The press is convinced that conservatives do not like them because of conjured up, imaginary reasons. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
This past week, the press gave us yet another example of why conservatives have legitimate reason to hate them.
Monday, one of the best media critics in America, Howard Kurtz, wrote a column at CNN.com about conservatives blaming the liberal media for the nut in California. His column included this:
Now it’s true that some on the left tried to tar Palin when Jared Loughner opened fire in a Phoenix shopping center, killing six people and wounding Gabby Giffords. Palin’s team had posted a map with crosshair targets representing Democratic lawmakers, including Giffords, that she was singling out for defeat in the 2010 midterms.
Note the use of the word “some.”
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Senate Democrats, please listen carefully to the New York Times
Why were two famous journalists so derelict in their duties this week?
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In fact, it was a wide ranging opinion expressed in the media that “tea party rhetoric” was probably to blame. Even after it became clear Jared Loughner was just a nut with no political agenda, as Kurtz himself noted, the media spent a lot of time wringing its hands over the tea party rhetoric.
ABC News noted the Palin campaign graphic dominated the debate on what happened.
Jane Fonda was out blaming Palin, Beck, and every other conservative.
Piers Morgan on CNN, months after the horrific incident, was still mad Sarah Palin hadn’t apologized.
Marty Kaplan, a USC Annenberg School Professor, blamed the rhetoric for creating a hostile environment. The rhetoric he blamed, of course, was from the tea party movement.
Paul Krugman claimed http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/08/assassination-attempt-in-arizona/ the tea party had created a “climate of hate.”
Congressman Raul Grijalva did an interview with Mother Jones in which he said Sarah Palin and the tea party fostered a “climate of extremism.”
The news pages — not the opinion pages — of the Los Angeles Times “reported” Loughner’s ramblings were rooted in the far right. http://reason.com/blog/2011/01/12/la-times-loughners-ramblings-a
The Southern Poverty Law Center got in on the act as well.
I myself had to be on CNN after the incident and had several debates where I was asked if I thought the tea party rhetoric contributed to the shooting. In one with Cornell Belcher, he was irate that I’d dare to even equate tea party rhetoric with that of the left from the Bush years. Reporters off air accepted as fact that the tea party movement had whipped up hate.
One news story even before the Giffords shooting profiled several Democrats in Congress who had experienced hostile incidents in their offices related to their support for Obamacare, but ignored similar acts happening at the same time to Congressional opponents of Obamacare.
Fast forward to last week.
Floyd Corkins admitted he went to the Family Research Council to kill employees and smear Chick-Fil-A sandwiches in their faces. He was only able to shoot a guard.
In the hearing of last week, prosecutors said Floyd Corkins obtained his list of targets from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s website.
The Southern Poverty Law Center categorized the Family Research Council as a hate group because of its opposition to gay marriage and the gay rights movement.
National media outlets, including CNN, have often used the Southern Poverty Law Center as objective commentators about hate groups, etc. Its classification of the Family Research Council as a hate group directly led to the FRC being targeted by a killer.
The media took a pass on this story. I have no doubt much of the press corp will continue to report on the Southern Poverty Law Center as if it is an objective source of information.
Mark Potock of the Southern Poverty Law Center appeared on MSNBC a few days after the Gabrielle Giffords shooting. In his interview with Keith Olbermann, Olbermann asked, “If the person is indeed disturbed does that, in your view, exonerate those who put the crosshairs on Ms. Giffords, those who use language demonizing liberals or democrats, or just leaving the poli— the party out of it, people in office, incumbents, or does it simply underscore why such language no matter what direction it is pointed in is so ill advised.”
Mark Potock of the SPLC responded
I think the latter. I think there is no exoneration for the people talk about, you know who make these, who… make these kinds of falsehoods on the air and the public squares all over this country. The people who say it is not about healthcare it, its about the President wanting to kill your grandmother. You know, its not about immigration reform, its about a secret plot on the part of mexico to reconquer the southwestern united states. And on and on and on. While the people who make those statements obviously do not intend directly for people to be harmed or murdered, I think it is entirely natural that some people out there who are disturbed, you know actually act on these things. Obviously that is a tiny sliver of those who hear these kinds of statements but we’ve reached a point, as the sheriff suggests where the vitriol is so white hot out there that some people who are disturbed go out there and commit these kinds of acts.
That the media would spend so much time on “political tone” and “civility” when it just might be possible the violent actor is on the right, but barely mention it when it is confirmed the violent actor is on the left and was in fact led to his victims by a left wing group, is the best, clearest, most recent example of why conservatives have legitimate reason to hate the press and media.
There is a liberal bias in the media, even if they pretend there is not.