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With the massacre in Tucson we’ve discovered that progressives have something akin to a pathological disorder when it comes to evaluating free speech. Particularly speech that doesn’t paint progressives in glowing terms, it appears.
Everyone from the Democratic Tucson sheriff to liberals Keith Olbermann, Paul Krugman and Katie Couric to the New York Times accused Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin of all but pulling the trigger. Basically.
They rushed to declare that “hate speech” of the conservative right drove this young man to take up a gun and murder six people, including a 9-year-old girl and a federal judge. Palin, who Olbermann and others of his ilk have deemed too dumb to shoot caribou and chew gum at the same time, used her powerful mind control tricks, one supposes, to place Jared Loughner in a killing trance.
We’ve since learned the alleged shooter didn’t listen to talk radio or the news. He’s just evil.
Perhaps the most ridiculous thing heard in all of this came from retired NBC news chief Tom Brokaw. He allowed that the rhetoric was provoking, but that gun laws in Arizona would leave him afraid to go out to dinner in Tucson. Just stick to the streets of New York, Tom, where you’re safe and sound. So here is a brief response, in two parts.
Part One: A Quick Review of the Left’s Hate Speech Hypocrisy
Just scan columnist Michelle Malkin at http://michellemalkin.com/2011/01/10/the-progressive-climate-of-hate-an-.... Here is all you need to understand why I laugh whenever I’m preached to by the President or the likes of Krugman or, worse, Olbermann, about the right’s intolerance and hate.
Warning: Much of this isn’t pretty. In fact, a lot of it is very graphic – stuff you won’t see on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, HNN, MSNBC, CNBC, or read in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Portland Oregonian, the Seattle Times, or USA Today. (You see why Fox News is such a threat to free speech?)
If you’re a progressive and still feel passionately about the need to “do something” to chill the speech of Limbaugh, Beck, Palin or others you don’t agree with, well, what can I say? You’re living the stereotype! Enjoy.
Part Two: An Unapologetic Defense of Properly Heated Political Rhetoric
On June 14, 2008, long before the world knew who Sarah Palin was, Barack Obama – having already wrapped up the Democratic nomination for president – vividly described to supporters how Democrats should approach Republicans during the remaining weeks of the 2008 campaign:
“When they bring a knife to the fight, we’ll bring a gun.” (Except if Tom Brokaw’s moderating a debate, say, because Tom’s a tad afraid of such things.)
That is political rhetoric. Vitriol? Yes. Outrageous? Not really. In all honesty, I didn’t think, “Oh my God, Barry’s packing and suggesting Dems do the same.” Few did, I imagine.
Politics in America is raucous, as gutter-sniping and dirty today as it was 100 years ago. Or 150 years ago.
Just use the soon-to-be-government controlled Internet and track down some campaigns past.
Political language and our political debates have long bordered on the outrageous. Campaigns have long used “targets” on maps to highlight key races, and words like “battle,” “fight,” “war chest,” and, yes, “crusade.”
The notion that telling a campaign rally, “We’ve got a real fight on our hands,” will somehow tip a sane man into an abyss of homicidal behavior is absurd. Those in the business know this. So do the American people.
George Will wrote that we used to see these acts for what they were – heinous. Today, however, liberals see them as opportunities. Grip up, Keith and Katie, you’re making us sick.
By Jeffry Gardner
NM News Services