My Solution For “Irresponsible” Rhetoric

This whole attempt by the Left to pin the Arizona shooting on Sarah Palin really doesn’t surprise me. Given their outright hatred of her, I suppose it was only a matter of time before they tried to accuse her murder (special shout-out to Paul Krugman). However, Rush Limbaugh also appears to have been involved. According to Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, Limbaugh “attacks people, angers them against government, angers them against elected officials and that kind of behavior… is not without consequences.” Ignoring Dupnik’s rather obvious rip-off of Bill Clinton’s attempt to pin the Oklahoma City bombing on Limbaugh and ignoring the fact that no evidence exists to support such an assertion, that got me thinking.

I do believe that we are approaching this all the wrong way. Operating under the assumption that Krugman and Dupnik are right on this (i.e. Limbaugh and Palin cause acts of political violence), the Left thinks these acts of violence can be solved by silencing the Right. Given their very obvious failure to silence people like Limbaugh and Palin, I think the Left should engage in some self-censorship. Because if people like Krugman and Dupnik just shut up and went home to hide in their basements, Limbaugh and Palin would not have anyone to criticize. And if there was no one to criticize, to whom could Limbaugh and Palin direct their “irresponsible vitriol”? Since the Right is obviously too immature to engage in such self-censorship, the Left should take the moral high ground and just cede the country to the Right. There would be no more vitriol, no more political extremism, and no more political violence. As an added plus, the United States would also experience full-employment and unprecedented GDP growth. So the direction for the Left is clear: shut up and go home.

23 thoughts on “My Solution For “Irresponsible” Rhetoric

  1. The hypocrisy surrounding this situation is absolutely astounding. When the Fort Hood shooting happened in Texas, the left immediately told everyone not to jump to conclusions or make quick judgments. Now, common sense would have told us that Hasan probably had been influenced by radical Islamic leaders here in the US or abroad. Although there may not have been concrete evidence for the linkage, the case could have easily been made. However, there were no rushes to judgment, and Hasan got his fair hearing in the media.

    Fast forward to the present, where it took only a matter of minutes for the bomb-throwers at MSNBC and the NYT started placing the blame on conservatives–with absolutely no evidence whatsoever! Sheriff Dupnik, NYT's Krugman, Keith Olberman, and a host of others on the left immediately began to exploit this tragedy to attempt to smear Beck, Limbaugh, and other conservatives, almost making the case that they were an accessory to the crime.

    Rep. Jim Clyburn from SC has even went as far as saying we should consider reinstating the fairness doctrine, using this tragedy to push his desire to end conservative voices on talk radio and other media outlets. I believe the majority of the American people have seen through this pathetic attempt by the left to exploit this tragedy in order to silence the right and save their dying progressive agenda, and I hope fair-minded liberals will refrain from jumping on this bandwagon.

  2. Palin's comments on the matter have been typically moronic. Her misuse of the term "blood libel" while threatening further violence against those who criticize her and her allies was jaw-dropping, to say the least.

    The liberal focus on her gun-sight imagery and blustering, juvenile gun-talk is overly simplistic in its analysis, but it is difficult to ignore the fact that the right wing has thrived for decades on violent, eliminationist rhetoric. I don't see any contradiction between pointing out that fact while at the same time defending the right to free speech. If the right wing wishes to continue to elevate people like Beck / Coulter / Limbaugh / etc. to leadership positions, then they're going to get the kind of crude, paranoid and violent ranting that is their specialty. You don't see Michael Moore or Nancy Pelosi talking about shooting conservatives or blowing up Fox News or killing Boehner with a shovel, yet that sort of thing seems de rigeur on the right.

    1. On blood libel: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703

      Also, do you have any evidence that conservative media thrives on eliminationist rhetoric? More importantly, have you ever spent any time listening to any of these commentators you criticize, or are you just relying on Media Matters for your opinions? Because, last time I checked, the Beck/Coulter/Limbaugh group has not called for the murder of anyone, as you claim.

