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Posted at 4:16 PM ET, 01/13/2011

Palin, 'blood libel' and the old epistemic closure discussion

By Jonathan Bernstein

You may recall a spirited blogospheric discussion a while back of the idea that conservatives were stuck in a feedback loop (as Jonathan Chait called it), with the key post by Julian Sanchez, who referred to it as "epistemic closure."  The idea is that if one only reads, watches, and listens to the conservative partisan press, then one will wind up with a highly truncated version of what's actually happening out there in the world.

I agreed then with Chait, Sanchez, and others on their side of the argument.  And I think we've seen an excellent example of this kind of loop over the last week, leading logically to Sarah Palin's much-maligned address to the nation in which she placed herself front and center as the chief victim of the Tuscon massacre.  The truth is that if all Palin knew of the world was what she read on at least one highly prominent conservative Web site, her reaction, and her outrage, would be perfectly understandable.

Here's what I looked at: I went through every post at National Review Online's The Corner blog from the first news of the shootings through this morning.  That's a lot of stuff; numerous bloggers post quite a lot of items there, for those of you not familiar with it (and you should be!  Read things from all over the place!).

What did I find? 

First, I should say, a fair amount of shock, grief for the victims, and celebration of the heroic stories of those who saved lives in Tucson.  Two reasonable posts about "tone," one from Heather Mac Donald and one from Kathryn Jean Lopez and Seth Leibsohn.

But beginning very soon after the shootings, and continuing all week, the major theme has been resistance to what was presented as a systematic effort by liberals and the press to pin the attack on conservatives, and on Sarah Palin in particular.  It is not presented as a story about specific politicians or pundits who made poor judgments.  Nor is it presented as a reasoned discussion of whether extreme rhetoric can have unintended consequences.  No; if you read just The Corner, what you're left with is the impression that a monolithic, capitalized "Left" has been literally accusing Palin of murder.

Jay Nordlinger:

On the radio this morning, Bill Bennett and I had a discussion about the Arizona massacre, and the political use of it made by the Left in this country.

Jonah Goldberg:

To date there is no reason to pin this atrocity on the right, as they admit. But First Read is shocked that the immediate reaction from "liberals" (which includes the news organizations First Read works for, NBC/MSNBC) was to claim that conservatives aided and abetted the crime...[W]when the liberal establishment is desperately trying to incriminate their political opponents in a senseless murder, I don't think it's right or fair to play the moral equivalence game.

Goldberg again:

Any soundbite, article,  lecture or editorial that begins with some variation of "Sarah Palin [or Rush Limbaugh, or the Tea Parties etc] "didn't pull the trigger but..." is either rank intellectual laziness or, more likely,  a slimy or irresponsible attempt to exploit this crime for a political agenda.

(No such soundbite, article, lecture or editorial that so begins is cited in the post).

Rich Lowry:

In his speech tonight, he'd be very wise to say that it's wrong to blame one side of the political spectrum, or any particular political figure, for the crimes of a disturbed individual.

I could go on; there are several similar such comments.

Now, some liberals did, in fact, say outrageous things in the immediate aftermath of the attacks that in my view were completely fair game for conservative counter-outrage.  Quite a few people posted Sarah Palin's campaign map, often without reasonable acknowledgment that such maps are standard parts of many campaigns; I could certainly see the merit in a post mocking that as over-the-top and inappropriate. 

Here's what I can't find: any sense at all that very few liberals personally blamed Sarah Palin for the attacks, as far as I can tell.  Or claimed that conservative rhetoric was directly responsible for Tucson.  Instead, the most-cited post in the liberal blogosphere, I think, was from James Fallows, who said: "It is legitimate to discuss whether there is a connection between that tone and actual outbursts of violence, whatever the motivations of this killer turn out to be."  This was not, I think a fair reading makes clear, an attempt to pin Tucson on conservatives -- but it was, instead, only a claim that it was fair to discuss whether or not extreme rhetoric may have unintended consequences.  See two widely-cited (on the liberal side) posts from political scientist Henry Farrell, who compared the relationship between outbreaks of violence and violent rhetoric to the relationship between climate change and hurricanes, and iconoclastic conservative Conor Friedersdorf, who entirely dismissed any fault at all with Palin and her map, or with the tone of debate, but complained about the substance of mainstream conservative rhetoric.  Nor was there any mention of Jonathan Chait's repeated, and strong, denunciation of the whole conversation -- although I did see multiple references to Chait's intemperate "I hate Bush" column from the past, so he's hardly too obscure to count for NRO.

