Tucker Carlson and Howard Kurtz on How the AZ Tragedy Has Been Exploited

Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel, the head honchos of The Daily Caller, have a great analysis piece up on their website examining how some have expolited the tragedy in Arizona for political reasons.  Here’s a preview:

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was still in the operating room when the professional Left began to leverage her shooting for political purposes. Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos blamed Sarah Palin. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann wagged a finger at a long list of high-profile conservatives, ranging from newly-elected Florida Congressman Allen West to Glenn Beck. Gifford’s own father suggested “the whole Tea Party” might be suspects in the shootings.

It’s easy to understand a father’s overwrought reaction. It’s harder to forgive demagogues like Clarence Dupnik, the sheriff of Pima County, Ariz., and an elected Democrat, who at a weekend press conference declared anyone with libertarian tendencies complicit in the shootings: “When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government — the anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous.”

Later in their piece, Tucker and Neil explain that some Democrats are using this tragedy to push gun control and anti-free speech legislation.  I encourage you to read the whole thing.
It is disgusting that anyone would exploit this situation for political purposes.  Meanwhile, MoveOn.org is using this tragedy to condemn right-wing rhetoric, despite its history of using vitriolic and hyperbolic language:

“In the wake of the mass shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others in Tucson, we must end the violent rhetoric that has exploded in American politics over the past two years,” MoveOn’s website states. “That’s why we’re calling on every member of Congress, as well as the major TV news networks, to put an end to overt and implied appeals to violence in our political debate. A compiled petition with your individual comment will be presented to Congress and the major TV news networks.”

MoveOn seems to have forgotten the hate campaigns and vitriolic language it and its members have used. Though its website states that “violent rhetoric” has taken over American politics in the “past two years,” MoveOn has been engaging in such rhetoric for much longer.

Just last year, one of MoveOn’s members choked a Tea Partier at a political event in Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’s district during midterm election campaigning. Republicorps and MoveOn member Fred Highton told The Daily Caller in October that he regretted initiating a physical altercation with a conservative Tea Partier at that political event at the University of Arizona.

Also, MoveOn sponsored an advertisement in 2003 that compared then President George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler. Over reddened footage of Hitler and Nazi troops marching, the MoveOn advertisement reads, “A nation warped by lies, lies fuel fear, fear fuels aggression, invasion, occupation. What were war crimes in 1945, is foreign policy in 2003.” 

Though no tie between accused gunman Jared Lee Loughner and either conservative or liberal talk radio or news media has been established, some left-leaning groups like MoveOn are trying to tie the Tea Party movement and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to his horrendous act of violence. The left-wing groups’ attacks appear to be gaining traction, as mainstream news anchors and figures have started picking up on the narrative. 

Some of those mainstream media figures include well-respected columnists like Paul Krugman, who should know better.  Luckily, some media figures, but not many, have been cautious:

CBS News reported that, though it’s still unsure what the motives of Loughner were, “critics of Sarah Palin have already drawn a link between the shooting and the fact that the former Alaska governor put Giffords on a ‘target list’ of lawmakers Palin wanted to see unseated in the midterm elections.”

Keith Olbermann blamed Palin, newly elected Florida Republican Congressman Allen West, Senate candidate Sharron Angle, Giffords’s opponent Jesse Kelly, Fox News personalities Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly, and the Tea Party movement as a whole for the shooting in his Special Comment on Saturday night.

But, some media figures warned against jumping on that bandwagon — MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow advised against political speculation.

“There is nothing to be gained from speculating on the motives and affiliations of AZ shooter w/o facts,” Maddow tweeted.

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer also advised against jumping to conclusions, adding that Loughner could be a “lunatic” from either side.

“We don’t know if he’s from the lunatic left or the lunatic right,” Blitzer said. “We just see his crazy words.”

The Daily Beast’s Howard Kurtz did a great job shooting down the media speculation, writing:

And here we go again in Arizona, as people with political agendas unleash their attacks even before the victims of this senseless shooting have been buried. I find it depressing beyond belief.

This isn’t about a nearly year-old Sarah Palin map; it’s about a lone nutjob who doesn’t value human life. It would be nice if we briefly put aside partisan differences and came together with sympathy and support for Gabby Giffords and the other victims, rather than opening rhetorical fire ourselves.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.  This is a time for unity, not division.  I wish blowhards like Keith Olbermann would realize that.


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