Few, if any, would condone the shooting and murder of six innocent people in Arizona on Saturday 9th January or the attempted murder of congresswomen Gabrielle Gifford by the deranged 22 year old Jared Loughner. Yet within hours of the shooting the American Left and its supporters and apologists in the media, both in the US and internationally, were exploiting the dead and injured for all they could by citing ‘hate speech’ and some of the slogans of the populist Tea Party movement as both cause and effect. The Right’s invective it seems may not have pulled the trigger but its words had, according to the Left, put the bullets in the chamber and thoughts of murder into the mind of an assassin.
Since that day, with absolutely no evidence to support their spurious claims, journalists, politicians, political opponents and mischief makers have leapt onto the incitement to hate bandwagon. Angry speech and violent metaphors are to blame for the actions of a 22 year old mentally deranged drug addict. Stick and stones may hurt, but now so do words and so much so that the hysteria is building up. Lawyers no doubt are looking to see if new legislation can be framed and the great mass of the politically correctly obsessed are framing a whole new lexicon of ‘tame and shame’ words and phrases to ensure that the verbal nasty is consigned to history, or least as spoken by the Right.
In the UK papers like The Guardian, The Independent and the Financial Times have hardly been able to contain themselves. The normally staid Financial Times, in fact, dived straight in on Monday with a news feature full of innuendo about how Sarah Palin, hate speech, and shooting rhetoric might all be responsible for the Loughners’ actions, but left it to a centre page feature; ‘Paranoia disfigures the Tea Party’ to really go on the attack.
Beginning with “When Gabrielle Giffords’ father was asked if his daughter had any enemies, he replied bluntly -‘Yeah The Whole Tea Party’ “. The article goes on to say that the Tea Party expresses its ideas in ‘wild language backed up with violent imagery’ and then attempts to besmirch the organisations Tea Party name as the act that sparked a revolution and as such its “foundation story is about the virtues of violent rebellion against an oppressive government” Ouch!
Then on Wedensday 12th Janaury the Financial Times was back for more, this time attacking Fox News and devoting an entire page to anti Palin, Fox, Tea Party and rightwinger vitriol, all somehow linked of course to the murder of six innocent people. Any joke or remark no matter how innocent or old was dragged up to re-enforce the articles reactionary nonsense. Fox News presenter Glenn Beck had once joked about ‘driving a stake through the heart of the bloodsuckers in the democratic Party’ and worse according to the FT, Fox is creating a ‘climate where a fringe group of extremists and mentally ill people are going to be encouraged to do something’.
The UK’s Independent newspaper hardly waited for the split blood to congeal before linking Sarah Palin’s now infamous ‘cross-hairs targeted’ election map directly to the killings, saying in a refrained, reasoned way that Sarah Palin was using ‘war language’ and was “even stupid enough to depict the community with cross hair over it’. Apparently “many intelligent people (for which read leftwing Independent reading types) are suggesting that Palin demands this behaviour (the shootings) when she uses the utterly base, gun slinging Republican rhetoric she has become known and hated for”. The front page rant ended with the words “we must. of course, attempt to slow the march of far-right rhetoric’ and know doubt replace it with liberal-left hysteria instead.
It was left though to the American hating Guardian newspaper, a paper that only a few years ago pompously wrote to the voters of Clark County, Ohio asking them not to vote for George Bush, to explain where all this anti Tea Party and anti Sarah Palin invective was going. Gleefully it conjectured “Just imagine how a Palin presidential campaign would now unfold … If, as those around her hope and pray, Giffords survives, she would need to do no more than appear on a platform or in a TV ad in the 2012 campaign to indict Palin”. This hysteria is nothing to do with stopping hate speech or caring for the victims of the Arizona shooting and everything to do with trying to stop the Tea Party bandwagon and land a massive blow on Sarah Palin and a couple of smaller ones on Fox News while they’re at it.
The unseemly rush to appoint blame where there was not only no evidence that the shooter had in any way been influenced by either Sarah Palin or the Tea Party movement, and who appears so far to be just your common or garden variety of deranged madmen, shows just how desperate the left are to keep the Tea Party and Sarah Palin out of power. They show themselves through their rantings to be not only desperate but shamelessly clutching at bloody straws and wringing every last drop of blood from the dead and wounded for use against their political opponents. Their relentless exploitation of these deaths may yet backfire for, as they say, people in glasshouses shouldn’t throw stones, or spent cartridges for that matter…