Nor is there anything at all about the recent history of threats and violence associated with politics in southern Arizona, including against Gabrielle Giffords -- a context that certainly mattered in people's initial reactions, and to me is a fair excuse for some of the initial overreactions from liberals. 

Now, I watched virtually nothing on MSNBC (or, for that matter, the broadcast networks -- are they still around?) this week, and almost no political commentary on CNN.  And I don't know to what extent NRO is representative of the conservative partisan press. However, I'm willing to bet that in both cases what I've seen is in fact a good sample of the rest of it.

And if that's true, then my point isn't so much that The Corner's point of view is wrong, but that anyone reading just the Corner, or getting their news from such sources, would wind up with a massively distorted sense of what liberals were saying, and what the press was reporting.  The conclusions that they would draw from that version of reality might be internally consistent, but would be radically wrong. 

Again, I think that conservatives had several legitimate complaints about specific things that liberals said, or that the press reported.  I also think that the pro-extreme-rhetoric position is a legitimate one, if people want to engage in that debate.  That's not what I read at The Corner.  Hardly any specific complaints, and little if any argument.  Just a repeated drumbeat about a systematic, seemingly monolithic plan being implemented by a "Left" that surely includes every mainstream media outlet in the United States.

By Jonathan Bernstein  | January 13, 2011; 4:16 PM ET
Categories:  Political media  
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Next: Happy Hour Roundup

Comments


OK a truce is fine if we can re-do the 2008 election.

I'm sure McCain is up for it.


Seriously, everytime the liberals get away with something, they aren't calling for a truce.


With health care? Obama is still writing regulations putting into force what was taken OUT of the bill.

With gays in the military? Are we re-voting that with the new Congress???


How about with everything else??? Does the truce involve re-voting everything, or MAKING COMPROMISES ???


Seriously folks, when the liberals win, they don't talk about bipartisanship, truce or compromise.


It is all jam, jam, jam.


Obama makes mistakes, and all of a sudden everyone else is wrong because the liberals want to be on the high road all of a sudden.


If Obama wanted the high road, SATURDAY afternoon was the time - BEFORE THE 5 DAY SMEAR CAMPAIGN.


Fools.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 13, 2011 4:24 PM | Report abuse

The liberals are a riot -


They spent all of 2008 trying to FOOL the nation with promises of bipartisanship and compromise.

And then once they win an election, they were anything but bipartisan. They did NOT compromise in the writing of the 2,000 page health care bill.

It was just a complete disgrace to democracy itself - BAIT AND SWITCH.


And now we hear these calls for civility and how they want everyone to get together again.


However, the democrats NEVER ACTED THAT WAY. AND ALL WE SAW ON THE BLOGS WAS THE DEMOCRATS DEFENDING THE BAIT AND SWITCH.

So, Greg Sargent comes out today with his ideas for "truce," which sure seems like a re-tread 2008.


OK fine - let's re-do the 2008 election.


This time, let the American People CONSIDER TWO YEARS OF OBAMA'S CONDUCT.


Let's re-vote Health Care with the new Congress.


Let's re-vote Don't Ask with the new Congress.

THOSE are the terms of the truce.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 13, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse

We did this, besides, its the economy.
Here is a topic for Obama's SOTU.

"Banks repossessed a record one million US homes in 2010, and could surpass that number this year, figures show.

"2011 is going to be the peak," senior vice-president Rick Sharga told the Associated Press news agency

Foreclosure tracker RealtyTrac said about five million homeowners are now at least two months behind on their mortgage payments. Among the worst hit states were Nevada, Arizona, Florida and California...Nevada had the highest foreclosure rate for the fourth year in a row, with one in 11 housing units receiving a foreclosure notice..."

Wow. Obama's economic policies relieved everyone of the moral hazard of the housing bubble debacle, except Lehman, BS and retail borrowers. Maybe, since the peak is still to come, they could help out somehow. I've seen lots of ideas. Better late than never?

Posted by: shrink2 | January 13, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Would someone please stick some duct tape over Sarah's mouth so she can't get her
foot in?
Agree with me? http://upc.bz/0170

Posted by: laskafootNmouth | January 13, 2011 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Shrink

Obama should have foreclosed on the banks - he has more than enough cause - and kept everyone in their houses.


Instead Obama SIDED with the big banks - and is allowing them to continue to foreclose on people while the paperwork issues are STILL not resolved.