      1. You didn't really check, did you? Their penchant for violent fantasies and imagery is pretty widely documented. Here are a few examples. Beck famously said he'd like to beat Charlie Rangel to death with a shovel, fantasized about poisoning Nancy Pelosi's wine, and regularly talks about the threat of mass killings of US citizens by the US government, and he recently removed from his website a picture of himself brandishing a pistol. Coulter said she'd like to blow up the New York Times building and joked about poisoning Justice Stevens. Limbaugh fantasizes about a military coup against the Obama administration and about government plots to engage in mass murder, and he just took down a billboard for his show in Tucson that was decorated with enormous bullet holes. It's all pretty childish, isn't it? I really have no problem with violent imagery, but when it's repeatedly used like this by people in positions of influence and authority to attack, denigrate and lie about their political opponents, then it's important to point out that they are bad people. I mean, who says stupid shit like that, besides the putative leaders of the modern conservative movement?

      2. I think some links might be helpful here. So far, the only places that I can find that authenticate your stories are left-wing blogs (mostly DailyKos and Democratic Underground). So, you'll have to forgive me if I greet those sources with some skepticism. While I'm more familiar with some of these commentators than others, I know for a fact that Rush Limbaugh posts full transcripts of his show online everyday, so if these things were indeed said (and not taken out of context), it shouldn't be too hard to prove it.

      3. So, if Media Matters reports that a right-wing blowhard media figure says "X" — you think they're making it up and doctoring their audio clips? It's really not hard to verify that Beck and friends regularly employ violent rhetoric. Try Lexis/Nexis if left-wing blogs make you uncomfortable.

      4. I'd say that about sums it up. I don't have any reason to believe that Media Matters, Daily Kos, or Democratic Underground are reliable media sources. Also, the burden of proof is on you. I'm not going to go scouring the internet to try to prove your point.

      5. Have you ever actually looked at Media Matters' work? All they do is quote mainstream conservatives (in text / audio / video clips) making false and/or crazy statements. I've heard of people denying that they said what they said (Beck and O'Reilly, for example, frequently lie about their past statements) but I'm not aware of any allegations that they doctor the quotes or clips that they publish.

        Why I'm bothering to look these up I don't know, it's not like you're going to change your mind no matter how much evidence you're presented with. You believe Glenn Beck to be a godly, rational, well-meaning person; I believe him to be a malignant millionaire narcissist nutcase who exemplifies the worst of America.

        Here's a cite for Beck's fantasies about killing against Pelosi and Rangel:
        "Being Glenn Beck" NYT October 3, 2010 pg. 34
        The original program in which he talked about kiling Rangel with a shovel (complete with sound effects) aired March 9, 2001, there's an audio clip online but it's hosted at a liberal website.
        The "poison Pelosi's wine" show aired on Aug 6, 2009
        Can't find a date for the "strangle Michael Moore" show but it's widely quoted.
        Ann Coulter on blowing up the New York Times, quoted in the August 26, 2002, New York Observer.

        Listen to Beck or Limbaugh any day of the week and tell me you don't hear someone fantasizing about killing liberals, or about being killed or put in camps or having their guns taken away by liberals.

      6. Here's another good one, this time from Fox's own transcript. "You're going to have to shoot them in the head" says Beck. Who are you going to have to shoot in the head? You know, Communists, people like Nancy Pelosi.

        This episode of his show was cited by wannabe mass murderer Byron Williams, the man who set out with a small arsenal to kill people at the Tides Foundation in San Francisco. One nutcase speaks to another:
        http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,594343,00.htm

        Tea parties believe in small government. We believe in returning to the principles of our Founding Fathers. We respect them. We revere them. Shoot me in the head before I stop talking about the Founders. Shoot me in the head if you try to change our government.

        I will stand against you and so will millions of others. We believe in something. You in the media and most in Washington don't. The radicals that you and Washington have co-opted and brought in wearing sheep's clothing — change the pose. You will get the ends.

        You've been using them? They believe in communism. They believe and have called for a revolution. You're going to have to shoot them in the head. But warning, they may shoot you.

        They are dangerous because they believe. Karl Marx is their George Washington. You will never change their mind. And if they feel you have lied to them — they're revolutionaries. Nancy Pelosi, those are the people you should be worried about.

