January 12, 2011

Day Late and a Dollar Short: ProJo & Harrop Decide Now is the time to Blame Tea Party and Conservatives for Tucson

Marc Comtois

After the meme has all but been destroyed, the ProJo editors and columnist Froma Harrop (one in the same?) have thrown in their lot with the "blame the right wing/tea party for Tucson" crowd. The editors:

While there has been some menacing left-wing rhetoric (the left was particularly extreme in its attacks on George W. Bush), and there are such hyperbolic media types as Keith Olbermann, most of the rhetorical rage has come from the right.

Indeed, a turn of the radio dial shows where the majority of the highly profitable political-hate industry is based these days. And the Internet, which encourages people to spout off, often in the comfort of cowardly anonymity, has also raised the temperature. Conspiracy theories, of which, said a friend, Mr. Loughner was a devotee, thrive in such an environment. He had expressed to friends a strong if incoherent anti-government animus.

Yes, the internet and the anonymous commenters--not to be confused by anonymous journalists publishing unsigned editorials, of course. I won't parse through examples of left wing "vitriol" nor delve into the conspiracies Loughner indulged (though here is an interesting interview with a friend of Loughner's from Mother Jones). They can be found elsewhere and, frankly, Loughner's "ideas" were all over the ideological map. Yet, that doesn't trouble the ProJo Eds., who just wish, dontcha know, for the days of yesteryear and "good" conservatives:
Some of the rhetoric in the media has been sincere, some of it mercenary, and some a mix; Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and their colleagues, for their part, have found that high-on-hysteria, low-on-facts denunciations have been very lucrative show business, much more saleable than the careful analyses by such old-fashioned — and highly informed — conservatives as George Will; too boring!
Would that be the same George Will who just wrote:
It would be merciful if, when tragedies such as Tucson's occur, there were a moratorium on sociology. But respites from half-baked explanations, often serving political opportunism, are impossible because of a timeless human craving and a characteristic of many modern minds....

A characteristic of many contemporary minds is susceptibility to the superstition that all behavior can be traced to some diagnosable frame of mind that is a product of promptings from the social environment. From which flows a political doctrine: Given clever social engineering, society and people can be perfected. This supposedly is the path to progress. It actually is the crux of progressivism. And it is why there is a reflex to blame conservatives first.

An example of what Will explains lay in the way the Progressive ProJo Eds open their editorial:
The shooter in the Arizona case, Jared Lee Loughner, is mentally ill. There were signs of that before he shot and killed six people, including a federal judge, and critically injured Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Perhaps a better health-care system would have gotten him off the streets before he could erupt, or maybe not.

So, while they have jumped on the wheel-less bandwagon regarding the "vitriol", I suppose credit is due for twisting it to their cause celebre--health care reform--even if it is ridiculous "political opportunism."

See, I'd have less problem--though still disagree--with the ProJo if it had simply gone off on the Tea Party, Beck, Palin, conservatives, whatever (as they have in the past) if they hadn't tried to tie it all to Tucson. Instead, we have a case of RI's own old gray lady not letting a good crisis go to waste, so to speak.

Maybe John Nolte has figured out what is really going on here:

Imagine what it was like as recently as 15 years ago to enter the field of “journalism” under the promise that if you were successful you’d have unlimited and, better yet, unaccountable powers to destroy whomever you wanted and to tell whatever lies necessary to further a personal agenda. Now imagine how frustrating it must be to have that promise almost completely evaporate with the rise of Citizen Media, New Media, and Fox News.

What we witnessed these past three days wasn’t just political partisanship, what we witnessed was the horror show of entitled and angry elitists desperate for that warm, nostalgic feeling of reaffirmation that comes with a successful character assassination and a death blow to their political enemies. Yes, the media made complete fools of themselves and further damaged what was left of their reputations, but the brass ring of a momentary return to the good old days was impossible not to reach for.

