Special Edition: Conservatives in the Crosshairs

Vol. 24, No. 2

First Impulse: Let's Blame Conservatives


Arizona Daily Star columnist/cartoonist David Fitzsimmons: "I must tell you as a columnist who has covered politics in this state, it was inevitable, from my perspective."
Anchor Martin Savidge: "Why do you say that?"
Fitzsimmons: "Because the right in Arizona, and I'm speaking very broadly, has been stoking the fires of a heated anger and rage successfully in this state....The politics of the state does tend to be far to the right. I would say even rabid right."
- Exchange at about 2:30pm ET during CNN's live coverage of the Giffords shooting, January 8. Fitzsimmons later conceded his remarks were "inappropriate." [Audio/video (0:38): Windows Media | MP3 audio]

"Remember, this is the deepest fear that was in the back of everybody's mind going through the health care debate. A lot of members were threatened. Congresswoman Giffords' windows at her district office were broken....There is [sic] a lot of fringe groups that were very upset with the health care law, felt that the federal government was overstepping its bounds, and that was in - within everyone's mind. It looks sadly like it's come to fruition today."
- NBC/MSNBC correspondent Luke Russert during MSNBC live coverage at about 3:30pm ET January 8. [Audio/video (0:39): Windows Media | MP3 audio]

"We don't have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was. She's been the target of violence before....Her father says that 'the whole Tea Party' was her enemy. And yes, she was on Sarah Palin's infamous 'crosshairs' list. Just yesterday, Ezra Klein remarked that opposition to health reform was getting scary. Actually, it's been scary for quite a while, in a way that already reminded many of us of the climate that preceded the Oklahoma City bombing....Violent acts are what happen when you create a climate of hate. And it's long past time for the GOP's leaders to take a stand against the hate-mongers."
- New York Times columnist Paul Krugman in a 3:22pm ET January 8 blog posting, less than two hours after news broke of Giffords' shooting.

Smarmily Singling Out Sarah Palin


"Giffords was one of 20 Democrats whose districts were lit up in crosshairs on a Sarah Palin campaign Web site last spring. Giffords and many others complained that someone unstable might act on that imagery."
- CBS's Nancy Cordes on the January 8 Evening News.

"On Twitter and Facebook, there is a lot of talk, in particular, about Sarah Palin. As you might recall, back in March of last year, when the health care vote was coming to the floor of the House and this was all heating up, Palin tweeted out a message on Twitter saying 'common sense conservatives, don't retreat - instead reload.' And she referred folks to her Facebook page. On that Facebook page was a list of Democratic members she was putting in crosshairs, and Gabrielle Giffords was one of those in the crosshairs."
- CNN's Jessica Yellin during the 10pm ET hour of Newsroom, January 8.

"You know, Congresswoman Giffords had received threats before. That's something that we might have overlooked here. Her office was trashed during the health care debate. When she showed up on Sarah Palin's political action committee Web site as one of those who had been targeted for defeat, it shows her in the crosshairs there. She warned herself that this kind of thing could have serious repercussions."
- CBS's Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation, January 9.

Whatever the Shooter's Motive, We're Going to Bash Palin


"While the exact motivations of the suspect in the shootings remained unclear, an Internet site tied to the man, Jared Lee Loughner, contained anti-government ramblings. And regardless of what led to the episode, it quickly focused attention on the degree to which inflammatory language, threats and implicit instigations to violence have become a steady undercurrent in the nation's political culture....Ms. Giffords was also among a group of Democratic House candidates featured on the Web site of Sarah Palin's political action committee with crosshairs over their districts, a fact that disturbed Ms. Giffords at the time."
- New York Times reporters Carl Hulse and Kate Zernike in a January 9 front-page item, "Bloodshed Puts New Focus on Vitriol in Politics."

"Sarah Palin has been coming under some criticism. While there is no evidence her Web site featuring a target on Giffords' district had anything to do with this attack, some are asking if today's political rhetoric is inspiring the lunatic fringe?"
- NBC's Matt Lauer teasing an upcoming segment on Today, January 10.

"Not since Timothy McVeigh attacked the federal building in Oklahoma City has a crime sparked so much attention on anti-government rhetoric. That map Sarah Palin put up on Facebook last year, targeting Congresswoman Giffords' seat, made Giffords nervous, even then."
- Correspondent Lee Cowan on Today, January 10. [Audio/video (0:45): Windows Media | MP3 audio]

The Tucson Shooting: Let's Blame Talk Radio


"What's been the role of talk radio in fueling the heated language?...People like Mark Levin, Michael Savage, for example who every time you listen to them are furious, furious at the Left with anger that just builds and builds in their voice, and by the time they go to commercial, they're just in some rage, every night, with ugly talk. Ugly sounding talk. And it never changes. It never modulates.... They do see the other end of the field as evil, as awful. Not just disagreeable but evil. And they use that language, when they talk about the other side, isn't that part of the problem? And my question is doesn't that give the moral license to people who have crazy minds to start with?"
- MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Hardball, January 11. [Audio/video (0:46): Windows Media | MP3 audio]

