Gabrielle Giffords To Resign From Congress: Fox Nation’s Nauseating Response

A year ago this month, in a shopping mall in Tucson, Arizona, a shocking and tragic massacre occurred that took the lives of six people and wounded 13 others, including U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Giffords was shot in the head and has been fighting courageously to restore her health. She has been making what doctors and friends say is remarkable progress.

Nevertheless, today she announced that she will be resigning her seat in congress in order to concentrate on her recovery. It is an understandable and unselfish decision that balances the needs of her constituents and her medical care.

Sadly, some people, upon hearing this news, have a distinctly different reaction:

Fox Nation

That grotesque comment hardly needs any embellishment. I want to note that there were many comments that criticized this commenter and wished Giffords a speedy recovery. However, this is not the only comment of its kind and it isn’t the first time this has occurred. There were incidents where the Fox Nationalists advocated killing George Soros. Then there were the times that they called for Obama’s assassination. Last year Bill O’Reilly interviewed President Obama on the day of the Super Bowl. A commenter on that article said this:


As I said at the time, Bill O’Reilly is one of the biggest critics of hostile comments on blogs. He went so far as to say that Marcos Moulitsas (of DailyKos) and Arianna Huffington (of the Huffington Post) are as bad as Nazis because he found some objectionable comments on their sites. Somehow I don’t expect him to be similarly outraged by these cretins’ comments. But the frequency and predictability of these sentiments is appalling and disgraceful and should not go unnoticed.

Best wishes for a fast and full recovery, Gabby.

Glenn Beck Finally Comments On The Tucson Slaughter

It took 48 hours, but Glenn Beck, arguably the worst offender at being offensive, has finally commented on the slaughter in Tucson that killed or injured 19 people including a federal judge, a nine year old girl, and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Glenn Beck: Armed and DangerousFor the most part his message was a compulsory expression of condolences and a call for non-violence. This from someone whose daily sermons of apocalyptic terror have already inspired murderous acts by unstable individuals. It is notable that he only spoke to actual acts of violence and made no mention of the hostile rhetoric from which they can spring. That is if you don’t count his defense of right-wing media by characterizing criticism of the vilification in civic discourse as politicizing the tragedy. What’s more, his web page with this message featured a rotating gallery of images that includes the one to the left wherein he brandishes a firearm. Now, that’s perfectly legal, of course, but perhaps a bit insensitive considering recent events and the very subject of the page on which it appears. Even Palin felt compelled to remove her “Hit List” from her web site.

[Note] Beck has since removed the image of him brandishing a gun. That is a tacit admission that it was inappropriate, but I don’t expect that he will make an explicit admission, nor apologize.

Also included in his message was a bizarre defense of Sarah Palin that also served as an advertisement for his security provider. He introduced his remarks as being excerpted from his letter to Palin.

“Sarah, as you know, peace is always the answer. I know you are feeling the same heat, if not much more on this. I want you to know you have my support. But please look into protection for your family. An attempt on you could bring the republic down. Please call Gavin De Becker in Los Angeles. He is the guy that protects me. They are, bar none, the best.”

According to Beck it is Sarah Palin who is feeling the heat. She is the victim of Saturday’s massacre, poor thing. And if Glenn Beck thinks that an attempt on Palin could bring down the republic, his opinion of the republic is that it is pretty damn weak. Of course an attempt on Palin, or anyone, would be horrible, but our nation was strong enough to withstand a civil war; strong enough to lose four sitting presidents to assassination and numerous attempts on others; strong enough to endure the loss of 3,000 people on 9/11. It is stupid to suggest that an attempt on a former half-term governor/reality TV star would bring us down when those other events did not.

Beck should refrain from glorifying his elitist class of politicos as the foundations that keep our nation from crumbling to the ground and instead speak to the need for civil discourse in our country. We ought to be able to regard our political adversaries as people with whom we disagree, not mortal enemies. It does not help to call the President a racist or a fascist. It does not help to vilify people like Cass Sunstein as the “most dangerous man in America” or George Soros as a “puppet master” bent on destroying our economy and our nation. It does not help to fantasize about choking the life out of Michael Moore or beating Rep. Charles Rangel to death with a shovel. Nor does it help to announce that he is starting a revolution against those he vilifies as progressives, but who are really his fellow Americans. If he really believes in peace and love, he should practice it – for God’s sake.

