A little more than six years ago, after the horrific shooting of Rep. Gabby Giffords and her constituents, many members of the media embarked on a viciously dishonest anti-conservative smear campaign.
The New York Times editorial board declared that, while it would be “facile and mistaken to attribute this particular madman’s act directly to Republicans or Tea Party members,” it was nonetheless acceptable to blame them at least indirectly for the massacre. Seizing a good opportunity to make some money, Sen. Bernie Sanders fundraised off the tragedy by condemning “right-wing reactionaries” with their “threats and acts of violence.”
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, meanwhile, who has almost literally gone insane, blamed the Giffords shooting in part on the “eliminationist rhetoric…coming, overwhelmingly, from the right.” At Media Matters, Eric Boehlert condemned the “tide of hateful, insurrectionist rhetoric that too many conservatives refuse to condemn.” And Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas simply tweeted: “Mission accomplished, Sarah Palin.”
Snap Back to Reality
Well. There was never any evidence that the Tucson shooting had anything to do in the slightest with anything Republicans had ever said. The shooter turned out to be an apolitical madman who was more obsessed with NASA hoaxes than with any real-world political goings-on. Liberals pounced on the event not to moderate our political rhetoric but—now here’s a surprise—to cynically use a tragedy in order to bash conservatives.
If proof of such were needed, we need only examine the media reaction to yesterday’s shoot-up of a GOP baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia. The shooter, as is now well-known, was an extremely liberal, anti-conservative Sanders supporter who apparently despised Republicans with every fiber of his being.
Now, unlike 2011, there really is “hateful, insurrectionist rhetoric” flying about. Note, for instance, Madonna’s publicly stated desire to blow up the White House, or comedian Kathy Griffin’s violent fantasy photo shoot wherein she beheaded President Trump, or the Public Theater rendition of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” in which a Trump stand-in is assassinated. This is literal “eliminationist” and “insurrectionist” rhetoric.
Blame the Victims In Spades
So, after the Alexandria shooting, did the same media that roundly condemned Republicans for allegedly inspiring the Tucson shooting condemn today’s hysterical liberal climate that has allowed such toxic rhetoric to flourish?
Of course not. The New York Times, for one, half-heartedly compelled liberals to “hold themselves to the same standard of decency that they ask of the right,” without mentioning the violent and wild-eyed liberal rhetoric that has permeated Washington for the past eight months or so. As of this writing, Krugman has been radio silent. Boehlert blamed GOP policy for the shooting. Moulitsas implied that the GOP’s chickens were coming home to roost. Sanders distanced himself from the shooter without bringing up the political hysteria to which he has ably contributed.
I wonder what the difference between the two shooters could be to inspire such divergent reactions. Do you wonder? It’s a real head-scratcher, isn’t it?
In reality, most of us know that the shooter, like virtually all mass shooters, was little more than a crazy, unbalanced lunatic whose politics were almost certainly irrelevant to the crime he eventually committed. Millions of Americans believe very much the same things as did the shooter but won’t go shoot up unarmed conservative politicians. Politics, be they liberal or conservative, are generally irrelevant to craziness.
Conservatives tried to explain this in 2011. The Left wasn’t hearing it. Now the shoe appears to be on the other foot. So The New York Times is right: liberals should hold themselves to the same standards they ask of the Right. With that in mind, they should accept responsibility for this terrible shooting. It is the Left, after all, that has perpetrated this “tide of hateful, insurrectionist rhetoric” for months now. They must own it.
The other option, of course, would be for liberals to apologize for their opportunistic seizure of the Giffords shooting six years ago and admit how transparently stupid it was. That would be the preferable choice. But somehow I doubt they will. “Republicans are getting what they want,” Moulitsas declared. With political instincts like that, who needs apologies?