Catching up on an item from the Tuesday, January 11, Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, MSNBC host O’Donnell blamed President Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress of 2004 for some of the deaths in the Tucson shootings because they did not have the "basic human decency" to renew the assault weapons ban and require Jared Loughner to reload his weapon sooner. O’Donnell talked of learning which victims would be alive if not for Bush and Republicans. O’Donnell:
When the investigation reveals the exact order of the 31 shots fired, we will be able to do the grim accounting and tell you exactly, exactly who would be alive today if the Republican House, the Republican Senate and the Republican President had the basic human decency to do the right thing in 2004.
Later in the show, he quoted the spokesman of the National Rifle Association and tagged him as "soulless" for opposing a rush to pass new gun control laws. He went on to contend that the NRA believes "there should be absolutely no restrictions on access to guns," and suggested that the NRA wants to keep the murder rate in America above that in other countries. O’Donnell:
Quote, "Anything other than prayers for the victims and their families at this time would be inappropriate." So says the soulless spokesman for the National Rifle Association, the most successful special interest lobby in the history of lobbying. Success in lobbying is scored according to how difficult your case is. The NRA has a very difficult case to make, that there should be absolutely no restrictions on access to guns and bullets in this country, and that we must never allow our homicide rate to fall below any other country`s homicide rate.
On Saturday, both ABC and NBC ran stories fretting over the Crossroads of the West Gun Show that was held over the weekend in Tucson, Arizona. On ABC, at one point, correspondent David Wright seemed surprised that the large number of people showing up at the event were customers instead of protesters. After relaying that some members of Congress want more gun control laws and cautioning viewers that they should not "hold your breath for them to pass," he continued: "If you wonder why, just check out the crowd at today's gun show. These aren't protesters, they're customers."
Over on the NBC Nightly News, correspondent Kristen Welker noted that it is legal to carry concealed weapons in Arizona, "just as Loughner did last Saturday," as if a person with homicidal intent would decide to obey a law against carrying concealing weapons:
KRISTEN WELKER: Guns are permissible almost anywhere in the state, including many public buildings, and it is legal for people to conceal those weapons and carry them around, just as Loughner did last Saturday.
PAUL HELMKE, BRADY COMMISSION PRESIDENT: Arizona is only the third state in the country to allow people to carry loaded, hidden guns without any permitting process at all.
Yesterday (covered here at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), in his report on the arrest of Eric Fuller at an ABC "This Week" taping in Tucson, Arizona, the Associated Press's Bob Christie either failed to perform a basic web search that would have revealed Fuller's Friday "Democracy Now!" rant, or failed to report what he found.
This evening's AP report from Christie and Amanda Lee Myers at least recognizes Fuller's appearance on the far-left program. But that acknowledgment appears at Paragraph 14 of a report that is primarily about Gabrielle Giffords's recovery (headlined "Rep. Gabrielle Giffords condition improves"), instead of in a different AP dispatch this evening ("With shock subsiding, pain sets in for AZ victims") where addressing Fuller's outburst would have made more sense (what would have made the most sense is a separate report on Fuller alone).
The submission by Christie and Myers also fails to go into much of the substance of Fuller's "Democracy Now!" appearance. Readers get the impression that Fuller was fulminating against conservatives in general, when in fact he called out several by name -- including, bizarrely, new House Majority Leader John Boehner.
The New York Times simply can’t help themselves. They simply cannot leave their opinions out of supposedly objective pieces of journalism. Which begs the question, if the bulk of the articles contain this type of reporting, why does the Times even bother having a separate opinion section?
In a profile piece on Tucson gunman Jared Loughner titled, Looking Behind the Mug-Shot Grin of an Accused Killer, the Times takes two separate occasions to toss in a casual link to ‘right-wing groups’ (h/t Byron York).
The first cheap shot shows up on the first page of a seven page profile:
He became an echo chamber for stray ideas, amplifying, for example, certain grandiose tenets of a number of extremist right-wing groups — including the need for a new money system and the government’s mind-manipulation of the masses through language.
The second instance addresses the currency issue and casts blame on the right as well :
Like Rahm Emanuel, who wouldn't waste a crisis, Frank Rich doesn't want to let a murderous rampage pass without trying to wring political advantage. By now, even most ardent liberals have had to admit that there was no nexus between conservatives and the manifestly psychotic AZ shooter. But there was Rich, in his New York Times column of this morning, still bitterly clinging to the accusation.
To be sure, Rich recited some disclaimers that by now have become standard. But by unlucky paragraph 13, Rich could restrain himself no more. Fulminated Frank: "Much of last week’s televised bloviation was dishonest, dedicated to the pious, feel-good sentiment that both sides are equally culpable for the rage of the past two years." That is a "false equivalency," he sputtered.
