Of all the pundits trying to pin the Tucson massacre on conservatives, perhaps none has been more nakedly partisan and ignorant of the facts than Paul Krugman.
Putting aside the sheer comedy of calls for civil discourse from a columnist who, when he didn't get his way, encouraged readers to hang a sitting senator in effigy. All hypocrisy aside, Krugman has now taken it one step further and begun quoting conservatives out of context in order to make his case - and completely distorting what they said in the process.
Michele Bachmann was given the Krugman treatment in a column on Monday. Krugman had this to say:
Sarah Palin’s use in a video commentary of the “blood libel” phrase, against those exploiting the Tucson shooting in order to discredit her, inflamed television journalists with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell ridiculously highlighting on Wednesday’s Nightly News how “more than 375,000 people have expressed their views in an online poll on MSNBC.com” and “nearly 59 percent do not agree with Palin.” As if MSNBC.com attracts any kind of representative audience.
On the CBS Evening News, Chip Reid maintained: “She ignited a new controversy by using the term ‘blood libel,’ which refers to false allegations from the Middle Ages that Jews murdered Christian children to use their blood in religious ceremonies.” Claire Shipman, on ABC’s World News, relayed how “she uses a phrase many view as particularly incendiary, ‘blood libel.’”
Mitchell asserted “Palin’s response is now setting off more controversy” as evidenced by how “the Internet was immediately on fire over two words in her speech, ‘blood libel,’ a central myth of anti-Semitism” which “is offensive say critics.”
CNN indicated its sympathy for gun control on Tuesday with two segments on The Situation Room where sound bites from gun control supporters outnumbered gun rights supporters by a three-to-one margin. During the first report, correspondent Dana Bash stated that Senator Patrick Leahy "supports gun rights," even though the Democrat actually has the opposite record on the issue.
The previous evening, during the 9 pm Eastern hour of Monday's Anderson Cooper 360, the network's senior political analyst, David Gergen, indicated that he supported stricter gun control, in the wake of the attempted assassination on Representative Gabrielle Giffords, during a segment with Tea Party activist Dana Loesch.
GERGEN: ...How is it possible that someone who is this unhinged, when so many people understood that he was in mental deterioration, that he could still walk into a gun store and buy- you know, 9 mm semiautomatic Glock handgun, and also, then carry it concealed? I mean that's- if there's some cultural insanity here, it is the fact that we haven't put a stop to the capacity of these deranged young people to buy guns and then spray at people. It's just unbelievable.
It's become clear since Saturday that some in the media are determined to blame outspoken conservatives for the Tucson massacre. So there's really no reason to believe that yet another fact contradicting that attack will put it to rest.
But in the spirit of journalism - that thing the left's media attack dogs profess their reverence for - it should be noted: a friend of the killer, Jared Lee Loughner, told "Good Morning America" that Loughner "did not watch TV. He disliked the news. He didn’t listen to political radio. He didn’t take sides. He wasn’t on the left. He wasn’t on the right."
In other words, if this friend is to be believed, no cable news or talk radio personality drove Loughner to commit this heinous act.
In the aftermath of the tragic shooting of Congresswoman Giffords and others, it is predictable that some self-centered politicians and political commentators quickly assumed the killer must have been provoked by political comments.
Following on that conclusion, they naturally argue (notwithstanding their exposure last week in the House to the reading of the Constitution, including the First Amendment) that whatever political words may have provoked him to his irrational violence should be silenced.
But as news organizations have begun to flesh out the interests and activities of the alleged psychotic killer, I am struck by several non-political factors that may have both shaped his mind and provoked his action.
Here's Schultz right out the gate on his radio show yesterday --
Folks, let me tell you something, I'm making this announcement right away. We are not changing "The Ed Show" on MSNBC. As long as they open their mouths over there on the right, we will continue to have the segment called Psycho Talk. Because that's exactly what it is. And as soon as they say that they're not going to vote to repeal health care, then I'll make some changes. ... Last night on "The Ed Show" on MSNBC, I said that the fault of this horrific event in Tucson was that of the shooter. That's it. But now we spin off into the blame game about the rhetoric. And now there's announcements on a morning show on MSNBC that we have to tone it down. No one has told me to tone anything down. No one's, I have not gotten a directive from the president of MSNBC. I have not gotten a directive from anybody associated with this radio show. So, today I'm announcing, it's still Ed! And these people are ruthless in my opinion. Just look at their votes! Look at their policy! ...
Not that it had anything to do with Tucson, but still!
Wikileaks likes to say it's concerned with truth. Its media cheerleaders like to take that claim at face value. So we have to ask, why is Wikileaks lying about the Tucson massacre?
