Friday question answered
On Friday, I asked readers which politician had the best week. Readers writing in both before and after the horrific Arizona shooting had a variety of interesting responses. I would agree that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), who was frequently mentioned, was a standout. But commenter Larry 3435 gave a particularly thought-provoking response. He wrote, in part:
Robert Gibbs had the best week. By resigning, he avoids two more years of being a national embarrassment, vastly improves the Obama Administration, and gives Jake Tapper a chance to get an adult answer to a serious question.
On the Arizona shooting, of COURSE the elite media is going to blame it on the tea party.
As to the first part, I suspect that Gibbs will pop up again on the campaign trail, but one has to wonder: What corporate or other political client would want the sneering Gibbs as the man to interact with the media? Yes, he is freed and escapes further cringe-inducing interludes. But the media and the president also win. It's hard to imagine that Gibbs's replacement won't be an improvement.
On the subject of the media coverage, it is important not to lump all media outlets and pundits together. Yes, Paul Krugman, Joe Klein, Laura Rozen, much of the CNN lineup and other blowhards made fools of themselves, assigning blame to conservative political rhetoric (is the "Battleground poll" also to blame?) based on zero evidence and carrying water for the fever swamp's narrative. But there were also Mara Liasson, Juan Williams, Huffington Post's Howard Fineman, Slate's Jack Shafer, Howard Kurtz and other non-conservatives who called out the hyper-partisans who would blame conservative campaign rhetoric for the violence of a lunatic. And on the news side, mainstream reporters provided ample evidence of the shooter's mental instability and his multi-year obsession with Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (prior to the whole Tea Party movement and Palin's emergence on the national scene), implicitly undermining the notion that the crime was prompted by campaign literature. As the evidence of the assassin's mental illness mounts and the hostility toward Giffords is discovered to have predated the alleged provocation (the inconvenient truth for the blame crowd is that the plot was hatched in 2007 when the angry left was in the grip of Bush Derangement Syndrome), I suspect the political blame game will look increasingly idiotic, and the blame-mongers' accusations will go down the memory hole, that special place where liberal gaffes and errors reside.
Was there plenty of atrocious coverage and unwarranted speculation? Yes. But those who didn't plunge into the partisan muck deserve some recognition. And if you have examples of particularly good or bad coverage, please identify them in the comments section. Right Turn will continue to discuss the coverage of the event throughout the week.
| January 10, 2011; 10:32 AM ET
Categories: Friday question
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