Two paras later, out popped what amounted to a flat-out accusation. After claiming there exists "antigovernment radicalism as rabid on the right now as it was on the left in the late 1960s," Rich argued:
"That Loughner was likely insane, with no coherent ideological agenda, does not mean that a climate of antigovernment hysteria has no effect on him or other crazed loners out there."
Translation: yeah, Loughner was crazy, but conservatives are still to blame.
Here's the opening paragraph of the Associated Press's 8:16 p.m. ET report on the arrest of Eric Fuller:
One of the Arizona shooting victims was arrested Saturday and then taken for a psychiatric evaluation after authorities said he took a picture of a tea party leader at televised town hall meeting and yelled: "you're dead."
The rest of Bob Christie's dispatch reflects either a failure by "The Essential Global News Network" to do a simple Google search on the guy, or, if such a search was attempted, a failure to report what was found.
Noel Sheppard posted the news about J. Eric Fuller's arrest at NewsBusters earlier this evening:
According to the website of ABC-TV affiliate KGUN, J. Eric Fuller was arrested and charged with threats, intimidation, and disorderly conduct.
Demonstrating impressive prescience, John Hayward at Human Events predicted on Friday that Fuller would attempt to capitalize on his being among the injured in last Saturday's Tucson murders. After the jump, you'll get a sampling of Fuller's full feelings from Hayward:
Two particularly peculiar bits of reasoning Friday night from Bill Maher on the season premiere of his HBO show, Real Time with Bill Maher, starting with his bizarre explanation for why Jared Lee Loughner was able to commit mass murder. After panelist Chrystia Freeland, global editor-at-large for Thomson Reuters, trumped how her native Canada has “universal health care,” Maher jumped in to assert:
Because we don't have government health care, that's one reason why a crazy person gets a gun because, you know what, it’s hard for a crazy person to get a job, so therefore it’s hard for them to get heath care in a country that doesn’t have government- (Audio: MP3 clip)
The conversation moved on and Maher never offered any further explanation, if there could even have been any which made any sense.
"Rush Limbaugh needs to choke to death on his own fat," deranged left-wing radio show host Mike Malloy hissed on his February 18, 2009 program.
Michele Bachmann should "slit [her] wrist!" Montel Williams told his Air America radio show audience in September 2009.
"We ought to rip [Dick Cheney's heart] out and kick it around and stuff it back in him," MSNBC's Ed Schultz blustered on his February 24, 2010 radio program.
Those are just three examples of left-wing hate that the mainstream media haven't denounced while accusing conservatives like Sarah Palin of engendering violence in the wake of the Rep. Gabrielle Giffords shooting.
"Have you ever heard any reporter... denounce these examples?" NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell asked Fox News' Sean Hannity after watching the montage during last night's "Media Mash" segment on "Hannity."
[For the full segment, watch the video below the page break or listen to the MP3 audio here.]
Rep. Louis Gohmert (R.-Texas), a former prosecutor and judge and a current member of the House Judiciary Committee, is offering some advice to Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, who has gained national attention since Saturday for his suggestions that radio and television talk shows were somehow responsible for the shooting attack in Tucson that took the lives of 6 people and wounded 14 others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
While the liberal media, particularly Obama acolytes at MSNBC, immediately jumped down former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's throat for her use of the term "blood libel" in a video statement yesterday, it appears the network has not always thundered with righteous indignation at the use of the term.
Tthere was no reaction from MSNBC's Chris Matthews in 2000 when Jack Kemp used the term to describe a harsh radio ad the NAACP had used against then-Gov. George W. Bush (R-Texas) nor in 2006 when Mike Barnicle used the term in reference to Sen. John Kerry having been criticized by a group of Vietnam War swift boat veterans.
Kemp used the term on the December 19, 2000 edition of "Hardball," while he and Matthews were discussing why so few black Americans actually voted for Bush. In that exchange, Kemp lamented as "blood libel" a harsh ad the NAACP National Voter Fund ran that suggested Bush had blood on his hands for failing to support a hate crimes bill.
There are many heroes who showed indomitable courage and grace under fire during this weekend's horrific Tucson massacre. Blowhard Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik was not one of them.
If the White House has any sense, President Obama will stay far away from the demagogic Dupnik and his media entourage when he visits Arizona on Wednesday to memorialize the victims. Indeed, if the White House is truly committed to unifying the country, it will explicitly disavow Dupnik's vulture-like exploitation of the shooting rampage.
Within hours of the bloody spree, Dupnik mounted more grandstands than a NASCAR tour champion. A vocal opponent of S.B. 1070, the popular state law cracking down on illegal immigration, Dupnik immediately blamed Arizona for becoming a "mecca for prejudice and bigotry."
Ed Schultz has suggested that Sarah Palin employed the term "blood libel" to describe the way her critics have tried to hold her responsible for the Arizona shootings "as an appeal to an extreme Christian conservative base for 2012."