And it is lying. In a press release today, the organization claimed that Saturday's shooting was the result of "incitement" akin to threats against Julian Assange and other Wikileaks staffers from American political figures. But to date not a single piece of evidence exists that Jared Lee Loughner, the shooter, was driven to violence by political rhetoric of any kind.
Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik knows exactly what he’s doing. He has become a media darling because he is telling them exactly what they want to hear. Facts be damned, he’ll keep enforcing their template until this foolishness takes hold.
Introducing a segment on Tuesday's CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric acknowledged the latest CBS News poll showing that 57% of Americans do not believe heated political rhetoric had anything to do with the Tucson shooting. Even so, she added: "Just the same, nearly half say the discourse has become less civil than it was ten years ago."
The poll numbers that appeared on screen showed that 49% of respondents thought political discourse was less civil than a decade ago, while 33% saw the civility level about the same, and 15 % thought the current political climate was more civil. In other words, Americans are evenly divided over the question, with 48% seeing no decline in civility over the last ten years.
Jared Loughner was in no way a conservative or inspired by alleged conservative talk show "hate," yet the media have been quick to blame conservative talk radio and Sarah Palin for his assassination attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Arizona), all in an effort to delegitimize and demonize the conservative movement.
This stands in stark contrast to how the media have been silent on the real political motivations of crazed left-wingers, NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center founder Brent Bozell noted on the January 11 "700 Club."
Editor's Note: NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center founder Brent Bozell issued the following statement and provided evidence on the double standard of blaming conservatives for the tragic shooting in Tucson, Arizona while repeatedly ignoring left-wing media outbursts wishing death upon conservatives:
The so-called ‘news’ media have zero currency in this debate because we have documented the Left using hateful, vicious language far worse than any conservative. Their attacks on conservatives are untrue and utterly hypocritical. If they really cared about the effects of political rhetoric, they would have gone after any number of those left-wingers who have directly incited violence – starting with the man with the world’s biggest audience: President Obama. After all, he did say, "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun."
But that would be a ridiculous charge. And besides, the media aren’t really concerned about violent rhetoric. This is part of a much more insidious and calculated campaign to criminalize conservative thought.
Next they will ramp up support to regulate free speech on radio airwaves and the like. They want to illegalize opposition to liberal thought and are willing to accuse, indict and prosecute anyone who stands in the way of that Socialist goal.
Here are some lowlights of the left-wing media’s death wishes:
Media members that have been shamelessly blaming Sarah Palin for helping to incite Jared Lee Loughner's shooting rampage in Tucson on Saturday have been in the past couple of days ridiculing her silence since the event.
On Wednesday, just hours before the President is set to speak on this subject, the former Alaska governor posted her thoughtful response to the tragedy - as well as the press's abhorrent behavior since - at her Facebook page (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):
Anyone who’s seen Bravo’s "Top Chef" knows Tom Colicchio. He’s a man who knows how to cook and a man who knows good food. And, while his taste buds work magnificently, he’s apparently politically tone deaf. In the wake of Representative Giffords' shooting last weekend he served up a dish that turned the majority of the country’s stomach. He wrote on Twitter:
CNN's Jeffrey Toobin falsely claimed on Tuesday's Parker-Spitzer that Barack Obama is "against gun control." Toobin also seemed to lament that the conservative position on the Second Amendment has become the "conventional wisdom" in politics: "This is how much gun control has fallen off the map politically- that the idea that more guns will mean more protection is widely believed" [audio available here].
The senior legal analyst for the liberal network appeared during a segment at the bottom of the 8 pm Eastern hour to "break down some of the legal issues" related to the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Host Kathleen Parker first asked Toobin about the interview of gun rights advocate Alan Korwin in the previous segment: "You just heard us interview this pro-gun fellow out in Arizona. Are we all going to be safer if we're all packing heat?"
The liberal talking head launched into his take on gun politics:
Fred Phelps, crazed leader of the Westboro Baptist Church cult, has become infamous for blaming any bad event on the evils of homosexuality. Earthquake in Haiti? Blame the gays. Combat troop deaths in Iraq? Ditto.
Phelps's logic works thusly: God literally hates people who engage in homosexual conduct and unless societies take the steps to ban and punish such action, God is going to destroy them. Any natural disaster or mass murder is, accordingly, the will of God being carried out on the "sinners" who refuse to listen.
If that type of "logic" sounds familiar, it should be. It's exactly the same as the explanations the far left is resorting to in its efforts to pin the recent Tucson, Arizona shooting onto conservatives like Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, John Boehner, Glenn Beck, and the right generally.
