Yet another poll released Thursday by USA Today suggests that the American public has not bought into the media's ridiculous spin on Saturday's Tucson massacre.
According to the poll, conducted by Gallup, a majority of Americans think that attempts to link Saturday's shooting to conservative political rhetoric amount to "An attempt to make conservatives look bad." Only about a third of respondents said it was a "legitimate point."
While self-identified Democrats were predictably more likely to say blaming rhetoric from the right is a legitimate argument, a full third of Democrats agreed that it was just a partisan stunt.
Also surprising, given the media's constant anti-Tea Party drumbeat: respondents do not think the Tea Party is any more responsible for the vitriolic tone of the national debate than either of the major political parties. Fifty-three percent said the GOP has gone too far in the use of its rhetoric. Fifty-one percent said the same about the Democratic Party. But only 49 percent said Tea Party rhetoric was too inflammatory. The difference is statistically insignificant, but runs counter to the usual media refrain that the Tea Party is uniquely vitriolic or violent in its rhetoric.
The mainstream press has also turned to a familiar culprit for the shooting: the lack of restrictive gun laws. But the public rejects that line as well, according to the poll. Only 20 percent said they thought stricter gun laws would have prevented the tragedy. Seventy-two percent said they didn't think those laws would have prevented it.
Gallup sums up the poll's findings thusly:
Americans generally believe that the political language used in this country on all sides has become too heated, but stop short of identifying it as a major cause of the recent shooting of a Democratic congresswoman and some of her constituents. Americans also do not see weak gun laws as a major contributing factor. Though the poll did not ask about it specifically, these attitudes suggest Americans may be laying responsibility for the shootings squarely on the alleged killer, perhaps due to his reported psychological problems, rather than on larger societal factors.
And all this despite this week's constant media refrain that such language was clearly a factor in Jared Lee Loughner's homicidal calculus. Add to Gallup's summary the fact that Americans recognize blame hurled at conservative rhetoric as baseless and partisan in nature, and it seems the media has, in this instance, failed to get Americans on board with their agenda.