The blame game

An excellent op ed by Glenn Reynolds in the Wall Street Journal:

Shortly after November’s electoral defeat for the Democrats, pollster Mark Penn appeared on Chris Matthews’s TV show and remarked that what President Obama needed to reconnect with the American people was another Oklahoma City bombing. To judge from the reaction to Saturday’s tragic shootings in Arizona, many on the left (and in the press) agree, and for a while hoped that Jared Lee Loughner’s killing spree might fill the bill. …

There’s a climate of hate out there, all right, but it doesn’t derive from the innocuous use of political clichés. And former Gov. Palin and the tea party movement are more the targets than the source.

American journalists know how to be exquisitely sensitive when they want to be. As the Washington Examiner’s Byron York pointed out on Sunday, after Major Nidal Hasan shot up Fort Hood while shouting “Allahu Akhbar!” the press was full of cautions about not drawing premature conclusions about a connection to Islamist terrorism. “Where,” asked Mr. York, “was that caution after the shootings in Arizona?”

I find that comparison very apt. An army major starts slaughtering his own colleagues while crying out “Allah Akhbar”, and many media say one can’t jump to conclusions about his motivations, while in the Arizona shooting, they concoct rationale on the spot.

Set aside as inconvenient, apparently. There was no waiting for the facts on Saturday. Likewise, last May New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and CBS anchor Katie Couric speculated, without any evidence, that the Times Square bomber might be a tea partier upset with the ObamaCare bill. …

So as the usual talking heads begin their “have you no decency?” routine aimed at talk radio and Republican politicians, perhaps we should turn the question around. Where is the decency in blood libel?

Blood libel – a nice turn of phrase.

To be clear, if you’re using this event to criticize the “rhetoric” of Mrs. Palin or others with whom you disagree, then you’re either: (a) asserting a connection between the “rhetoric” and the shooting, which based on evidence to date would be what we call a vicious lie; or (b) you’re not, in which case you’re just seizing on a tragedy to try to score unrelated political points, which is contemptible. Which is it?

Also a strong piece from Jay Nordinger at National Review:

After the Kennedy assassination, John Tower and his family had to evacuate to a safe place. The early word was that right-wingers had killed the president. Tower was associated with Goldwater for President. There were death threats against his family. It transpired, of course, that a left-wing nutjob who had “defected,” briefly, to the Soviet Union was the killer. A liberal was quoted as saying, “Now our grief can be pure.”

When Reagan was shot, there were not many political recriminations, or any. Just a lot of Jodie Foster jokes.

A few months ago, an eco-extremist took hostages at the Discovery Channel building, threatening to kill them and blow up the building. He was shot by the police before he could kill anyone. I don’t recall any comments from the right-wing peanut gallery. …

If an Islamist blows up or guns down 50 people, shouting “Allahu Akbar” as he does it, you’re not supposed to say that the act has any broad implications at all. It is simply an individual act, end of story. But if a young psychotic in Arizona kills a lot of people, we’re supposed to examine the state of Sarah Palin’s soul.

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