As a gesture to the American People, to show how much he is with them, Obama hires Daley as his Chief of Staff, a banker.


Yea, right.


The democrats are foolish to believe that Obama will deliver anything.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 13, 2011 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Here's a little better way to see the world of news through Palin-colored glasses.

She said in an interview once that something was "all over Twitter" and it got me curious what her version of Twitter was so I made a Twitter list of the accounts she followed as of November 2010 http://twitter.com/#!/list/Amyloo/palin-follows

Then just last week put this page together http://cheerfulsneering.com/palintwitter/ to approximate what she would see if she read Twitter on the web.

Posted by: amylooo | January 13, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Weekly Re-Cap


After 3 years of a Bait-and-Switch Circus from Obama,

this week, the nation was served with a 5 day Attack Campaign against the Tea Party and Sarah Palin.


When the country rejected the baseless charges which attempted to link innocent people to a mass murder, Obama called for civility and a truce.


Ouch.

Pathetic.


HOW ABOUT if Obama just resigns - and the nation starts to heal without him and liberals?


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 13, 2011 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Good post. I do read NRO and I think using it for this exercise is very charitable toward the right. More instructive in understanding the movement conservative mindset that likely animates Palin might be something like RedState. They went into full victim mode before Saturday was done, with Erick Erickson posting random emails he received from liberals as though they are prominent politicians or writers.

I do think liberals were generally overly reactive on this but there were reports (now proven erroneous) of connections to AmRen and an accomplice that fed a narrative that, admittedly, I wanted to believe. Still, the reason it was easy to believe is because intemperate right-wing rhetoric already has led to violence. (See James Downie today in TNR with a list of incidents including that guy who was going to kill everybody at the ACLU and Tides because Glenn Beck got him worked up.) These events were largely ignored or treated as isolated incidents because they didn't involve a Congresswoman.

Posted by: jbossch | January 13, 2011 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Johnathan Bernstein, you really didn't need to go that much further than Greg Sargent's blog "The Plum Line" (you know, the one you just posted on) to see "Sarah Palin didn't pull the trigger, but . . .". The comments here in the few hours afterward were even worse than that.

I'm glad I was able to assist you with that.

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 13, 2011 5:18 PM | Report abuse

There are two things that Mr Bernstein clearly hasn't read:
Paul Krugman's initial indictment via his blog.

The comments posted by liberals here on Mr Sargent's blog.

Now we are at phase four of this liberal play:
(1) Launch a calumny against the right and prominent members there of
(2) Repeat the calumny ad infinitum
(3) Complain about the way the right responds to the calumny
(4) Deny taking steps one through three.

This is just nonsense from beginning to end. I don't question the author's intent or his validity of the attempt to understand how this was portrayed by writers of a different persuasion.

No, I question the author's manliness. Why not man up and admit that the early comments of influential liberals triggered a feeding frenzy that was fueled by anger and hatred and that the frenzy embarassed the liberal movement? (if such a thing as an embarassed liberal is even possible these days)

Instead we're getting treated to several healthy doses of liberal mealy-mouth. I personally loved Mr Sargent's attempt to make peace by first stating that the right is the problem.

Here's the money quote:
"Though the evidence seems overwhelming, at least to those on the left, that the right indulges in this sort of excess far more than the left does, some people on the right appear to believe in good faith that this is hogwash."

Riiiiight. Let's look at the wording here carefully. The evidence seems overwhelming. Really? What is it? Is there a score card somewhere? What's the unit of measure of this sort of thing?

Next, I don't "appear" to believe that this is hogwash, I flat out believe that this is hogwash. Unlike Mr Sargent, I didn't sleep through the Bush Admin. I paid careful attention, as did many of us so called epistemically closed conservatives, to the shenanigans of the left. Where the H word do you think the Gathering of Eagles came from?

Honestly this is just plain infuriating. You fellahs need to stop digging the hole you are in. You need to admit to the facts surrounding the feeding frenzy and get over yourselves.

I suspect that the real problem for the liberal commentariat is that they simply have no practice in apologizing. So rather than do so, they will run the first play in their play book: blame everything on the right.


Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 13, 2011 5:19 PM | Report abuse

skipsailing28, I don't read Krugman, but has he really not backtracked at all yet?

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 13, 2011 5:24 PM | Report abuse

First of all, I agree 100% with the author. There have been few direct connections to Palin, especially after the weekend. I will also say right off that it was wrong to tie this to Palin, especially so early on. I think most people, even those who early on made some connection, realized that the connection did not exist after a day or so of some evidence about this killer.