Apparently, some fools come late to the party.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

Froma harrop is like Bob Kerr-she says something worthwhile about as often as I see hummingbirds in my yard(tey do show up on rare occasions).

Posted by: joe bernstein at January 12, 2011 10:24 AM

Is Nolte trying to say that Fox news is not partisan? Surely even the most rabid of conservatives can see that Fox is as partisan as MSNBC

Posted by: Triplerichard at January 12, 2011 11:29 AM

"as recently as 15 years ago to enter the field of “journalism” under the promise that if you were successful you’d have unlimited and, better yet, unaccountable powers to destroy whomever you wanted and to tell whatever lies necessary to further a personal agenda."

I have never made a real study of Watergate, but the movie made an impression on me. What impressed me was the chanting of "we're going to bring down the President". I was left with the impression that the whole purpose of journalism was self-aggrandizement.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at January 12, 2011 12:01 PM

Fox commentators certainly are partisan.
i don't fins their newscasts particularly so.Shepherd Smith doesn't come across that way.
I have to say Morning Joe on MSNBC presents opposing viewpoints like this morning when Gov.Chris Christie of NJ was on.As usual he held his own and more.
Chris Hanson's exposes on MSNBC are apolitical as far as I can tell.
I don't get that network's fascination with prisons all weekend long.

Posted by: joe bernstein at January 12, 2011 12:12 PM

Way late and a hundred dollars short.

Red headline at the top of Drudge right now:


Not to mention that he was opposed to religion and described by at least one friend as a liberal. Once again, a beautiful theory killed by an ugly fact.

Posted by: Monique at January 12, 2011 3:39 PM

One has to wonder in absolute dismay at the seeming gleefulness which the left has attempted to tie the tea party/Republicans/right wing radio to the Arizona shooting, without a shred of evidence to support their argument. If the situation weren't so tragic (particularly with the death of the little girl) I would liken their mania to the mindless cacophony of the seagulls in "Finding Nemo".

Posted by: madmom at January 12, 2011 3:55 PM

Harrop's editorial was share retaliation against conservative readers who on her previous editorial actually complimented her for a somewhat common sense message she had on one answer to the illegal immigration issue. She must have felt compelled to castigate the right out of fear of falling out of favor with the left. See what happens when liberals accidentally use common sense.

Posted by: Max Diesel at January 12, 2011 3:58 PM

"Not to mention that he was opposed to religion and described by at least one friend as a liberal."

One place reported how when a woman who read a poem about abortion in class he began to laugh and said the woman was a terrorist who killed her baby.

He was no liberal. Crazy yes, but I would not use Drudge as a Credible source, what does Beck think?

Posted by: Swazool at January 12, 2011 4:30 PM

Well ya can't use Drudge as a source as he doesn't actually write anything. His web page is a collection of links to stories he feels his readers will have interest in. The "source" is a live interview with ABC's Ashley Banfield on GMA. ABC is the source, OK? Another "attack the source" out of ignorance because the message isn't acceptable. You obviously don't like the messages put forth here either so why are you here? To agitate?

Posted by: steve22 at January 12, 2011 5:11 PM

There are a few agitators here.

Posted by: joe bernstein at January 12, 2011 6:18 PM

Actually, it is great to see one of the top stories on Drudge is how Chafee has banned talk radio for state workers. I think there is an underlying link to the "violent talk" radio, but everyone here knows he did this before the Arizon event even happened.

Posted by: Swazool at January 12, 2011 6:18 PM

Just another Wacky Wednesday at the ProJo with Froma in house, woo woo.

Posted by: dave at January 12, 2011 6:20 PM

swazool-you are correct,Chafee had it in for local talk radio going back quite a way.he spurned appearances at the very beginning of his campaign to go out west for a backrub session with that scumbag Bill Maher.
He sort of had to sit with Taricani and Rapelye and he managed to make Rapelye look smart.Taricani had him looking like a dunce.
Gump thinks he's too superior to converse with the local hosts.I get it that he and Cianci have bad blood,but in all honesty Cianci has repeatedly outlined the Chafee-Almond mutual aid society.
I have admiration for Linc Almond,and none of the things that were done were in any way unethical,just very cozy and sort of clubby.
Chafee doesn't articulate his thoughts very well.
The Arizona shooting incident had nothing to do with this.
He really pissed on his shoes this time.

