Saturday, January 08, 2011

Inflaming Vitriol?

Why is Keith Olbermann anchoring MSNBC coverage of the Giffords shooting? He's not a newsman, he's a biased commentator. Could it be they suddenly realized a huge opportunity to ride a "right wing nut" meme for all it's worth? Head of the Southern Poverty Law Center describing shooter's right wing beliefs; Olbermann posting Sarah Palin's target map. Guess he missed the left wing version of that map.

By any objective measure the 'shooter' is flat nuts, pure loony tunes. Such folks are not serious ideologues or partisans, they are nuts. He sounds a lot like the flake who flew into the IRS building in Austin, a confused person who's probably an atheist, something not at all akin to Palin.

As I type this, Olbermann has Eugene Robinson on the air to focus the vitriol where they think it belongs--the right wing. Oh they're being coy about it--Robinson mentioned that the left held the domestic terrorist mantle during the past, even mentioning washed up terrorist Bill Ayers, but moved on to say it's now almost exclusively on the right. This despite absolutely no evidence of increasing violence from the right; actually the evidence shows that the most violent protesters of our day are socialist anarchists.

They're using the Pima County Sheriff's idiotic speculation during his news conference regards TV and radio personalities inflaming the loonies (apparently no speculation is allowed about the shooter but the Sheriff can speculate wildly about who motivated him) to move their political points. Olbermann is right now giving us a "special comment" about how everyone needs to shut the hell up, and that means Sarah Palin, who he says is responsible. Meanwhile Fox has been running basic news coverage with Shep Smith and Bret Baier and their other news team members and trying to paint a fair picture of the suspect.

Mad as hell, Sheriff Dupnik? You bet. As a person leaning right I'm mad that a nut took out his frustrations on a decent and honorable congresswoman and killed others in the process, including a little girl who in attendance to see the political process because she was serving in student council. Mad that said nut is still alive. Mad that said nut is apparently exercising his constitutional rights, using the same constitution he evidently derided in his online activity.

I'm also mad that the very thing that he so passionately interjected--stoking the vitriol--is being practiced at this very minute by opportunistic left wing ideologues on TV who are trying to frame this event as an image of the modern right wing to score cheap political points.

This is NOT to say that we shouldn't all take a step back and think before we post or speak and understand the meaning and impact of our words. We should. We live in turbulent times. I'm troubled about what seems to be a crumbling of our society and a loss of basic feelings for our fellow man; the crushing debt; illegal immigration leading to a breakdown in the rule of law; wars that don't seem winable and corrupt and mindless politicians forcing their will on the public.

But Olbermann's outrageous and shameless vitriolic attempt to blame this on Palin, or Glenn Beck or Bill O'Reilly--before all the facts are known--and even if he threw himself in the pot as well with a mock apology, is just as dangerous as anything the sheriff was talking about. MSNBC should be ashamed of itself and it's so-called news department.

MORE 1/8/11

Speaking of using the word "target". And that's not a condemnation of Kos, either. It's a condemnation of Olbermann and anyone else trying to make hay with maps and words in an effort to score points off murder.

MORE 1/9/11

The narrative is being set all around the MSM-- Repubs need to denounce their hate mongers. Here's MSNBC channeling the NY Times:
Not since the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 has an event generated as much attention as to whether extremism, antigovernment sentiment and even simple political passion at both ends of the ideological spectrum have created a climate promoting violence. The fallout seemed to hold the potential to upend the effort by Republicans to keep their agenda front and center in the new Congress and to alter the political narrative in other ways.
So wow, with hardly any facts as to motive the Times is already proclaiming this to be Oklahoma City redux while coyly including the left to make it seem fair. There's even a John Doe Number Two figure running around on the loose.

If this story really is about right wing extremism why is the left-leaning mainstream press trying to fan the flames? Some couldn't wait to bring up Clinton and McVeigh, harkening back to how Bubba's response to the tragedy saved his presidency (he blamed it indirectly on Rush Limbaugh at the time) and fantasizing about how Obama could do the same. Mark Penn even mentioned this before the fact--after the mid-term election shellacking, so clearly it was on some minds. Meanwhile nobody was ever curious about where Terry Nichols got his bomb training. It didn't matter.

More nuanced writers like Matt Bai of the Times are getting the message across in a sneakier way. His column today indicts both sides of the political food fight but contains this:
The problem here doesn’t lie with the activists like most of those who populate the Tea Parties, ordinary citizens who are doing what citizens are supposed to do — engaging in a conversation about the direction of the country. Rather, the problem would seem to rest with the political leaders who pander to the margins of the margins, employing whatever words seem likely to win them contributions or TV time, with little regard for the consequences.
That's not Olbermann he's talking about. He's talking about Beck, O'Reilly, Limbaugh, Hannity, et al., and we know this because he mentioned Tea Parties in the preceding sentence.

Funny, when Major Hasan ripped off multiple rounds amongst his fellow soldiers at Ft. Hood some of these same folks bent over backwards to keep him out of the jihadist ranks (even though he yelled for Allah while shooting), with the president even urging Americans not to "jump to conclusions".

There was nothing much written by the mainstreamers about how free speech had contributed to Hasan's rage, just ruminations about PTSD or basic workplace violence. And when a Muslim convert from Memphis shot two soldiers in Little Rock several months prior it wasn't a huge story at all, despite his connection to Yemen and Awlaki. In recent interviews Carlos Bledsoe, aka Abdulhakim, keeps insisting he was a jihadist and they keep sending him back for mental examinations. Holder didn't even charge him with federal crimes--he's being tried on state charges in Arkansas (by the same prosecutor who excoriated Mike Huckabee for letting the convict out who pulled the police shooting in Oregon). There seems to be a lot of hypocrisy in this blame game. And how does that help to calm the discourse?

MORE 1/9/11

More thoughts here. Also, the fact that Giffords is Jewish is yet another reason to wait for all the facts to come out, since her religion isn't exactly beloved by either Muslim terrorists or those on the far right in the US. The video where he burned the flag wearing a weird hoodie and a hefty bag could be interpreted as jihadi-sympathetic, or right wing sympathetic, or left wing lunacy ala Ayers, but perhaps the only way to understand this guy is to be on acid or peyote.

FINAL 1/9/11

This is what a professional interview looks like: Megan Kelly on Fox interviews Pima Sheriff Dupnik, who admits he has no factual basis for linking this crime to radio/TV vitriol or rhetoric. Well, how nice of him to share his political views with the nation in a time of crisis.


LASunsett said...

In the message board of the TEA Party Patriot page, there is a hack trying to inflame this fire and turn it into an indictment on all who disagree with this government and his leftist ideology.

I have started my own ongoing post on this and will update it as I can. Will link to this one too. We need to get busy and refute this kind of nonsense, for it is the kind of activity that can and will derail an honorable movement and an entire nation, if we allow hacks like Olby to use his unchecked platform, unabated.

A.C. McCloud said...

The left is being quite coy in their efforts to make this guy Timothy McVeigh, throwing in mentions of left wing vitriol so they can focus the real vitriol on the right. Olberman even mentioned that the guy seemed to be all over the map and probably a loon, but yet his point was that we must not inflame the loons by having any strong opinions.

His doesn't count of course, because there are no murderous loons on the left or something.