After the mass shooting in Tucson of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a federal judge, and other bystanders, President Obama gave one of those unite-the-divide speeches that give journalists leg thrills. We need to “sharpen our instincts for empathy,” he said.
He lamented political finger-pointing: “It's important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.” The initial speculation was that conservatives were responsible for the Tucson horror. Even after this proved to be false, the attacks were relentless, with a barrage of media reports on the alleged excesses and mean-spiritedness of the Tea Party and all things right of center.
On Wednesday afternoon's Talk of the Nation on National Public Radio, NPR political director Ken Rudin told host Neal Conan that of course, President Obama was "exactly right" in his El Paso speech to say Republicans are never satisfied on immigration, and want a moat with alligators in it:
CONAN: And this is not likely to pass as a piece of legislation but likely to be pretty effective as a piece of campaign rhetoric.
RUDIN: Well, remember, every moat counts. We always say that in November. But actually, that also was a very good Boehner impersonation.
While the big liberal media usually find it hard to skip any news related to the Kennedy family, ABC, CBS and NBC breathed not a word about Saturday’s 40th anniversary of Chappaquiddick. On the night of July 18, 1969, Senator Edward Kennedy left a party with 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne and later drove off a bridge. Kennedy left the scene with Kopechne still in the submerged vehicle; he did not call the police until the following morning.
The Saturday and Sunday New York Times and Washington Post also had nothing about Chappaquiddick. Several newspapers did carry a brief, if inadvertent, mention, since on Saturday the Associated Press made it the day’s “Highlight in History” in their re-cap of big news events that happened on a July 18, beating out the start of the Great Fire of Rome in A.D. 64 and the death of naval hero John Paul Jones in 1792.