Second, I just really do not understand some of the comments here. Seriously, talk about "revoting" certain things like gays in the military? This discussion has been going on for a very long time. McCain asked for a study; he got one which he didn't like. McCain asked for opinions from the military leaders; he got them but didn't like the opinions. Should we go back and revote every single thing Congress has ever voted on?

Seriously, liberals "don't talk about bipartisanship?" How come Obama has upset his base? It is because his base thinks he is trying to be bipartisan too much.

Sounds like someone seriously hates liberals.

Posted by: Denjudge | January 13, 2011 5:26 PM | Report abuse


"Other people did it too" is not an acceptable excuse from someone with presidential ambitions. That's not leadership.

No amount of offense can erase a very bad decision by the Palin camp. Her advisers evidently don't understand the difference in running a remote congressional race and running for the most important position in the country and the world.

If Palin wants to run for president than she needs to adjust to the difference in accountability. Palin isn't facing anything worse from the left than what Obama and Bill/Hilary were accused of from the right. And it's hypocritical of them to say she is.

As I remember, Hilary actually was accused of murder by the right.

Posted by: Beeliever | January 13, 2011 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Since Sarah Palin now says that only the individuals who commit the deeds, should be held responsible, has she apologized to President Obama for over and over linking him to domestic terrorist acts, back in the 1960's, when Barack Obama was a young schoolboy?

Sarah can not have it both ways. She needs to publicity apologize to President Obama for instigating such a "blood libel" against him.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 13, 2011 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Skip

You are 100% correct

Obama and his people treated the country to nothing less than a circus this week.

And at every turn, they are attacking - or demanding that the other side join them in a truce for their own good.


A mass murder is an opportunity for Obama to play political games - the country is not happy.


Obama is in control of his own people - his SILENCE this week while his people attacked -


These idiot pundits this morning - pretending that none of that happened - and the first thing we have heard from Obama and his people this week started after the Indian left the stage.

Seriously folks, this is a major political party of a Superpower???


This is the fourth clown act in the side ring of a bad circus.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 13, 2011 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Skip

You are 100% correct

Obama and his people treated the country to nothing less than a circus this week.

And at every turn, they are attacking - or demanding that the other side join them in a truce for their own good.


A mass murder is an opportunity for Obama to play political games - the country is not happy.


Obama is in control of his own people - his SILENCE this week while his people attacked -


These idiot pundits this morning - pretending that none of that happened - and the first thing we have heard from Obama and his people this week started after the Indian left the stage.

Seriously folks, this is a major political party of a Superpower???


This is the fourth clown act in the side ring of a bad circus.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 13, 2011 5:32 PM | Report abuse

To even comment on much of the cynicism spewed on this blog is almost like purposefully choosing to dip oneself into quicksand. Never has the blatant dis-respect of a sitting President been more visceral than it is on some of these postings. Thankfully, the real American public always gets it right with elections and never fails to make corrections when things go too far. I sense that a new correction is on the horizon and the adult in the White house will continue to lead the country in civility and honor thru 2012.

Posted by: juswrds | January 13, 2011 5:33 PM | Report abuse

I'd lie to thank beeliever for proving my point: the liberals are running a set play here.

beeliever is stuck on step three though. He's still whining that Ms Palin didn't respond appropriately to the calumny he helped to manufacture.

Is it just me or are the liberals starting to act like old fashioned thugs?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 13, 2011 5:39 PM | Report abuse

and throughout 2016.

Posted by: juswrds | January 13, 2011 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Skip

the issue does not have anything to do with Palin

It is ALL about Obama's conduct - and the conduct of Obama's people.


Obama failed to restrain his people on Saturday - and let them run wild for 5 days all the while hoping that his side would "win" using baseless charges.


Obama is NOT A LEADER.


This is a partisan bait-and-switch.

Obama has PROVEN AGAIN HE IS NOT THE LEADER OF THE COUNTRY.


Obama is a partisan hack who is NOT concerned with the nation - only his flawed liberal agenda.

This nation HAD NO LEADER THIS WEEK.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 13, 2011 5:44 PM | Report abuse

And yet, the fact remains:

Since Sarah Palin now says that only the individuals who commit the deeds, should be held responsible, has she apologized to President Obama for over and over linking him to domestic terrorist acts, back in the 1960's, when Barack Obama was a young schoolboy?