Imagine the Saturday morning of congressional aide Mark Kimble. Kimble told of going to a Safeway for a typical meet-and-greet event with his boss, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Kimble said he went into the store for coffee, and as he came out, Giffords was talking to a couple about Medicare and reimbursements, and federal judge John Roll had just walked up to her and shouted “Hi” – when a gunman opened fire.
Nobody in America should greet this scene with any other initial reaction than horror. Six people were killed, including Judge Roll, several retirees, and a nine-year-old girl. Over a dozen others were seriously injured in the carnage. Giffords was shot in the head and remains in critical condition. Sadly, shamefully, within just minutes, a nasty political spin was kicking in without any brake for decency or evidence. Conservatives were to blame.
Despite the complete and thorough debunking of the media’s attempt to link common political discourse with the actions of a deranged lunatic in Tucson, one Congresswoman is taking politically correct rhetoric to ridiculous lows (h/t Michelle Malkin).
Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) took to the Huffington Post to voice her opinion on the Gabrielle Giffords assassination attempt. She starts harmlessly enough admitting that, “We don’t know what prompted the shooter … to kill innocent people.” Even though we don’t know the motivation, Pingree says, it’s important “that we do everything we can to prevent it from happening again.”
Then, echoing the prevailing liberal sentiment, she offers the preventative solution – cranking down the rhetoric. The first step?
While lambasting Sarah Palin for using violent imagery with her now infamous crosshairs election strategy map as well as her "Don't Retreat - RELOAD" Twitter posting, MSNBC's Chris Matthews used an expression concerning the former Alaska governor that could easily be misconstrued as a threat.
As he chatted with Cynthia Tucker and Richard Wolffe on "Hardball," the host said, "If she doesn't get off of this and stop trying to have somebody else skate her off of it like Glenn Beck or this person Mansour, she is going to be erased as a potential candidate" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Monday's CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric announced that Democratic Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik had "been thrust into the national spotlight for some remarks he made," adding, "he's not backing down." In the interview that followed, Dupnik asserted: "If you're in law enforcement and you're not a right-winger you get all kinds of heat from the right-wing nuts."
Couric noted how Dupnik "blamed the rampage in part on overheated political rhetoric, saying Arizona has become, quote, 'a Mecca for prejudice and bigotry.'" She acknowledged that "some Republicans have called his remarks irresponsible" and challenged the Sheriff: "Some people would say you were overly politicizing the situation. That it appears at this juncture – although it's unclear – that this was a lone deranged individual that might not have been inspired to do this at all for political reasons." Dupnik laughingly professed: "I'm not a political person by nature. I've been a police officer my entire life. I have no agenda."
Go figure, yet another example of allegedly non-existent rhetoric from a liberal using violent and/or gun-related imagery. Not to worry though, apparently it's only conservatives who set off left wingers when this occurs and and not the other way around.
Back on Dec. 16, I wrote about a conversation between liberal radio host Ed Schultz and his producer James "Holmy" Holm, who also helps Schultz with "The Ed Show" on MSNBC. Schultz's radio listeners have grown quite familiar with Holm, who has come on the air to chat with Schultz several times a week over the last year.
Let's hear what Schultz and Holm said about President Obama planning to meet with 20 of the nation's top CEOs (audio) --
The View's Whoopi Goldberg on Tuesday compared today's political environment to that of when she was a child, talk that led to people get "lynched." Discussing Last week's Arizona shooting, she warned, "When I was growing up, people talking and saying things, whipping folks up, caused a lot of people to get lynched."
Continuing this theme, she added, "Now, had those people not done all that, would it have happened any way? It may have. I don't know. But I do know that sometimes we, as a society, have to sort of be aware of what we are doing."
(Of course, Goldberg's historical analogy falls apart when you consider the fact that she was born in 1955 and grew up in the '60s, a time when lynchings were at a historical low.) The normally conservative Elisabeth Hasselbeck even inquired if Sarah Palin's career might be over as a result of the cross hairs ad her political action committee released in 2010.
Jared Loughner, the suspect arrested in Saturday's shooting death of a federal judge and critical wounding of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Arizona), is no right-winger and certainly not a military veteran.
All the same, Newsweek published an article today suggesting that Loughner's deadly rampage on Saturday was the consequence of conservative politicians dismissing the warnings of a Homeland Security report from 2009 warning about "lone wolf" attacks by right-wingers, particularly those who are armed forces veterans.
In "The Missed Warning Signs," Aaron Mehta, a reporter for the Center for Public Integrity, sought to lay the blame for the shooting at the feet of Rep. John Boehner and other conservatives.
In light of all existing evidence, any attempt to blame "heated political rhetoric" for Saturday's shooting in Tucson is simply a lie. While most reporters are done peddling the lie that Sarah Palin caused the Tucson massacre, they've now moved on to this more nuanced lie.
