Let’s Put Political Correctness in the Crosshairs

In the wake of the Tuscon shooting, we were told to watch our language, despite the fact that heated rhetoric had nothing to do with the massacre.  CNN’s John King has taken this political correctness too far, apologizing after a guest used the word “crosshairs” to describe the Chicago mayoral race.

Here’s the video:  http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/01/18/cnn_apologizes_for_guest_using_term_crosshairs.html

Here’s the quote:

“Before we go to break, I want to make a quick point. We were having a discussion about the Chicago mayoral race. My friend Andy Shaw used the term ‘in the crosshairs’ in talking about the candidates. We’re trying, we’re trying to get away from that language. Andy is a good friend, he’s covered politics for a long time, but we’re trying to get away from that kind of language.”

What!?  This whole situation is just pathetic.  Language like this has been used in politics for centuries.  Meanwhile, as Byron York points out, CNN has used that term in the past to describe political situations:

Now, King says, CNN is “trying to get away” from such terms, suggesting that in the wake of the Tucson shootings, such language should no longer be part of the public conversation.  But if Palin is to blame for using crosshairs in her much-discussed map, then CNN, by its own use of the allegedly inflammatory term “crosshairs,” might also share some blame for creating the atmosphere that led to the violence in Arizona.  A look at transcripts of CNN programs in the month leading up to the shootings shows that the network was filled with references to “crosshairs” — and once even used the term to suggest the targeting of Palin herself. Some examples:

“Palin’s moose-hunting episode on her reality show enraged People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and now, she’s square in the crosshairs of big time Hollywood producer, Aaron Sorkin,” reported A.J. Hammer of CNN’s Headline News on December 8.

“Companies like MasterCard are in the crosshairs for cutting ties with WikiLeaks,” said CNN Kiran Chetry in a December 9 report.

“Thousands of people living in areas that are in the crosshairs have been told to evacuate,” Chetry said in a December 21 report on flooding in California.

“He’s in their crosshairs,” said a guest in a December 21 CNN discussion of suspects in a missing-person case.

“This will be the first time your food will be actually in the crosshairs of the FDA,” business reporter Christine Romans said on December 22.

“The U.S. commander in the East has Haqqani in his crosshairs,” CNN’s Barbara Starr reported on December 28, referring to an Afghan warlord.

“We know that health care reform is in the crosshairs again,” CNN’s Joe Johns reported on January 3.

Seven uses of “crosshairs” in just the month before the Tucson attacks, and just one of them referring to an actual wartime situation.  And one reference to Sarah Palin herself as being in “crosshairs.”

There is nothing wrong with using the term “crosshairs.”  But it is wrong for CNN to be such a hypocritical news outlet.
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