Sarah can not have it both ways. She needs to publicity apologize to President Obama for instigating such a "blood libel" against him.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 13, 2011 5:46 PM | Report abuse

"admit that the early comments of influential liberals triggered a feeding frenzy"

Name names, and provide links.

Note that some idiot Kos diarist is not, in fact, Kos himself, any more than I am Greg Sargent.
.

Posted by: jprestonian | January 13, 2011 5:47 PM | Report abuse

skip, you know liberals can't be thugs, it isn't in their blood, I mean ah their juice, their jeans, whatever, they are not thugs.

It is true they can't stop talking about Sarah Palin though, it is as if she were all that mattered. How many threads have we had to endure, the whether or not the crazy man might have not chosen his victim at random and what that means about the Sarah Palin "question". It is embarrassing. I think they are making up for you people dragging Obama (oops, no more metaphors that might contain unsavory imagery) you people blaming Obama and liberals in general for Nidal Hasan. But that whole tit for tat, who is the worse hypocrite thing is boring. All inside baseball is boring. Why? Because everybody's mind is already made up.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 13, 2011 5:48 PM | Report abuse

RainForestRising,

Find Love. I hope you do.

I wish you the very best, don't let all your hate do this to you. Im sure you are a kind person, it seems you are in a dark place.

Find love...

Posted by: savetherest | January 13, 2011 5:49 PM | Report abuse

"I didn't sleep through the Bush Admin."

And yet, no lefties ever shot up a rightie church, explaining to police afterward that he wanted to kill all the Republicans in Congress and 100 others that appeared on Olbermann's "Worst Person in the World" segments, but knew he couldn't get to them, so he settled on church-goers, instead.

Funny, that.
.

Posted by: jprestonian | January 13, 2011 5:52 PM | Report abuse

I plan on making it up to Sarah by working to get out the primary votes for her, in 2012, and I urge many of my fellow Democrats to do the same thing.

After all, Rush Limbaugh pitched in and urged his listeners to help Democrats pick their nominee, in 2008; so it would be downright rude of us, not to repay the favor.

Run Sarah Run, and I will work the primaries for you, and I will not even ask for a wink in return.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 13, 2011 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Liam-still, that's not within ANYONE's definition of "blood libel" (regardless of how many times you post it), especially since Sarah Palin has never palled around with Jared Loughner. Is that what you libs are going to accuse her falsely of next?

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 13, 2011 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Note that some idiot Kos diarist is not, in fact, Kos himself, any more than I am Greg Sargent.
.

Posted by: jprestonian
________________________

Markos himself posted a twitter update at 1:19, just a few hours after the shooting, saying "Mission Accomplished Sarah Palin"

I don't think it gets anymore clear than that influential people on the left were blaming Palin from the very beginning.

http://twitter.com/markos/status/23821038362034176

Posted by: Bailers | January 13, 2011 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Please be sure to donate to http://SarahPAC.com

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 13, 2011 6:00 PM | Report abuse

"Markos himself posted a twitter update at 1:19, just a few hours after the shooting, saying "Mission Accomplished Sarah Palin""

Just to show you how silly it sounds... I bet he was congratulating her on the completion of her reality show.

Surveyor's symbols, indeed.
.

Posted by: jprestonian | January 13, 2011 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Not long ago, some Republican people were laughing at Democrats going through the (completely debunked) Elizabeth K-R "stages of grief" in re the great Republican Victory of November 2010 (Chapter title: In which the Rs recaptured control of the |hi:lower| House of Congress). The anger, the denial, the rationalization, I forgot how it goes...but some Dwag could take that to the Palin fans and rub their faces in their own mess (hope that is a sufficiently ridiculous, non violence inciting image for the unhinged).

Posted by: shrink2 | January 13, 2011 6:03 PM | Report abuse

All, Happy Hour Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/01/happy_hour_roundup_165.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 13, 2011 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Claw The Birther Loon/AKa JakeD The Birther Loon.

Palin has as much to do with what Jared Loughner did, as what the schoolboy Barack Obama had to do with what Bill Ayers did in the 1960s.

Therefore, Sarah(using her own standards) did instigate a "blood libel" against a schoolboy name Barack Obama.

She needs to make a public apology to President Obama, and the American people for her vicious falsehoods about candidate Obama during the 2008 President campaign.

I plan on working the primaries for her, but it would make my job much easier if she just did the right thing now, and asked President Obama to forgive her.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 13, 2011 6:06 PM | Report abuse

@Jonathan

Good post, thank you. I go the the NRO (and Weekly Standard) every morning to get a sense of what they are covering and how. But I didn't do a more organized survey as you've done.

