Immediately After Arizona Shooting, MSNBC's Russert Suggested ObamaCare Backlash Was the Cause

During MSNBC's live coverage immediately following Saturday's attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), correspondent Luke Russert theorized that the shooting was probably a violent reaction to the passage of ObamaCare, for which Giffords cast an affirmative vote.

"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," Russert warned during coverage of the shooting. "It looks sadly like it's come to fruition today."

Russert's comment came during the 3 p.m. EST hour of MSNBC News Live; the network was in ongoing live coverage of the event, which occurred around 10:15 a.m. local time, 12:15 p.m. EST.
 

Though the health care bill was opposed by groups on the far-Left because there was no "public option," or because it did not constitute a Canada-like "single-payer" model, the much louder opposition came from conservatives.

In his commentary, Russert noted that many "fringe groups" opposed the health care law and felt the federal government was "overstepping its bounds." From this statement it is clear that he was referring to either conservative or anti-government groups who opposed ObamaCare, since the chief conservative criticism of the bill is the government "overstepping its bounds" by requiring Americans to purchase health insurance under penalty of law.

"In the back of everyone's mind, there was this fear that this type of attack could happen," Russert continued. He predicted that the coming week will bring a sharp reaction from Congress to Saturday's shooting, and a condemnation of all politically-motivated violence.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on January 8 at 3:34 p.m. EST, is as follows:

LUKE RUSSERT: 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. That same thing happened to Congresswoman Slaughter, a Democrat from New York. Congressman Clyburn had a noose – an African-American – faxed to him. In the back of everyone's mind, there is this fear that this type of attack could happen.

There is 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. Look for that to be a big message next week from both parties saying there should be an end to this type of violence. And look a lot of folks to say, "You know what? It looks like it's incumbent on all leaders on both the left and the right to say that these things are not acceptable in any way. Look for that next week.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014