A friend of mind chided me for being too quick to apologize about blaming Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann’s incendiary political rhetoric for the actions of Tuscon, AZ killer, Jared Loughner’s actions.
I stand by that apology. There was a great pile-on among the progressive community to demonize Palin for Loughner’s actions. In my opinion, there was no correlation.
However, my friend also pointed out the following article which speaks volumes to the entire debate about the current trend of political rhetoric and mainly, false equivalencies.
[Trigger warning for violent rhetoric of many different stripes.]
Both sides are, in fact, not “just as bad,” when it comes to institutionally sanctioned violent and eliminationist rhetoric.
An anonymous commenter at Daily Kos and the last Republican vice presidential nominee are not equivalent, no matter how many ridiculously irresponsible members of the media would have us believe otherwise.
There is, demonstrably, no leftist equivalent to Sarah Palin, former veep candidate and presumed future presidential candidate, who uses gun imagery (rifle sights) and language (“Don’t Retreat, RELOAD”) to exhort her followers to action.
There is no leftist equivalent to the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), a group which was created from the mailing list of the old white supremacist White Citizens Councils and has been noted as becoming increasingly “radical and racist” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which classifies the CCC as a hate group—and is nonetheless considered an acceptable association by prominent members of the Republican Party, including a a former senator and the last Republican presidential nominee.
There is no leftist equivalent to Glenn Beck, host of a long-running nationally syndicated radio show, former host of a show on CNN and current host of a show on Fox, best-selling author, DC rally organizer, and longtime user of eliminationist rhetoric, including equating universal healthcare to rape, joking about victims of forest fires being America-hating liberals, comparing Al Gore to Hitler, condoning the murder of Michael Moore, accusing Holocaust survivor George Soros of being a Nazi collaborator, joking about poisoning Nancy Pelosi, equating immigration reform with burning US citizens alive, publicly endorsing violent revolution, and winkingly telling his viewers not to get violent, all of which amounts to a speck on the tip of a very big iceberg.
There is no leftist equivalent to Ann Coulter, best-selling author and syndicated columnist, who has been a panelist on Fox’s Hannity 28 times and was on Hannity & Colmes an additional 18 times, who has been a guest multiple times on The O’Reilly Factor, Geraldo at Large, Larry King Live, Huckabee, Your World with Neil Cavuto, Hardball, and other cable news shows, has made appearances on The Tonight Show, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, The Daily Show, and Real Time with Bill Maher, and has co-hosted The View, and has also said that a baseball bat is “the most effective way” to talk to liberals, as well as: “We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too.” And: “My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building.” And: “In [Clinton's] recurring nightmare of a presidency, we have a national debate about whether he ‘did it,’ even though all sentient people know he did. Otherwise there would be debates only about whether to impeach or assassinate.”
- False Equivalency Watch, Cont’d (washingtonmonthly.com)
- Pawlenty distances himself from Palin’s crosshairs (washingtonmonthly.com)
- ‘McCarthyism’ it isn’t (washingtonmonthly.com)
- Pawlenty, Kennedy Knock Palin for Gun Imagery (cbsnews.com)
- Rachel Sklar Pushes Back Against Wingnut Radio Host Steve Malzberg’s False Equivalencies (crooksandliars.com)
- JCunwired: ThinkProgress ” Scarborough On Giffords Shooting: ‘Is This Not A Time For People, Like Sarah Palin…To Apologize?’ (thinkprogress.org)
- Gabrielle Giffords shooting: has the backlash damaged Sarah Palin? (guardian.co.uk)
- Tell Sarah Palin: Renounce violent political rhetoric (ynative77.wordpress.com)