Many folks on the right who write or talk for the various media outlets have understood for a long time that the project to rebrand the party through the Tea Party phenomenon would be put at risk if there continued to be news coverage of the obvious extremisms we saw through the TP's beginnings. Thus, for example, the email alerts from TP organizers to watch their signs etc and the instruction for attendees coming to the Beckpalooza to avoid signage.

Or, in other words, sensitivity to perceptions of extremism (particularly of the threatened violence sort) were already high. Thus it is not at all a surprise that the right would react as they have since the tragedy. It is a PR necessity for many conservative voices to push back against any suggestions of extremism in their movement of the violent/dangerous sort.

***

On an only slightly related point (NRO), this short bit from Krugman is revelatory and saddening...

"Two Speeches and an Editorial
President Obama, yesterday:

Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together.
President Obama, May 1, 2009:

I view that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with people’s hopes and struggles as an essential ingredient for arriving as just decisions and outcomes.
National Review, May 4, 2009:

Empathy is simply a codeword for an inclination toward liberal activism."

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/13/two-speeches-and-an-editorial/

What does it say about a movement where such a fundamental Christian notion (that which you do to the least of us you do unto me) has come to represent that which is weak, socially invalid and un-American?

Posted by: bernielatham | January 13, 2011 6:08 PM | Report abuse

After blaming and smearing the Sarah Palin for the Arizona killing, American lamestream media has succeeded in their long-cherished obsession of mobilising a hit squad to assasinate the Palin family:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/I-hate-it-when-I-wake-up-and-Sarah-Palin-is-still-alive/129929197021040?v=wall

http://vimeo.com/18733744

Posted by: skponggol | January 13, 2011 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Liam-still, no she doesn't, and no I am not.

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 13, 2011 6:13 PM | Report abuse

"The comments posted by liberals here on Mr Sargent's blog."

I happened to be here Saturday when the shooting occurred and about 80% of us crazy lefties were calling for prayers, tao kept reminding us, calling for restraint and mostly following the story as it developed. We had THREE commenters who seemed eager to blame the right out of the numerous posters commenting that day and into the evening. All the while RFR was screaming at all of us in the background and while I can easily ignore his posts, he was pretty busy agitating everyone who was reading all the while blaming liberals and Obama for the entire incident. There were other conservative drop ins trying to find a connection to the left but most of us by the end of the day and into Sunday recognized the shooter was acting alone upon his own demons.

I suggest some of you who claim the PL was a hotbed of blaming the right go back and actually read the posts from Sat. and Sun. to refresh your memories.

Greg was gone to the dentist, bad timing, and his first post regarding the incident on Sunday clearly debunked whatever claim anyone may have been making that there was a direct connection between the right's rhetoric and the shooting.

People seem to have trouble separating fact from fiction around here. Obviously a discussion regarding political rhetoric ensued and whether or what influence it has on people or our democracy is not the same as blaming one side or the other for acts by a deranged gunman.

Posted by: lmsinca | January 13, 2011 6:14 PM | Report abuse

The connection ro Palin was made in the media because Congresswoman Giffords had made specific remarks about those crosshairs and how they could potentially incite violence. In this case, one of the victims essentially had already called out Ms. Palin's tactics. You can't discount that in any discussion of how this all transpired in the media.

If this terrible incident had occurred in Nevada to someone else, the media would have pounced on Sharron Angle's "2nd amendment rememdies" remarks. If it had happened in Minnesota, the connection would have been made to Michelle Bachmann's "armed and dangerous" comment. And this would have been especially true if the victim had earlier spoken out about the danger of any of those two comments.

And yes, if this had happened in Florida where the Democrat made ugly and inappropriate comments about shooting somebody, he would have been the focus of speculation, and a connection would have been made to his violent rhetoric.

It's really not all that complicated. The media is pretty predictable. It's the "shiny object" philosophy espoused by Jon Stewart.

Posted by: elscott | January 13, 2011 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Take a look at the billboard ad that Clear Channel had put up in Tucson, prior to the shooting rampage.

http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/01/clear_channel_yanks_straight_shooter_limbaugh_ad_in_tucson.php?ref=fpa


A huge billboard saying:

"Rush Limbaugh, Straight Shooter", and just in case people did not quite get the drift of that message, they added images of bullet holes riddling the area below the message.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 13, 2011 6:28 PM | Report abuse

@skponggol & Kadaffy & rainforest sockpuppet

Utube videos by unknown people do not constitute proof or even an indication that the "left" agrees with or even notices the deranged rantings of a few of the millions of Utube contributors. Please stop using Utube videos as some kind of metric of what anyone to the left of convicted felon Tom Delay believes about any given subject.

