It’s early yet, and in fairness, I can’t say for certain that all the conservative talk radio hosts will be echoing what I’ve heard today from two of them, but if someone offers you that bet, take it. I get to monitor the Right’s talkers when I’m driving around, which is too often, and I will usually get to sample the day’s rantings from Chis Plante, Laura Ingraham, Rush, Hannity, Mark Levin, and when my gag reflex is under control, Michael Savage. Except for Savage, who resides on his own, hateful planet, the others seem to operate off of common talking points, usually cribbed from the Drudge Report. Based on what I heard on Plante’s and Ingraham’s shows, today’s prime topic is yesterday’s shooting at the headquarters of the Family Research Council, and specifically 1) how the media is downplaying it because a conservative group was the target, 2) how nobody is blaming inflammatory anti-conservative rhetoric for the shooting, in contrast to the media reaction to the Tuscon shooting and the recent massacre in the Sikh temple, and 3) how the media should be.
When Arizona Congresswoman Gaby Giffords was wounded and others killed in Jared Lee Loughner’s crazed rampage, fair journalists and rightward commentators condemned the efforts by the likes of the New York Times, its columnist Paul Krugman, the gang at MSNBC and others to blame the shooting on supposed “extreme rhetoric” by such conservatives as Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh. They were correct to condemn them. The liberal attempts to tie a madman’s actions to conservative political speech was the ultimate cheap shot, logically indefensible and a transparent attempt to chill political debate unfriendly to liberal causes and leaders. This became obvious in the coming months, as various Democrats and liberal commentators did nothing to moderate their own provocative and violent rhetoric, making it quite clear that a double standard was in place, and the mainstream media was enforcing it.
The nonsense has been repeated at a lower volume in the wake of the Sikh temple mass murder this month. Earlier, ABC newsman Brian Ross attempted to link the Tea Party to the Aurora “Batman” shooting. Yes, the tactic of trying to blame the conduct of lunatics on political discourse from the Right is deceptive, dishonest, unfair, and an attempt to muzzle legitimate political speech. The conservative talk shows and media were and are correct to cry foul, and it is an indictment of the rest of the media that they don’t have more support.
Now, however, since an apparent left-wing nut carrying a Chic-fil-A bag attempted to shoot up a conservative lobbying group that opposes gay marriage, the conservative yakkers are demanding their own cheap shots:
Why isn’t the media making as big a story over a shooting when the target is a conservative group?, demanded DC conservative motor-mouth Chris Plante?
Well, Chris, I think the fact that nobody was actually killed has a lot to do with it.
And why aren’t the columnists and talking heads and liberal bloggers claiming that anti-conservative and hateful rhetoric from the likes of Rahm Emanuel and Chris Matthews didn’t set the alleged shooter on his murderous path?, asked Tammy Bruce, sitting in for vacationing host Laura Ingraham. (Having the hysterical Bruce take over for Ingraham is roughly equivalent to replacing Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show” with Gallagher…but I digress.)
Well, because it’s unfair, illogical and stupid, as you have told us many times.
Because we know that these incidents ARE fueled by the hateful rhetoric of the Left, and it’s time we stopped letting the media pretend it isn’t!, said both Plante and Bruce, over and over and over again.
After complaining bitterly about liberal, Democratic and media critics using unrelated violence from maniacs to vilify the Right, now conservative talk radio is outraged that the media isn’t doing the same outrageous thing to the LEFT? “This was terrible and unfair…now do it to the other guy!” What??
I know that Emerson said that a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, but total and shameless inconsistency is the mark of a damaged mind. If it is wrong to tie conservative political speech to violent incidents, it is wrong to tie liberal political speech to violent incidents. If the conservative talk show hosts want to point out that the media doesn’t leap to condemn extreme rhetoric as a catalyst for violence when the shooters are liberals, fine, fair point: the news media is biased, and employ double standards. Arguing, however, that the media should implicate liberal political speech represents the depths of hypocrisy, and essentially validates an unethical political tactic. Plante and Bruce (and, I’m betting, Rush and the rest) are making it clear that tying adversaries to ugly and violent acts is only reprehensible in their eyes when the other side does it.
Wrong. It is reprehensible, period.
Spark: Chris Plante, Tammy Bruce
Graphic: Jefferson’s Wave
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