Citing no evidence for his grotesque allegation, Schultz first floated it during his opening monologue on his MSNBC show this evening. He raised it again with his first guest, Dem congressman Jan Schakowsky, and took things a despicable step further. Schultz suggested that Palin "got help from the speech from somebody who knows exactly what 'blood libel' means."
Put up or shut up time, Schultz. View video after the jump.
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.
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.
The folks at USA Today really ought to vet their candidates for the "Et Cetera -- Smart insights on the news of the day" section of the print edition of its editorial page a bit more thoroughly.
Wednesday morning's opener in that section (apparently not available online) featured two paragraphs from a New York Times op-ed by former Pennsylvania Congressman Paul Kanjorski, including this final sentence:
Therefore, it is incumbent on all Americans to create an atmosphere of civility and respect in which political discourse can flow freely, without fear of violent confrontation.
As I noted yesterday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog; original HT Mark Hemingway at the Washington Examiner), Kanjorski's entitlement to lecture on civility is more than a little suspect, given what he said about Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott and the health insurance industry last year:
Lui was teasing an upcoming segment in which MSNBC anchor Chris Jansing would interview House Intelligence Committee chairman and former FBI agent Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Michigan) about what measures Congress could or should take to explore greater security measures for congressmen and/or gun control legislation.
"Every recent gun control law has passed after a high-profile shooting," Jansing noted before starting her interview with Rogers later that hour.
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.
Of all the utter hypocrisy currently being displayed by many of those on the left over the tragic Arizona shooting, it would be hard to exceed that of the notorious fraudster of the Democratic Underground best known to the outside world as the perpetrator of the 2006 Karl Rove indictment hoax.. William Rivers Pitt of TruthOut, with enormous chip on his shoulder, has climbed up on his DU soap box and self-righteously pointed his finger of blame directly at conservatives. Ironically, although Pitt blames conservatives for supposed political violence that led to the tragedy in Arizona, it is that same man recently chronicled here in NewsBusters for being caught in an act of plagiarism who himself has a history of posting violent fantasies on the Web. Just weeks prior to posting his "THE WRATH OF FOOLS: An Open Letter To the Far Right," Pitt posted these Hateful Days violent fantasies:
There is a great deal of hate in my heart today. . . . The hate is a free-flowing thing, expanding in all directions. . . . Sarah Palin. . . . George H. W. Bush. . . . makes me want to give up on this tepid reporting job and take up firebombing. . . . Yes, I hate, with depth and passion, and have much cause to do so.
NewsBusters has exhaustively documented the ways in which the liberal media and Dem politicians have sought to exploit the Arizona shootings, seeking to pin blame on a range of Republicans and conservative media figures.
It was thus nothing short of surreal to listen to MSNBC analyst Mark Halperin this morning. Surveying the situation, Halperin praised the media and politicians for their reaction to the shooting . . . while condemning Fox News and conservative pundits for treating the tragedy like "war and fodder for content."
When Joe Scarborough rightly suggested that Halperin had it backwards, the Time man wouldn't back down. View video after the jump.
In the aftermath of the senseless wounding of Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Democrat of Arizona, and the murder of six others, including U.S. District Judge John Roll and 9-year-old Christina Green, there will be many who will use this tragedy to advance their own political agendas.
Explanations will be sought and blame assigned. Necessary questions will be asked: Did the clerk at the Sportsman's Warehouse in Tucson violate any laws in selling the Glock 19 9mm gun to the accused, 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner? Loughner reportedly cleared an FBI background check. So why didn't that check discover what one Arizona official called Loughner's "mental issues" and should they have disqualified him from purchasing the weapon?
Appearing on Monday's "Morning Joe" on MSNBC, former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw praised Sheriff Dupnik of Pima County, Ariz. for condemning political vitriol, and wished more officials would follow suit. Dupnik, a Democrat, blamed violent political rhetoric in part for the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), and singled out conservatives Sarah Palin and Sharron Angle for instances of unacceptable hate speech.
Brokaw thought officials have been "timid" in their criticism of violent political speech, in the wake of Saturday's shooting. "The Pima County Sheriff is not," he continued. "He is speaking out, and too few others have because they're worried about retribution."
Brokaw added that officials are hesitant to condemn hate speech because they fear sharp backlash from the public via the internet. The press is partially responsible for that fear mongering, he opined. "They're worried about the internet being lit up against them. And that's something that those of us on this side of the camera also have to be thinking about and not just be feeding that," he preached.
Managing Editor's Note: Media Research Center President Brent Bozell issued the following statement after a thorough, two-day review of how the media have covered the tragic shooting in Arizona.
Implicating a conservative tie to this heinous act of violence or to Jared Lee Loughner, who is no conservative, is nothing short of a naked campaign to criminalize conservative thought.