At present it seems that Jared Lee Loughner's hatred for Gabrielle Giffords, apparently the intended target, stemmed from the congersswoman's inability to answer some incoherent question Loughner asked her in 2007. There is no evidence to suggest he was driven to violence by political rhetoric of any kind.
Liberal media types have been peddling the lie that conservatives and their "heated political rhetoric" are responsible for the recent Tucson shooting. But why such insistence on an obviously false story line? The answer seems to be, at least in the case of some, that Tucson could be to Barack Obama as Oklahoma City was to Bill Clinton.
Bill Maher on Monday compared the psychological makeup of Jared Lee Loughner, the man accused of Saturday's Tucson massacre, to that of conservative talk show host Glenn Beck.
Speaking with CNN's Anderson Cooper about the incident, Maher disgustingly said, "Glenn Beck is also a little nutty. You know, I mean, this Jared guy's chalkboard in his basement, I'm not sure it wouldn't look that different than Glenn Beck's chalkboard" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Is Ed Schultz really this dumb or simply incapable of honesty?
Within the first 10 minutes of his radio show yesterday, Schultz was bellowing about an alleged connection between the massacre in Tucson and remarks by Rep. Michele Bachman, House candidate Jesse Kelly and other Republicans (audio) --
SCHULTZ (initially referring to Congresswoman Giffords' medical condition): The latest medical update is she is responding, it's been consistent since they started to try to get responses out of her, which is very positive. But if you want to talk about the political climate in this country, if you really want think the conversation in this country plays into the fear-mongering, or should we say that the conversation in this country leads to the angst and the anger, well then hell, let's just have that conversation. In fact, let's go back to Jesse Kelly. Any of you know who Jesse Kelly is? Here's a name that hasn't been thrown out during the coverage. He was Giffords' tea party opponent! Congresswoman Giffords! Ran against Jesse Kelly! Now listen to what he said during the campaign.
On Monday's CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric used the Tucson shooting to go after gun ownership: "As we reported, Jared Loughner purchased his gun legally....Saturday's attack is now putting the state's gun laws under a magnifying glass." In the report that followed, correspondent Dean Reynolds declared: "Arizona has among the most permissive gun laws in the nation."
Reynolds portrayed Arizona's commitment to gun rights as a danger: "The right to keep and bear arms here extends to weapons in cars, restaurants, and even bars....you can literally go on a shopping spree armed from store to store." He seemed aghast at the idea that guns may be allowed on Arizona college campuses: "And now there are proposals pending in the state legislature here that would allow college faculty and even college students, like those here at the University of Arizona, to carry concealed weapons on campus."
Reynolds spoke with former Democratic Mayor of Tucson Tom Volgy, who argued: "I think in the state of Arizona it is easier to purchase a weapon like that [a Glock semiautomatic] than it is to get a driver's license."
On Sunday, New York Times political reporter/columnist Matt Bai wondered if we are at the start of a “terrifying new” moment in political violence in “A Turning Point in the Discourse, but in Which Direction?” Bai argued that the act of Republican politicians saying standard political things was somehow fueling the rhetorical flames.
He at least appeared evenhanded at the beginning.
Within minutes of the first reports Saturday that Representative Gabrielle Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, and a score of people with her had been shot in Tucson, pages began disappearing from the Web. One was Sarah Palin’s infamous “cross hairs” map from last year, which showed a series of contested Congressional districts, including Ms. Giffords’s, with gun targets trained on them. Another was from Daily Kos, the liberal blog, where one of the congresswoman’s apparently liberal constituents declared her “dead to me” after Ms. Giffords voted against Nancy Pelosi in House leadership elections last week.
MSNBC's Contessa Brewer on Tuesday spread the blame for Saturday's spree shooting, singling out "vitriolic right-wing talkers and the Tea Party." Several groups seemed to be on Brewer's list, with the notable exception of Jared Loughner. He was only mentioned as a failure of the mental health system.
Closing the 12pm hour of News Live, Brewer summarized, "We've been following the fallout from the Tucson shooting and there is a lot of blame to go around. People are blaming the vitriolic right-wing talkers and the Tea Party." (When Brewer mentioned "people," one could largely substitute the word "journalists.")
Three days after a mentally-deranged man — whose backyard in Arizona featured a bizarre shrine decorated with a human skull and rotted oranges — killed six people and severely wounded Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the liberal media continue to cynically link Sarah Palin, the Tea Party and mainstream conservatives with the crime.
There is, of course, absolutely no evidence that “heated rhetoric” in any way motivated Jarred Loughner’s shooting spree, but the media’s repeated association of political speech with the attack suggests an attempt to exploit the tragedy to discredit mainstream conservatives by smearing them as somehow culpable.