More on Violence And Right Wing Rhetoric

Despite all the evidence to the contrary, conservatives who fail to understand the arguments from liberals about right wing hate speech act as if Jared Loughner lived in a vacuum and acted with absolutely no external influences. This is despite multiple reports indicating Loughner’s interest in fringe politics. NewsOne reports on yet another connection, alleging that Loughner is a fan of right winger Alex Jones.

I find it curious that conservatives have been attacking liberals this week who have expressed concern about speech and internet postings which could inspire violence. They apparently see nothing wrong with this, but many of the same conservatives went ballistic over a joke  by David Letterman a couple of years ago (which they proceeded to distort in their attacks on Letterman). Certainly calling on supporters to “reload” while linking to a picture of members of Congress in crosshairs is of greater concern than a late night comic’s joke, even if the claims conservatives made about it had been true.

Of course this problem is not limited to Sarah (Reload) Palin. There’s Sharon Angle and her calls for “Second Amendment” remedies, Glenn Beck who holds a gun in one picture while opposing violence on an adjacent portion of his web site, and many other conservatives. Andrew Sullivan points out this billboard advertising Rush Limbaugh’s show right in Tuscon:

Liberals are not saying that Palin, Angle, Beck, or Limbaugh is directly responsible for the recent shootings, regardless of how often conservatives make this claim. We are saying that their conduct is, at very least, far worse than jokes from David Letterman, comments from the Dixie Chicks, and many other items which the right wing regularly goes berserk about–and actually does contribute to acts of violence. We have yet another example today of right wing violence with an arrest for threatening a member of Congress.

Other than distorting the argument to falsely claim that liberals are directly blaming Palin for the shooting, the other common bogus argument from the right is to claim that the poisonous atmosphere is not being created by conservatives. They claim that liberals do the same. I already responded to this claim in this post, but their is another quote from George Packer which deserves to be added to those in the previous post:

But it won’t do to dig up stray comments by Obama, Allen Grayson, or any other Democrat who used metaphors of combat over the past few years, and then try to claim some balance of responsibility in the implied violence of current American politics. (Most of the Obama quotes that appear in the comments were lame attempts to reassure his base that he can get mad and fight back, i.e., signs that he’s practically incapable of personal aggression in politics.) In fact, there is no balance—none whatsoever. Only one side has made the rhetoric of armed revolt against an oppressive tyranny the guiding spirit of its grassroots movement and its midterm campaign. Only one side routinely invokes the Second Amendment as a form of swagger and intimidation, not-so-coyly conflating rights with threats. Only one side’s activists bring guns to democratic political gatherings. Only one side has a popular national TV host who uses his platform to indoctrinate viewers in the conviction that the President is an alien, totalitarian menace to the country. Only one side fills the AM waves with rage and incendiary falsehoods. Only one side has an iconic leader, with a devoted grassroots following, who can’t stop using violent imagery and dividing her countrymen into us and them, real and fake. Any sentient American knows which side that is; to argue otherwise is disingenuous.

Sarah Palin, incidentally, who regularly dodges the media due to an inability to answer questions, has agreed to a television interview. It is to be conducted by Sean Hannity–hardly a challenge for Palin.

Quote of the Day

“Last night was possibly the last show ever of ‘Sarah Palin’s Alaska,’ for several reasons. She might run for President and would have to abide by the equal time rules. Also, she just likes to quit things.” –Jimmy Kimmel

Bonus Quote:

“Sad news. It looks like ‘Sarah Palin’s Alaska’ won’t be back for a second year. How does that make her feel? She was governor, almost vice president. She gets one year. Snooki’s on her third year.” –Jay Leno