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Around The Web: Tucson Shooting Used To Score Political Points?

Reut Cohen |
January 11, 2011 | 3:59 p.m. PST

Opinion Editor

Do people on the left or the right monopolize heated political messages? (Creative Commons)
Do people on the left or the right monopolize heated political messages? (Creative Commons)
In the wake of the attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, it has emerged that the gunman - 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner - purposely targeted the representative, a member of the Blue Dog Coalition. Loughner, however, isn't talking.

Although little evidence exists to indicate that the shooter maintained a coherent, rational ideology, some have cast Loughner as a fringe conservative, perhaps indoctrinated by Tea Party politics, who took Republican campaign imagery to heart.

On his YouTube Channel, the alleged shooter cites "The Communist Manifesto" and "Mein Kampf" among his favorite books. Loughner’s YouTube channel is filled with anti-government and anti-religion ramblings in which he attacks U.S. currency and belief in God. In other videos, Loughner discusses dreams and contends that most people are illiterate in Arizona. Loughner's ideas are so convoluted as to render them nearly incoherent.

In recent days, Sarah Palin, Sharron Angle, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and other political pundits and hopefuls have come under fire.

But some say the blame game has gone too far. On boards, for instance, commentators have been quick to point out political movements opposed to the George W. Bush presidency were no strangers to violent imagery and rhetoric.

Pundits argue the tragedy in Tucson, perpetrated by a what appears to be a mentally unstable man, has been used to score political points.  

Here's what they have to say:

Chris Cillizza for The Washington Post notes that, according to the Pima County Registrar of Voters, Loughner was a registered Independent who did not vote in the election last November. Cillizza adds Loughner's lack of a political affiliation may suggest the violent attack on Giffords was not derived from a fixed Democratic or Republican ideology.

Rich Lowry for The National Review illustrates apparent hypocrisy surrounding crosshair metaphors by posting the cover of this Saturday's New York Post which featured Peyton Manning.

104.1 talk radio host Jon Justice rejects Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik's blame of heated political rhetoric for the Tucson shooting. Justice argues the sheriff should step down from his position.

Pundit Michelle Malkin uses some choice words to describe the alleged shooter, ultimately suggesting the shooter, who she characterizes as a fringe left-wing nihilist, has more in common with Jane Fonda than Sarah Palin.

Brit Hume, Fox News senior political analyst, chastises the political left for engaging in a habit of equating "disagreement with liberals and liberalism with hate" and further laments the attempt to regulate speech.

Joel Meares sat down with Martin J. Medhurst, Distinguished Professor of Rhetoric and Communication at Baylor University, for the Columbia Journalism Review to discuss the use of metaphorical violence in political speech. The professor says no real difference exists between speech of left-wing and right-wing movements.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

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