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SHOOTING: Media demagogues, Internet lies share blame

Letter by Jim Joy , University Place on Jan. 10, 2011 at 10:58 am with 23 Comments »
January 10, 2011 12:46 pm

What a horrible tragedy in Arizona. Like most Americans, I am shaken by this senseless act of violence. Among the dead is a 9-year-old child.

But an honest look into the motives of this cowardly killer cannot ignore the influence of media wags. The distorted thoughts he apparently held about our government (comments about government brainwashing; obsessive concern over political correctness) are topics frequently preached by radio and TV commentators.

These pompous and smug propagandists drop veiled hints about looming anti-governmental violence, inspiring unsophisticated villains to act out such deeds. Then they wash their hands, claim innocence and hide behind the flag.

But there is no hiding here. They have blood on their hands. This young killer was seduced by those who distort the truth and repeat the fabrications over and over.

But it is not only the media demagogues who are participants. Those who traffic in the political lies and fabrications that consume the Internet are equally to blame. While they might claim to only read and forward these diatribes, they participate in the crime by repeating the lie and, “A lie told often enough becomes truth.”

One of our country’s fundamental tenets is open discourse. But this right comes with the obligation to educate ourselves with the facts and to vote accordingly. Our Constitution was designed for a citizenry educated with the truth. If we simply rely upon the demagogues, we increase the likelihood that our country will become just another violent Third World country.

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  1. “This young killer was seduced by those who distort the truth and repeat the fabrications over and over.”

    The killer is the only one responsible for this act regardless of what anyone says on the radio, TV, newspaper, internet etc.

  2. NWflyfisher says:

    I recall after Maj. Nidal Hassan killed 13 and wounded 38 others at Fort Hood, TX in Nov 2009 (http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/military/article/Fort-Hood-shooting-victims-847227.php) President Obama advised the nation “We don’t know all the answers yet. And I would caution against jumping to conclusions until we have all the facts” (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/11/06/national/main5551286.shtml). The media echoed those words far and wide. I don’t recall whether the Commander In Chief led the nation in a moment of silence after that tragedy.

    The same media that echoed ‘caution’ after the Ft. Hood shooting immediately began blaming ‘right wing rhetoric’ after Jared Loughner killed 6 and wounded 14 Saturday in Tucson, AZ. Byron York writes of this at http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/2011/01/journalists-urged-caution-after-ft-hood-now-race-blame-palin-afte

    On Sunday, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik helped fuel the inflammatory rhetorick by stating during a press conference that the shooting was prompted by those on the right who fan political flames. However, when pressed in an interview (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvc_7Fb5T5M)
    admitted he had no facts or evidence to support that claim; that it was his opinion.

    “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” – John Adams, 1st vice-president of US 1789-1797; 2nd president of US 1797-1801

    “We don’t know all the answers yet. And I would caution against jumping to conclusions until we have all the facts”. – Barack Obama, 44th president of US 2009- present

    No doubt there are those, including several of the more partisan and vociferous posters on this Forum, who will disregard the advice of getting the facts first.

  3. “The distorted thoughts he apparently held about our government (comments about government brainwashing; obsessive concern over political correctness) are topics frequently preached by radio and TV commentators.”

    And those same topics are frequently debunked by those that have the where with all to simply question these same commentators, search for a source on the topic and find the truth.

    The individual appears to have had issues with mental illness. Still he will be held accountable for his actions. The commentators will continue to comment. It is we, the people who have the God given intelligence to separate fact from rhetoric.

  4. To the first two responders: Mr. Joy did not name names. Why is it that you are so quick to defend nameless individuals? Maybe a little guilt hiding in there?
    His comments are about a sick culture where responsible people ignore dangerously inflamed rhetoric. I remember an incident not too long ago where a Congressman yelled, “You lie” and there was very little response from his leadership.
    And flyman, your position is too obvious. Excuses just might become a thing of the past some day as the bodies slowly pile up.

  5. It IS interesting that our leaders are quick to urge a slowness to judge in certain situations but not in others.

    The scramble to attach this young lunatic to a poliltical party is pathetic.

  6. “sozo says:
    January 10, 2011 at 3:34 pm
    It IS interesting that our leaders are quick to urge a slowness to judge in certain situations but not in others.”
    Quote a few to refresh my memory.

  7. BlaineCGarver says:

    It’s disgusting how you people remove blame from the killer and place it at the feet of others! You can’t MAKE someone do anything…they do it on their own.

  8. “Quote a few to refresh my memory. ”

    The Fort Hood shooting comes to mind. If the media had practice the same restraint that was practice then you would not have the rhetoric that you have now. Nor would yu have the suppositions that have replace “facts” just to be the first to get out a story.

    The media should be embarrased.

