterday, Ezra Klein remarked that opposition to health reform was getting scary. Actually, it's been scary for quite a while, in a way that already reminded many of us of the climate that preceded the Oklahoma City bombing....Violent acts are what happen when you create a climate of hate. And it's long past time for the GOP's leaders to take a stand against the hate-mongers."
- New York Times columnist Paul Krugman in a 3:22pm ET January 8, 2011 blog posting, less than two hours after news broke of Giffords' shooting.

 

 

"Remember, this is the deepest fear that was in the back of everybody's mind going through the health care debate. A lot of members were threatened. Congresswoman Giffords' windows at her district office were broken....There is [sic] a lot of fringe groups that were very upset with the health care law, felt that the federal government was overstepping its bounds, and that was in - within everyone's mind. It looks sadly like it's come to fruition today."
- NBC/MSNBC correspondent Luke Russert during MSNBC live coverage at about 3:30pm ET January 8, 2011.

 

 

Arizona Daily Star columnist/cartoonist David Fitzsimmons: "I must tell you as a columnist who has covered politics in this state, it was inevitable, from my perspective."
Anchor Martin Savidge: "Why do you say that?"
Fitzsimmons: "Because the right in Arizona, and I'm speaking very broadly, has been stoking the fires of a heated anger and rage successfully in this state....The politics of the state does tend to be far to the right. I would say even rabid right."
- Exchange at about 2:30pm ET during CNN's live coverage of the Giffords shooting, January 8, 2011. Fitzsimmons later conceded his remarks were "inappropriate."

 

"Giffords was one of 20 Democrats whose districts were lit up in crosshairs on a Sarah Palin campaign Web site last spring. Giffords and many others complained that someone unstable might act on that imagery."
- CBS's Nancy Cordes on the January 8, 2011 Evening News.



"On Twitter and Facebook, there is a lot of talk, in particular, about Sarah Palin. As you might recall, back in March of last year, when the health care vote was coming to the floor of the House and this was all heating up, Palin tweeted out a message on Twitter saying 'common sense conservatives, don't retreat - instead reload.' And she referred folks to her Facebook page. On that Facebook page was a list of Democratic members she was putting in crosshairs, and Gabrielle Giffords was one of those in the crosshairs."
- CNN's Jessica Yellin during the 10pm ET hour of Newsroom, January 8, 2011.

"You know, Congresswoman Giffords had received threats before. That's something that we might have overlooked here. Her office was trashed during the health care debate. When she showed up on Sarah Palin's political action committee Web site as one of those who had been targeted for defeat, it shows her in the crosshairs there. She warned herself that this kind of thing could have serious repercussions."
- CBS's Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation, January 9, 2011.

 

 

"Sarah Palin has been coming under some criticism. While there is no evidence her Web site featuring a target on Giffords' district had anything to do with this attack, some are asking if today's political rhetoric is inspiring the lunatic fringe?"
- NBC's Matt Lauer teasing an upcoming segment on Today, January 10.

 

 

"Not since Timothy McVeigh attacked the federal building in Oklahoma City has a crime sparked so much attention on anti-government rhetoric. That map Sarah Palin put up on Facebook last year, targeting Congresswoman Giffords' seat, made Giffords nervous, even then."
- Correspondent Lee Cowan on Today, January 10.

 

 

"What's been the role of talk radio in fueling the heated language?...People like Mark Levin, Michael Savage, for example who every time you listen to them are furious, furious at the Left with anger that just builds and builds in their voice, and by the time they go to commercial, they're just in some rage, every night, with ugly talk. Ugly sounding talk. And it never changes. It never modulates.... They do see the other end of the field as evil, as awful. Not just disagreeable but evil. And they use that language, when they talk about the other side, isn't that part of the problem? And my question is doesn't that give the moral license to people who have crazy minds to start with?"
- MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Hardball, January 11, 2011.

 

 

"I don't think you can deny that there is a rising climate of right wing hate, a lot of it directed at Obama. You and I go way back to the beginning of the campaign and the level of craziness. He's a secret Muslim. He hates America. He wasn't born here. Now this guy, Von Brunn, he's, he, he was one of the birthers. He didn't believe in Obama's birth certificate and he was constantly online agitating about that. There is a very disturbing and disturbed element of political discourse. And I would, I would throw in Rush Limbaugh. Not blaming him, but when you say that our President is more dangerous than al-Qaeda you've gone off into crazy nut job land. You are off the charts crazy. And you are, you are whipping people up. If he's worse than our mortal enemy -- al-Qaeda who killed thousands and thousands of Americans – I don't know where do you go after that? It's awful." -Salon.com's Editor in Chief Joan Walsh on Hardball, June 10, 2009.

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.