Sadly, those who point their finger are at the nexus of hypocrisy. Take the unidentified “veteran Democratic strategist” who told Politico that, ‘they need to deftly pin this on the tea partiers … Just like the Clinton White House deftly pinned the Oklahoma City bombing on the militia and anti-government people.’
CNN International's Zain Verjee on Monday's Newsroom highlighted The Guardian's left-wing talking point that the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabby Giffords "points to the rise of political extremism in the United States." Verjee also bizarrely played up a post from al-Jazeera's website which speculated whether the U.S. would blame Islam for the shootings in Arizona [audio available here].
Anchor Kyra Phillips brought on the CNN International anchor 53 minutes into the 9 am Eastern hour to report on international reactions to the violence, and asked, "So, what are the headlines there, starting in Great Britain, Zain?"
Verjee launched right into The Guardian's headline as she held up a copy of the newspaper:
Although your humble correspondent has crossed swords (nanny note: "crossed swords" is strictly a metaphor) with the senior editor of the The New Republic in the past, he highly recommends Jonathan Chait's latest article in The New Republic, "The Arizona Shooting Is Not A Product Of Right-Wing Rage," as required reading for those members of the mainstream media who have blamed the "right-wing" for the shootings of Congresswoman Gabrille Giffords and others in Arizona on Saturday.
Despite the fact that most of Chait's article displayed some refreshing mental clarity I do have some caveats about it because he does revert to slamming conservatives for supposed extremism on other matters. However, those problems with the article aside for the moment, let us first take a look at Chait correctly chastising those quick to blame "right-wingers" for the Arizona shootings:
"I know how the "tea party' people feel, the anger, venom and bile that many of them showed during the recent House vote on health-care reform. I know because I want to spit on them, take one of their 'Obama Plan White Slavery' signs and knock every racist and homophobic tooth out of their Cro-Magnon heads."
Now that there's a tragedy to be exploited, Milloy today jumped aboard the media's bash-conservatives-for-coarsening-American-political-discussion bandwagon.
In doing so, Milloy didn't disappoint, turning up the nuttiness knob to 11 with his anti-conservative screed, comparing House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other conservative Republicans to bloodthirsty gangbangers who inspire violence without having to explicitly authorize it:
“The shooter’s motivation is still unknown,” Katie Couric announced as she anchored Saturday’s CBS Evening News, but that didn’t deter CBS, nor CNN, NBC and ABC on Saturday night and into Sunday morning from forwarding attempts to blame Sarah Palin and, by implication, the Tea Party, for the Tucson shooting.
“Giffords was one of 20 Democrats whose districts were lit up in cross hairs on a Sarah Palin campaign Web site last spring,” CBS’s Nancy Cordes declared in referring to a political map, adding that “Giffords and many others complained that someone unstable might act on that imagery.” Hours later on CNN, Jessica Yellin noted “we don't know the motive” before she proceeded to raise how “on Twitter and Facebook, there is a lot of talk, in particular, about Sarah Palin.” On Sunday’s Today, leading into a clip about Palin, NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell asserted: “Giffords, a conservative Democrat, was concerned about heated campaign rhetoric from the Tea Party.”
ABC connected Palin to the Wild West, as David Wright reported on This Week:
Congresswoman Gabby Giffords liked to joke that her district includes Tombstone and the OK Corral. Until yesterday morning, most people here would have said that rogue gunslingers were part of the distant past. On election night in November, 18 of the politicians in the crosshairs of Sarah Palin's political action committee lost, but not Gabby Giffords.
Audio:MP3 clip, matches 2:45 video below compilation of six soundbites.
Appearing as a guest on Saturday’s special edition of Countdown on MSNBC, Washington Post associate editor Eugene Robinson joined host Keith Olbermann in linking the violent attack on Democratic Representative Gabrielle Giffords to political rhetoric, presumably by conservatives, and suggested that such public figures must be careful to avoid inciting mentally disturbed individuals. Moments after noting comments by Pima County, Arizona, Sheriff Clarence Dupnik complaining about violent rhetoric on radio and television, Olbermann brought aboard Robinson for further discussion.
While Olbermann at one pointed noted that "We don't know enough about the motives of the man they have in custody," he later posed, "I've never been convinced still that most of the people saying these things actually want to see people shot. What, though, does that matter at this point if people are being shot? How straight a line does it have to be from the one to the other?"
Robinson asserted that "intent doesn’t obviate the crime," and linked political rhetoric to violence by the mentally ill with guns:
Well, I think this is a case in which intent doesn't obviate the crime. No, I think most of these people who say these violent sounding things about how evil your government is and what it's doing to you and who quote Thomas Jefferson about democracy needing to be watered by the blood of patriots and that sort of thing, I don't think they actually intend people to take this seriously, but it can and there are people who are unbalanced who have access to guns who do take it seriously, and we should know that by now.