  9. klthompson says:

    It has been widely reported that this killer’s favorite reading material contains Mein Kampf, The Communist Manifesto, and the writings of Karl Marx. If this makes him a conservative then the world has really turned upside down.

  10. Doesn’t anyone notice the difference between the Ft Hood episode and the Tucson one? A soldier killing other soldiers has little to do with left or right ideology. In the Ft. Hood case it was, I suspect, religion or ethnic based.
    There may prove to be a religious basis for the shooting in Tucson that has yet to be identified. The immediate suspect is ideology, though, because it is a white shooting other whites and my guess is that he did not know the religion of the little girl. Because she was there, her support was assumed. He shot anyone who was supporting Gabby. That paints a pretty broad picture for his motivation.

  11. You do know what Mein Kampf is don’t you?

    Hitler announces his hatred of what he believed to be the world’s twin evils: Communism and Judaism.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mein_Kampf

  12. “There may prove to be a religious basis for the shooting in Tucson that has yet to be identified. The immediate suspect is ideology, though, because it is a white shooting other whites and my guess is that he did not know the religion of the little girl. Because she was there, her support was assumed. He shot anyone who was supporting Gabby. That paints a pretty broad picture for his motivation.”

    Pure speculation sir… all current evidence points to a good olde fashion wackjob. The skull says so.

  13. “Pure speculation sir… all current evidence points to a good olde fashion wackjob. The skull says so.”
    Which is?………
    Be careful about what you write.

  14. “Which is?………
    Be careful about what you write.”

    Have you not been watching the news today? As of yet, their is no link to politics nor religon for the shooting.

  15. Of course, if this guy was a muslim we wouldn’t be talking about a nutjob, we would be calling him a terrorist….

    No remind me, why isn’t the word terrorist being used?

  16. My oh my! So many experts and so little fact. The rush is on to indict the conservatives and try to hang this on Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman or anyone else who hasn’t yet swallowed the koolaid. My advice to you liberals is to quit while you still have a little credibility. It doesn’t wash folks. You tried it with the Oklahoma bombings and most Americans didn’t buy it and it won’t work now. I don’t know of any conservative person who has an alter with human skulls, candles and is a known doper. On the other hand, I’m sure that the mold will fit a lot of leftists.

  17. Publilco, are you truly so entrenched in your own bias that you cannot acknowledge how we tip toe around some cases so as not to offend a race or religion, but have little problem leaping to wild presumptions about this case?

    That any of you think you can analyze this kid’s mind and motives from where you sit is ludicrous. Stop embarrassing yourselves.

  18. “Of course, if this guy was a muslim we wouldn’t be talking about a nutjob, we would be calling him a terrorist….

    No remind me, why isn’t the word terrorist being used? ”

    Since we are going there….

    Ft Hood… the initial reports should have stated that a gunman shot people…. period. Once it was confirmed that the gunman said “Allar Akbar” then that should be reported also. To use the word “terrorist” should come after an initial investigation and the dots are connected that confirm the motive of the shooter fit the FBI definition of a terrorist.

    Arizona… At this point, though the target is a Congresswoman, a tie to a political motive has yet to be made.

    If you are hearing the word “terrorist” being used by individuals then that is nothing more than a kneejerk reaction and rhetoric to grab a headline. I have heard the term “weapon of mass destruction” used in reference to the Glock with the extended magazine. That is nothing more than irresponsible, inaccurate rhetoric to elevate the discourse at a time when we all need to parse our words carefully and not piss kerosene on the rhetorical fire.

  19. we tip toe around some cases so as not to offend a race or religion

    If the rhetoric about Mexicans and Muslims that oftentimes fills these pages is “tip toeing” I would really hate to see heavy foot falls.

  20. I wasn’t talking about contributors on these threads, bBoy but about the general protocol of our culture at this time.

  21. I was using these threads as a microcosm for what is going on in our culture at this time. If you really think that politicians and media hacks are tip toeing around race and religion you have your head in the sand.

  22. Do you really think these threads reflect a microcosm of what’s going on in society?

    Based on my observations, I’d say that the majority of people choose to avoid political discussions and often don’t even know the names of key players in the political arena.

    Then, yes, there are the media personalities (on BOTH sides) who rake in the dough by being over the top. And their fans, many of whom represent the…

    …hotheads and self-appointed pundits who show up here.

    For those who want to avoid conflict of any kind and hate debate, many choose to go along with whatever they’re told to do to “keep the peace” which often includes tip-toeing around difficult issues.

    If you are currently teaching, bB, you may not be as in touch with “average c itizens” but I assure you, the exchange on this blog does NOT represent what I see happening in the real world.

  23. …hotheads and self-appointed pundits who show up here.

    Which category do you place yourself in?

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