      7. I'm sure you're perfectly willing to excuse DailyKos's “bulls eye” and “narrow the target list” comments, and Rep. Cohen's comparison of Republicans to Nazis.

      8. If the mainstream media was as full of violent rhetoric and gun-talk from prominent left-wing figures as it is with right-wing blowhards and armchair warriors, you might have a point.

        Wake me up the next time Noam Chomsky is on TV talking about "2nd amendment remedies" when universal health care fails to pass Congress.

      9. Nor do you see Michael Moore repeatedly attacking a 78-year old conservative professor for something she wrote 40 years ago, resulting in death threats against her. (contra Beck's recent attacks on Frances Fox Piven)

      10. Nor is any leftist commentator who works for CNN blogging about "mass bloodshed" if leftist policy goals are not met (contra Erick Erickson, who recently suggested that would be the reaction if the Supreme Court failed to overturn Roe v Wade).

        Of course this is all belaying the obvious point that leftist opinion barely registers at CNN, or any other mainstream media outlet, while right wing opinion is wildly over-represented. If there was parity maybe you'd see more crazy lefties saying crazy things on the teevee.

      11. If you can't differentiate between "the left" making a movie and "the right" having a perpetual public temper tantrum, threatening mass bloodshed and inducing death threats against a 78-year old woman — then I'm not sure what you're doing in college.

      12. Ah, so the Left can incite violence, while the Right can't use heavily toned-downed versions of the Left's violent military imagery / references to bygone socialist organizations (Steve Cohen) to engage in political rhetoric. Hypocrisy…

      13. You just defended a movie depicting the assassination of an American president on the grounds that the Left made the movie. I'd say it's you who is not capable of arguing the point.

      14. I'm not defending the movie on any grounds, it requires no defense. I'm saying that your attempt to invoke some sort of equivalence between an obscure movie and the violent rhetoric employed by the right-wing celebrity blowhards who have a daily national audience of millions is risible — laughable — ridiculous. As is your half-hearted reference to Nazis as a "bygone socialist organization."

        Limbaugh and Beck are the defacto leaders of the GOP. No GOP elected official dares to say anything bad about them. There is no equivalent on the left, no left-wing demagogues have that kind of national reach or command that kind of respect from Dem lawmakers. Dems delight in snubbing the far left wing of the party (such as it is — most people on the far left are not going to call themselves Democrats) — while the GOP embraces its far-right wing.

      15. Also, regarding the WSJ editorial by Rabbi Boteach — it's nice that they were able to find a rabbi to defend Palin, but they forgot to mention that they selected the author of such books as Kosher Sex, Dating Secrets of the Ten Commandments, and The Michael Jackson Tapes: A Tragic Icon Reveals His Soul in Intimate Conversation. Before his bold attempt to make something meaningful out of Palin's crude comments, Boteach was best known for his defense of Michael Jackson from charges of anti-semitism, as Jackson had expressed admiration for Hitler and said bad things abut "the Jews" in interviews.

        And, Brandon Hartness' claim that "there were no rushes to judgment" after the Ft. Hood shootings is plainly false. Fox News and other right-wing media outlets wasted no time in calling Hasan a terrorist, blaming Islam, Obama, "political correctness" and liberals for the shootings, and calling for all Muslim soldiers to be interrogated.

      16. I didn't notice that he brought up any points worth discussing, and I believe it's germane to mention that Rabbi Boteach has made it his calling to defend celebrities who are accused of anti-semitism. Is it blood libel to simply point out that mainstream conservative political rhetoric is often fraught with the same violence and gun talk as that of the far right? Giffords herself called out Palin for her gun sight imagery and violent rhetoric — does that make her guilty of blood libel as well? Palin could have offered her deepest regrets and apologies and moved on, but her mania for victimhood and the media spotlight got the best of her, as usual. It's no wonder she's such an unpopular figure.

        In any case, I agree that while there is correlation, there's scant evidence of causation here. Giffords was subjected to threats and vandalism during the GOP freakout over the healthcare debate, but there's no clear line to be drawn from violent conservative rhetoric to Loughner's actions — unlike some previous cases, such as Byron Williams, who was clearly inspired by Glenn Beck to try to carry out a mass murder at the Tides Foundation.

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