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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Griper Blade: Thoughts on Tragedy

Smoking gunThere are a lot of things we can take away from Jared Loughner's crime in Tucson -- I'm going to hit a few of them and they aren't all related, so don't expect a post with a lot of flow. I'm going to go where it takes me.

For example: Yes, the rhetoric in the political arena has become heated, but no, it's not fair to say that both sides are equally guilty of this -- who is the leftwing Sarah Palin, who invented "death panels" and a coming senior Holocaust out of thin air? Who is the leftwing Glenn Beck, a serial liar who routinely accuses people of actively destroying America and tells his audience they must be stopped? Where are the lefty protesters, showing up to political rallies with guns and signs about the "blood of patriots?" Where is the abortion rights activist assassinating the anti-abortion leader? If "both sides do it," why is it that both sides don't actually do it? As always, false equivalency rules in our media, as fears of "bias" trump reporting of the truth. The right has gone completely off the rails in recent years, yet when reporting on this, it's always very important to note that the left isn't off the hook either. This despite the fact that the figures used as examples of lefty hate -- say, the New Black Panthers -- are people that no one on the left has ever heard of. They certainly aren't our leaders.

The same thing happened when Ward Churchill said some victims of 9/11 were "little Eichmanns" who were complicit in crimes of imperialism that inspired the terrorism in the first place. Suddenly, Churchill was a influential thinker on the left, one of our big intellectual leaders and someone everyone listened to with rapt attention -- a household name among the arugula-eating set. Of course, the real response to criticism of Ward Churchill among the left was "Who the hell is Ward Churchill?" When you need an example of controversial or insensitive speech by liberals, you can just go grab someone at random and suddenly they're one of the Great Leaders of the Left -- ask Bill Ayers, who was elected Grand Poobah of all Things Liberal by Sarah Palin and the rightwing media.

But in trying to fix the blame on left or right, some things are being lost in the shuffle. For instance, the right has glommed onto the twitter account of someone claiming to know Loughner, because one tweet says "he was left wing, quite liberal." But that same user also tells us she hasn't seen or heard from him in three years. Not exactly the freshest information, but it'll do for media outlets and blogs eager to pin his party affiliation on anyone other than Republicans (Loughner is a registered Independent)...[CLICK TO READ FULL POST]

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