New York Times Double Standard on Jumping to Conclusions

"It is facile and mistaken to attribute this particular madman's act directly to Republicans or Tea Party members. But it is legitimate to hold Republicans and particularly their most virulent supporters in the media responsible for the gale of anger that has produced the vast majority of these threats, setting the nation on edge....That whirlwind has touched down most forcefully in Arizona, which Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik described after the shooting as the capital of 'the anger, the hatred and the bigotry that goes on in this country.'"
- January 10 New York Times editorial, "Bloodshed and Invective in Arizona."


"In the aftermath of this unforgivable attack, it will be important to avoid drawing prejudicial conclusions from the fact that Major Hasan is an American Muslim whose parents came from the Middle East. President Obama was right when he told Americans, 'we don't know all the answers yet' and cautioned everyone against 'jumping to conclusions.'"
- From a November 7, 2009 New York Times editorial after the shootings at Fort Hood, Texas.

If They Weren't "Timid," More Would Join Dupnik's Conservative-Bashing


Co-host Mika Brzezinski: "Sarah Palin, and the use of the crosshairs - how do you characterize that part of the story?"
Ex-NBC anchor Tom Brokaw: "I think in part a lot of public officials are timid. The Pima County Sheriff [Clarence Dupnik] is not. He is speaking out, and too few others have because they're worried about retribution."
- Exchange on MSNBC's Morning Joe, January 10.

Are Republicans Still Scared of Black People?


Host Chris Matthews: "One thing I notice about black people at different conventions. You go to a Democratic convention with Donna [Edwards] and black folk are hanging together and having a good time. They're smiling, they're enjoying themselves. They feel very much at home. You go to a Republican event, you get a feeling that you are all told, 'Individually now, don't bunch up. Don't, don't, don't get together. Don't get together, don't crowd, you'll scare these people.' Is that true in the Republican Party? Is that still true in your party? Did you fear that if you got together with some other African-Americans, these white guys might get scared of you?"
Former RNC Chairman Michael Steele: "No! What are you talking about?!"
- MSNBC's Hardball, January 17. [Audio/video (0:51): Windows Media | MP3 audio]

Let's Talk about the Tea Party's "White Supremacism"


"Let's talk about the current issue of Ebony. Some very provocative articles here about whether he [President Obama] is tough enough and whether or not the politics that we've been seeing - Tea Party politics, and the like - really reach a new level of white supremacism, of anti-African-American rhetoric."
- Andrea Mitchell to publisher Desiree Rogers, who was Obama's White House social secretary in 2009-10, on her MSNBC 1pm ET Andrea Mitchell Reports, January 11. [Audio/video (0:41): Windows Media | MP3 audio]

GOP Agenda: Kill People, Not Jobs

"Republicans these days can't get through a sentence without tossing in their new favorite adjective, 'job-killing.'...In the fevered Republican imagination, the entire federal government is a 'job-killing machine' or - my personal favorite - a 'job-killing beast.'...What's particularly noteworthy about this fixation with 'job killing' is that it stands in such contrast to the complete lack of concern about policies that kill people rather than jobs. Repealing health care reform, for instance, would inevitably lead to thousands of unnecessary deaths each year because of an inability to get medical care."
- Washington Post business columnist and former reporter Steven Pearlstein, January 7.

Absurdly Sensitive Media Put Political Jargon in the Crosshairs


"You worked for Condi Rice as a speechwriter, so you know about communication strategy. Are you bothered at all by the fact that they refused to stop calling it a 'jobs-killing health care repeal' in this current environment?"
- MSNBC's Chris Jansing to former speechwriter Elise Jordan, on her 10am ET Jansing & Company, January 14.

"Just a moment ago, my friend Andy Shaw, who now works for a good government group out there, used the term 'in the crosshairs,' in talking about the candidates out there. We're trying- we're trying to get away from that language. Andy is a good friend. He's covered politics for a long time, but we're trying to get away from using that kind of language."
- CNN's John King on John King USA, January 18, after a guest said Democratic mayoral candidate was in the "crosshairs" of his two main rivals. [Audio/video (0:54): Windows Media | MP3 audio]

If Only We'd Passed ObamaCare Sooner


"Because we don't have government health care, that's one reason why a crazy person gets a gun because, you know what, it's hard for a crazy person to get a job, so therefore it's hard for them to get health care."
- Host Bill Maher talking about the Tucson shooting on his HBO program Real Time, January 14. [Audio/video (0:24): Windows Media | MP3 audio]

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