'Entertainment' Media Join Chorus Blaming Conservatives for Shooting

It was no less depressing for being predictable. News of the horrendous Jan. 8 shooting of Democratic Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 17 others had just broken when some on the left were exploiting it to malign conservatives.

Yet the left has blamed the “vitriolic” rhetoric of conservatives and the Tea Parties as inciting violence. The mainstream media has enabled and even joined liberals in tarring the right with inciting political violence, right down to the gossip, entertainment and “lifestyle” outlets.

Whether it’s “TMZ” polling readers with a leading questionnaire, “The Hollywood Reporter” publishing the thoughts of reliably left-wing celebrities, or “ET” trying to coax coherent sentences from vapid “young Hollywood stars,” sites noted for covering “pop tarts” are exploiting and scoring political points from the Tucson shooting.

Gossip & (incorrect) Gun Talk

You normally wouldn’t hit the gossip site TMZ for political news and opinion. After all, it’s a news-breaking website for all things Hollywood.

That is, unless there’s a highly emotional tragedy that left-wing partisans have dragged Sarah Palin into. Then TMZ becomes another liberal outlet intent on smearing Palin and conservatives in general.

The entertainment site posted a large split-screen photograph with Sarah Palin on the left, and shooting victim Representative Gabrielle Giffords on the right. Below, TMZ polled readers with six politically charged questions. “Is Palin partly to blame?” read one question. Another asked readers which party, “Incites more violence – Democrats, Republicans or Tea Party?” read another.

More than 300,000 readers actually responded to the poll’s most ridiculous question: “Is Palin partly to blame?” Sadly, a whopping 45 percent of responders gave TMZ the answer it wanted and said that she is.

Less surprising, given the left’s attack on conservative protestors, 49 percent of respondents said that the Tea Party incites the most violence, with Democrats taking 30 percent and Republicans at 21 percent.

Incidentally, 65 percent agreed that automatic weapons should be banned. Loughner, however, used a semi-automatic pistol in the shooting.

Much was made by liberals of the map from Palin’s political action committee. It featured “crosshairs” over the districts of Democratic representatives Palin considered vulnerable, and for whose opponents she campaigned during the 2010 midterm elections.

Despite the fact that strategists for both parties had been using similar maps for years, left-wingers cited the map as an example of the violent political rhetoric that needs to be tone down in the wake of the Giffords shooting.

TMZ chimed right in.Sarah Palin still has not removed the controversial target list map from her Facebook page -- the one that was posted back in March and features crosshairs all over a map ... and the name of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, among others,” said a TMZ post, complete with an image of the map from Facebook.

Vanity Fair, a culture and fashion magazine that currently features teeny-bop idol Justin Bieber on its cover, has proved its leftwing bent in years past, so it’s no surprise that it has taken to linking the names of famous conservatives with the Giffords shooting. “Saturday’s shooting in Tucson, Arizona, has been variously described as an ‘assassination’ and a ‘shooting rampage’—but which one is it?” asked VF writer Mark Ames.

Ames, asserted that the Tucson killings were a “hybrid of political assassination, of the sort that plagued America in the 1960s and 70s, and a ‘going postal’ rampage massacre, of the kind that first appeared in the mid- to late-1980s, with the rise of Reaganomics inequalities and the deterioration of workplace culture.”

So it isn’t enough to link killings to live conservatives. The left is prepared to blame the economic policies of dead conservatives for “rampage massacres.”

Even a random Hollywood movie website moviecitynews.com has managed to draw a parallel between right wingers and the murders in Arizona with some politically charged rhetoric of its own.

“To blame this on anyone specifically on the right in a ‘blood on their hands’ way would be too specific,” wrote David Polland. “But to dismiss the culture of rage that has been encouraged on the right, including the gun culture – have we heard what kind of weapon this guy shot 15 people with before being tackled – is equally foolhardy.”

Celebrity Smears

Whenever a tragedy or important issue occurs, someone inevitably seeks out the opinions of left-wing singers and actors.

And with the Tucson massacre, The Hollywood Reporter has dutifully played its part, publishing the thoughts of liberal celebrities on the shootings. It reported that actress Jane Fonda (who knows a thing or two about guns) “said on her blog the day of the shooting -- before much was known about Loughner -- that she was ‘sure’ that Giffords was shot by ‘right wing fanatics who have been repeatedly harassing and threatening Giffords, egged on by Sarah Palin and Glen (sic) Beck and Tea Party members.’

The Reporter printed a tweet from left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore, a fan of the violently oppressive Castro dictatorship in Cuba. “‘When Palin put crosshairs on a map w/Rep. Giffords & 19 other Dem congressmen/women, she urged followers to 'reload' & 'aim' for Democrats," tweeted Moore.”

Actress and comedienne Kathy Griffin made a similar comment, according The Reporter: "Congresswoman in AZ, who is ON Sarah Palin's crosshairs map was SHOT in the head 2day. Happy now Sarah?"

More pathetic was Entertainment Tonight’s website dedicating more than 400 words to the rambling reaction of a few “Glee” stars to the Arizona murders, asking the young starsif they have ever feared for their own safety.

“Our fans are really just very respectful and kind and I have not encountered any kind of hostility like that,” said Mark Salling on the set of a photoshoot for Ocean Pacific clothing line. “But I don't think you have to be recognizable or not to be concerned with your safety. I mean, we all travel and we all go to airports and grocery stores and everything else ... I think fear is what you don't need to do ... You can't be scared 'cause you could die right now walking across the street.”

Fellow “Glee” castmate Chord Overstreet agreed that most fans are respectful but adds that, “Since they see [me] all the time on TV, they feel like they can just come up to me and grab [me].”

Enlightening. But at least Entertainment Tonight was parroting the left’s demonization of conservatives, their speech and guns.

Matthew Philbin
Matthew Philbin
Matt Philbin is Managing Editor of MRC Culture