MSNBC's Eugene Robinson Nails Perfect Double Standard on Blaming Partisans for Murders

December 23rd, 2014 3:30 PM

Congratulations to Washington Post columnist and MSNBC analyst Eugene Robinson for achieving a complete Double Standard in the game "Blood On Your Hands." In Tuesday’s newspaper, Robinson presented a column titled “Blood on whose hands? Protesters weren't the ones who gunned down two N.Y. police officers.” But on January 18, 2011, Robinson wrote an article titled "Palin's egocentric umbrage." Sarah Palin should shut up for a long time after being blamed by the media for the Gabby Giffords shooting:

In the spirit of civil discourse, I'd like to humbly suggest that Sarah Palin please consider being quiet for a while. Perhaps a great while.

At the risk of being bold, I might observe that her faux-presidential address about the Tucson massacre seemed to fall somewhat flat, drawing comparisons to the least attractive public moments of such figures as Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew. I could go so far as to observe that Palin almost seemed to portray herself as a collateral victim. Surely a former governor of Alaska - who served the better part of an entire term - would never seek to give the impression that she views any conceivable event, no matter how distant or tragic, as being All About Sarah.

Yet this is the unfortunate impression that Palin's videotaped peroration seems to have left. I am at a loss to recommend any course of corrective action other than an extended period of abstinence from Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites....

In her statement, Palin gave the impression of being appalled that journalists mentioned the cross-hairs graphic in the hours after the rampage in Tucson. She singled out reporters and pundits, not political activists who might bear partisan animus. Surely she must have anticipated that viewers who recall her course of collegiate study - journalism - would be baffled at this reaction.

In the days since, we have learned that the alleged gunman, Jared Lee Loughner, appears to be an unbalanced young man whose political views are confused and perhaps irrelevant. But at the time, nothing was known about the assailant or his motives. I am confident that at least one of Palin's professors must have taught her that in reporting about a shooting, the fact that the principal target felt threatened is highly relevant information, as is the specific nature of that threat.

It is also relevant that most of the violent political rhetoric that blights the public discourse is emanating from the far right - a constituency for which Palin speaks, often so colorfully. In the 1960s and '70s, this was not the case; anti-government invective and unsettling talk of "revolution" came primarily from the far left. Palin is perhaps too young to remember that era, but as a student of history she must have read about it - and must recognize the contrast between then and now.

For her to take such umbrage, then, at the reporting of evident, pertinent and factual information deepened the impression that she is - and I must be frank - astoundingly thin-skinned and egocentric.

The way Palin portrayed herself as not only a popular champion but also a martyr reminded me - not for the first time - of Eva Peron. If she chooses this unpromising route to higher political office, I suggest she find a suitable balcony from which to deliver her next address to the nation.

Or perhaps - solely in the interest of civil discourse -- that there be no next address.

Sarah Palin: Please shut up forever.

It would be refreshing if the cop-killing in New York would help liberal journalists realize the conservative point: blame a murder first on the murderer. To blame a "climate of rhetoric" for pulling a trigger is more of a left-wing game.

The media, which largely majored in journalism, clearly understands that its reporting can move opinions, and that includes the crazier among the opinionated. So playing "Blood On Your Hands" over a climate of rhetoric might not be a smart play for the Sharptons and the Eugene Robinsons or the liberal media in general.

Here's how Robinson began Tuesday's column, in a pitch-perfect demonstration of hypocrisy:

It is absurd to have to say this, but New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, activist Al Sharpton and President Obama are in no way responsible for the coldblooded assassination of two police officers in Brooklyn on Saturday. [None of them remind Gene of South American despots, and none of them need to shut up.] Nor do the tens of thousands of Americans who have demonstrated against police brutality in recent weeks bear any measure of blame.

A disturbed career criminal named Ismaaiyl Brinsley committed this unspeakable atrocity by himself, amid a spree of insane mayhem: Earlier in the day, he shot and critically wounded a woman he had been seeing; later, on a subway platform, he shot and killed himself.

Brinsley’s reported claim to be acting in some warped sense of revenge for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner was delusional and illegitimate. Reasonable people understand this, of course. But we live in unreasonable times....

The demonstrations sparked by the exoneration of the officers who killed Brown and Garner were pro-accountability, not anti-police....It should be obvious that hating perceived injustice is not the same thing as hating the police.

Like Loughner, Brinsley had a screw loose. But unlike Lougher, Brinsley clearly identified himself with police "accountability" movements for Brown and Garner and in dramatic hostility to the police in general.

Robinson concluded; “I don’t know the right way to make sense of such depravity. But I am certain that the way not to make sense of it is to blame nonviolent protesters, exercising their constitutional rights of assembly and speech, for the acts of a deranged killer.”

Dear Eugene: This column is a little short. It should include an apology for his blaming nonviolent Sarah Palin for exercising her constitutional right to speak, which he insisted should be squelched for all time.