Posted by: joe bernstein at January 12, 2011 7:25 PM

Harrop's rantings merely provide more proof of how deranged liberals are.
The laughable truth is the guys reading list, Mein Kempf and The Communist Manifesto, indicates he is a left wing nut, not a right wing nut.
Is she so stupid that this fact was overlooked? In other words, she really doesn't know what she is talking about? Typical of liberals.

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at January 12, 2011 7:26 PM

Harrop made several salient points. Here are three of them. All are ignored by contributors to this thread. All are factual. I am sure that sensible and thoughtful comments on the three will not be forthcoming.

1. Giffords’s recent Republican foe ran the following sicko notice: “Get on Target for Victory in November. Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly.”

2. A self-proclaimed defender of the “House of Liberty,” Jeff McQueen told NPR: “We have a choice of four boxes if we want to make political change in this country. We can go to the soap box, we can go to the ballot box, or we can go to the jury box, and hopefully, we won’t have to go to the bullet box.”

3. During the recent campaign, the Republican senatorial candidate in Nevada, Sharron Angle, spoke of “domestic enemies” in Washington. A Tea Party favorite, she added, “I hope we’re not getting to Second Amendment remedies.”

“As ye sew, so shall ye reap”

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at January 12, 2011 10:08 PM

All of the above(I'll take your word on #2 since I'm unfamiliar with him)may well be true.
None of them were the proximate cause of this individual shooting the Representative and all those other people.
A picture is emerging of an apolitical loner with a grudge against nearly everybody he encountered.
No matter how much you wish it were so,this was not a right wing talk radio,"vitiolic" speech inspired shooting.
When was the last time a political assassin kept firing into a crowd at random after shooting their target?
Anyhow,you conveniently ignore the hatred coming from the left.
There are mounting death threats against Sarah Palin.I hope no one takes her out,because that could trigger a massive amount of bloodshed.
Nobody these days is in much of a mood for compromise.
It's like the 60's.Except instant worldwide communications has brought with it a much greater sense of immediacy.The time span between action and reaction has been compressed exponentially.
I don't recall conservatives trying to blame anyone but John Hinckley for the attempt on Reagan.Turnes out Jodie Foster is gay!!Hinckley must be frothing at the mouth.
I know you probably like that tud Alan Grayson,but did you check out his campaign statements.
You take three Tea Party candidates and decide to generalize about millions of people.

Posted by: joe bernstein at January 13, 2011 5:41 AM

OldTiredLiberal there's just one problem with the examples you cite and those so called salient points from Frommy Harrop. NONE OF IT has any relationship to the shootings in Tucson.
There mere fact and it is a fact that liberals like yourselves have sought to exploit the murders 6 people and the injuring of a Congresswoman for the purpose of smearing and thus silencing your political opposition in this country speaks to the vile immorality of the hard left in this country.

“As ye sew, so shall ye reap”

Posted by: Tim at January 13, 2011 7:56 AM

joe and Tim

I am not blaming anything but hate speech.

What, in those quotes do you disagree with? Where in those quotes do you find any indictment of the accused shooter as a Right Winger?

joe, death threats are deplorable and to be condemned. I don't believe in capital punishment whether ordained by courts or vigilantes. You mentioned other individuals. I never did.

Tim, if there is an argument in what you wrote, please explain it.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at January 13, 2011 9:08 AM

We can all agree on one thing re: Froma.
At least she's not complaining about how people are dressed. She strikes me as a snob, no matter which side's politics she espouses at a particular moment.