We now return you to the previously scheduled rants from the above posters.

Posted by: srw3 | January 13, 2011 6:39 PM | Report abuse


Sarah Palin has spoken so much in her speech, yet the only words American lamestream media deliberately and maliciously pick up are "blood libel", and then they try to distort and smear her yet again. There is no better example of "blood libel" than this....

This constant distortion of words and images by American lamestream media to destroy Sarah Palin brought back sad memories of the Great Chinese Cultural Revolution when every word spoken by people were analysed and distorted so that they can be intimidated into submission. Every words and images used had to be approved so as not to offend the Great Leader.....

Btw as a Chinese, I don't even know that the words "blood libel" have already been copyrighted and cannot be used recklessly....Can someone print a list of Jewish taboo words not to be used so that I will not cause any offense. To avoid charges of racism, it should also accompany taboo words from the Irish, Italian, Indians, Zulus, Javanese, Eskimos, Abcxyz, etc…. Or should I just registered as a liberal and a Democrat, then I would have free license to say anything I like, just like the good old days when a Chinese can say anything and do anything after he had registered as a Red Guard and wore the glorious red armband.


Posted by: skponggol | January 13, 2011 6:59 PM | Report abuse

This bears repeating:

Sarah Palin has spoken so much in her speech, yet the only words American lamestream media deliberately and maliciously pick up are "blood libel", and then they try to distort and smear her yet again. There is no better example of "blood libel" than this....

This constant distortion of words and images by American lamestream media to destroy Sarah Palin brought back sad memories of the Great Chinese Cultural Revolution when every word spoken by people were analysed and distorted so that they can be intimidated into submission. Every words and images used had to be approved so as not to offend the Great Leader.....

Btw as a Chinese, I don't even know that the words "blood libel" have already been copyrighted and cannot be used recklessly....Can someone print a list of Jewish taboo words not to be used so that I will not cause any offense. To avoid charges of racism, it should also accompany taboo words from the Irish, Italian, Indians, Zulus, Javanese, Eskimos, Abcxyz, etc…. Or should I just registered as a liberal and a Democrat, then I would have free license to say anything I like, just like the good old days when a Chinese can say anything and do anything after he had registered as a Red Guard and wore the glorious red armband.

Posted by: skponggol | January 13, 2011 6:59 PM

Posted by: actuator | January 13, 2011 7:26 PM | Report abuse

The author is full of it on this issue. Claims blaming Palin were found in NYTimes by Paul Krugman, also by Chris Matthews, Bill Press, Rachel Maddow, Keith Olberman, media matters, etc.

Posted by: KMichaels | January 13, 2011 7:29 PM | Report abuse

And Palin was full of it, in 2008 when she kept linking the deeds of a domestic terrrorist, back in the 1960s, to Barack Obama, who was just a very young schoolboy, back then.

Poor Sarah, always with the: Do as I say, not as I do, Drama Queen Act.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 13, 2011 7:53 PM | Report abuse

[Liam-still whined: "linking the deeds of a domestic terrrorist, back in the 1960s, to Barack Obama"]

Poor whiddle Liam can't address the cited evidence with fingers planted firmly in ears and tearfilled eyes clenched.

AZ Shooter is Leftist-terrorist Bill Ayers’ disciple
http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=249429#ixzz1AfFPHymn

“Jared Lee Loughner, the suspected gunman in Saturday’s Arizona shooting, attended a high school that is part of a network in which teachers are trained and provided resources by a liberal group founded by Weatherman terrorist Bill Ayers and funded by President Obama...”

I eagerly await Liam’s strong denunciation of Obama’s Weatherman discipleship network.

Own the AZ shooter, Leftists. He’s all yours.

"There is no manne so blynd as he that will not see, nor so dull as he that wyll not vnderstande."
[1551 Cranmer, Answer to Gardiner, 58]

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 14, 2011 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Sure thing, Jonathon. It was all a big case of conservative epistemic closure that led to anyone thinking "the left" just mounted one of the great calumnious smear campaigns in history.

And you proved the Corner has a conservative pov! How unfair and uncharitable of conservatives not to objectively and dispassionately address the torrent of calumnies, and carefully parse out and acknowledge that (1) not everyone was making these scurrilous accusations, and (2) maybe they were sorta true!