Posted by: bella at January 13, 2011 10:39 AM

What I find funny is that you folks think the shooter's mental state somehow excuses the reckless rhetoric of the fringe-right. I got news for you, sane people don't go on shooting sprees.

The question is exactly that: how will the least sane amongst us respond to violent rhetoric? To say otherwise is clearly an attempt to deflect attention from what can only be described as irresponsible rabble rousing. This blog, no exception, with its hyberbole about enslavement (of white, middleclass, suburban folks) and revolution (link available but likely to be blocked by the spam filter).

Posted by: Russ at January 13, 2011 11:33 AM

Russ-when you acknowledge that Major Hassan acted as part of a worldwide Islamic terrorist movement,then maybe what you say here will have some relevance.Until then,you're just making "noise".

Posted by: joe bernstein at January 13, 2011 11:54 AM

You name a kid "Froma",and what kind of person do you expect the kid to become?

Posted by: joe bernstein at January 13, 2011 11:55 AM

I would say Major Hassan was inspired by similar irresponsible rhetoric.

If you want to hyperventilate about that loose association being some kind of global movement, that's fine by me (imho, that only benefits those criminals and their apologists by pretending they are some type of global movement in defense of their religion).

Posted by: Russ at January 13, 2011 12:20 PM

Hassan and McVeigh have a similarity.
I doubt Hassan was an "enlisted"member of Al Qaeda-both the extreme left and extreme right(like Aryan Nations)encourage the "lone warrior"who doesn't join a group because groups can be infiltrated.Louis Beam articulated this for White Supremacists and Anwar Al-Alaki for Muslim extremists.
OTL-you sound bitter and disappointed that you couldn't get to scapegoat the "right" for this.
Lemme tell you something-I see little qualitative difference between Ann Coulter,Michael(Weiner)Savage,Mark Levin,Keith Olbermann,Randy Rhodes,Mike Malloy,Ed Schultz,and Rush Limbaugh.
I actually don't like nationally syndicated talk radio/tv.I think it's too contrived.
The cable networks play mind games with constantly repeated sound/video bites-they're addressing complex issues in shorthand.Bad method to really inform people.
I realize you feel cheated of your ability to throw darts,OTL-have a nice hot cocoa and some ginger snaps old fella.

Posted by: joe bernstein at January 13, 2011 1:10 PM

Russ-I had to refresh my memory-Beam's theory is called "leaderless resistance"and his book on it has been translated into various languages-wanna bet Al Qaeda has perused it?
he wouldn't join Aryan Nations,probably because they ahd a high profile and were prone to infiltration.He was right.

Posted by: joe bernstein at January 13, 2011 1:14 PM

I wouldn't be surprised if they had. So if that's what you mean by a global movement, then I'm alright agreeing that Maj. Hassan was part of it.

Posted by: Russ at January 13, 2011 3:30 PM

That's more or less what I was saying-of course,oufits like Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines have also been co-opted by Al Qaeda,and they predate Al Qaeda by a long time,if you take the Moro precursor groups into account.
Similar situation in Indonesia,but the name of the group escapes me.

Posted by: joe bernstein at January 13, 2011 3:53 PM


Nidal Hasan had contact with Anwar al-Awlaki before the Fort Hood shootings, and al-Awlaki praised the Hasan's attack after it had occurred. Who are you telling us is playing an analogous role in the Tuscon shootings?

Posted by: Andrew at January 13, 2011 8:27 PM

Analogous, yes (similar in some but not all respects). The primary difference is that radicals don't pretend to be surprised when people act on their inflamatory rhetoric. Here, the fringe-right calls for armed revolution or the threat of it, then acts surprised when people get hurt.

Posted by: Russ at January 14, 2011 11:39 AM

Who is the member of what you call the "fringe-right" who corresponded with Jared Loughner before the shooting, or praised it afterwards, that connects him to some sort of movement, in the same way Nidal Hasan and Anwar al-Awlaki were connected?

Posted by: Andrew at January 14, 2011 8:34 PM
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