Now, why don't you perform a similar exercise and to through all the posts at dKos or TPM or DU or TWM and see whether any epistemic closure is detectable. Or lay out for us how Mother Jones or American Prospect carefully and neutrally represent "both sides."

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 14, 2011 8:10 AM | Report abuse

A useful primer today for the amnesia-wracked blamestream media on just how widespread the Blame-Righty meme has been over the past two years.
http://michellemalkin.com/2011/01/14/blame-righty-a-condensed-history/

President Obama wisely counseled the nation this week at the Tucson massacre memorial that “Bad things happen, and we must guard against simple explanations in the aftermath.” But as the progressive Left’s smear-stained recent history shows, criminalizing conservatism is a hard habit to break.

Own the Leftist media smear campaign, Greg.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 14, 2011 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I've always loved knowing what the points of view and arguments are on both sides of issues and one thing I have consistently noticed in my reading is that the right-wing-media-machine stories are consciously formulated and presented in the "Conservatives always good-Liberals always bad,' format.

I think that pretty much explains it.

Posted by: cfeher | January 14, 2011 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Out of curiosity, have the Republicans/Conservatives/Tea Partiers repudiated (or however they may want to spell it) those in THEIR ranks who:

1. Refuse to abide by the results of an election, unless they win;
2. Put their opponionets in the cross-hairs of a gun;
3. Talk of reloading or lock and loading, etc.

It's bad enough that they cheer Palin who keeps talking about the 'real America' but has not visited the rural part of VA where I live. They even forgot to remind her that she was running to be VP of the WHOLE country.

So, till they actually repudiate such people, all their complaints are rather hypocritical.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | January 14, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I posted Palin's Target List Map on my facebook saying I didn't blame her, but that people who put gun targets on Politicos they disagree with is either stupid or mental! A few Conservative friends went ape **** hysterical that I was blaming Palin. When I offered this link
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/sarah-palin/3405336/Sarah-Palin-blamed-by-the-US-Secret-Service-for-death-threats-against-Barack-Obama.html
that reported on the U.S. Secret Service blaming Palin's rogue unstable RHETORIC on a huge spike in violent threats on Obama, they just keep bleating whatever they heard on Rush Limbaugh that day. I'm not a Republican or a Conservative, I read Drudge and Huffington, Watch Fox and MSNBC, etc. The right just seems to really lack reasoning and critical thinking. late

Posted by: BornAgainAmerican | January 14, 2011 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I love the entertainment value in some of the above responses. The author notes and describes the epistemic closure thesis, and various conservatives immediately and unselfconsciously provide strong supporting evidence in comments. I mean, really, we have two separate posters using the word "calumny" multiple times in close proximity? Who ever uses that word?

The level of self-delusion and projection necessary to hate on Democrats for some imaginary, unseemly level of partisanship, and to claim a woe-is-me put upon stance, in light of the current Administration's/last Congress's internally severely compromised, between the 45-yard-lines legislative accomplishments, and in light of the way Tom Delay ran his House, is staggering. Is the soothing power of victimhood really that strong?

Posted by: MCA2 | January 16, 2011 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Typical liberal thinking:

"1. Refuse to abide by the results of an election, unless they win;
"2. Put their opponionets in the cross-hairs of a gun;
"3. Talk of reloading or lock and loading, etc."

As for "1" how did the Republicans "refuse to abide by" the election? I haven't seen the Right saying, "Obama is not my President." I did see many on the Left say so when Bush was President. Along with claiming that the was "selected and not elected."

As to "2" above, the gunsight was on the district, not the person. The Left didn't criticize the DLC when it put targets on districts.

As to "3" above, apparently Dem's now want to outlaw all metaphorical language. Where were the complaints when Obama spoke of taking "a gun to a knife fight"? There weren't any.

Posted by: Wigboldus | January 17, 2011 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I knew you guys were going to do this.. Downplay, if not totally deny what you did. That's why you all took such offense to the term "blood libel." She called the left (media) out for what it did. She solidified the assault on her by the press. The media knew it and tried to divert the issue... Now we are in denial land.

Guess what... We (conservatives) knew you would so we took the effort to collect all quotes and video clips as evidence. We have the evidence, but you go ahead and lie to these good people.. Just hope they don't land on one of our blogs or Youtube, eh?

Posted by: achazortiz | January 17, 2011 6:05 PM | Report abuse

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