As an aside, I was fully prepared with a knee-jerk condemnation of the product placement Beck included in his suck-up to Palin. However, Gavin de Becker & Associates, Beck’s security firm, has an article on their site titled: Media Fear Tactics. It is actually a pretty useful and entertaining commentary on the sensationalism of television news. Ironically, it describes pretty accurately the way Fox News presents their tabloid alternative to journalism. The article was clearly meant as a cautionary guide to shoddy reporting, but the Fox editors seem to have adopted as a style guide.

Hostile Intent: Right-Wing Media Doth Protest Too Much

Rarely have I seen such a desperate attempt to evade reality as has occurred since the shooting rampage in Tuscon. It would seem to be a fairly non-controversial notion that when a politician is targeted for assassination, the language that contributes to hostile discord ought to be carefully considered and avoided. The last thing anyone should want is another Jared Loughner. However, just raising that issue has caused politicians and pundits on the right to stiffen their backs and go on offense. They are taking such talk very personally. Could it be because they are harboring a latent guilt?

While the left has been responding to an horrific act of violence with calls to tone down the rhetoric, many on the right have assumed an attack posture. Keith Olbermann delivered a commentary yesterday wherein he included himself amongst those who have crossed the line. He apologized. There has been scarce reciprocation on the right. In fact, they have dug in their heels to assert that they will continue as if nothing has happened. Sarah Palin’s camp even contends that their notorious “Hit List” didn’t represent a gunsight’s crosshairs, but those on map. That might have been a little more plausible if Palin herself hadn’t referred to it as a bullseye.

So it should come as no surprise that Fox News would employ their propaganda web site, Fox Nation, to muddy the waters and absolve the right of any wrongdoing while tarnishing the left for observing the obvious. The Fox Nation presently has eleven articles that place the left in a bad light and/or polish the right’s reputation. Methinks they doth protest too much.

The Headlines:

  • Durbin Using Tragic Shooting to Silence Conservative Speech
  • A Colossal Failure of Journalism: Jared Loughner is crazy
  • Tucson Shooter and the Violent Rhetoric in the “Communist Manifesto”
  • AZ Dem Blames “Afghan Vet” for Shooting
  • DESPICABLE: NYT’s Krugman Blames Republicans For Giffords Shooting
  • NOW Blames Shooting on ‘Extreme’ Conservatives Opposing ‘Progressive Solutions’
  • PATHETIC: James Clyburn Blames Sharon Angle for Giffords Shooting
  • Tuscon Sheriff Politicizes Press Conference, Blames Talk Radio
  • Journalists Urged Caution After Ft. Hood, Now Race to Blame Palin After Arizona Shootings
  • Kurtz: Don’t Drag Palin Into this Horrific Mess
  • Dems Urge Obama to Pin Shooting on Tea Partiers

And it doesn’t stop there. On Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment, Jim Hoft, one of the most ignorant writers on a web site heralded for its ignorance, makes the ludicrous claim that “Democrats Plotted to Blame Tea Party for Slaughter.” Hoft’s justification for this “breaking” news flash was this paragraph from an article on Politico:

“One veteran Democratic operative, who blames overheated rhetoric for the shooting, said President Barack Obama should carefully but forcefully do what his predecessor did. ‘They need to deftly pin this on the tea partiers.'”

Did I mention that Hoft was ignorant? He is inferring from a single, anonymous source that a “plot” was in progress. And his inference is based on an opinion, not a plan. The source is suggesting what he thinks Obama ought to do, not what Obama, or any other Democrat, is actually doing. So there is no plot, just one guy with an opinion. And if this “operative” actually had access to the White House, or any group that could carry out this alleged plot, he would have given this advice to the President instead of a reporter from Politico.

What Hoft left out was the part where Politico reported this analysis from a senior Republican senator:

“There is a need for some reflection here – what is too far now?” said the senator. “What was too far when Oklahoma City happened is accepted now. There’s been a desensitizing. These town halls and cable TV and talk radio, everybody’s trying to outdo each other.”

The vast majority of tea party activists, this senator said, ought not be impugned.

“They’re talking about things most mainstream Americans are talking about, like spending and debt,” the Republican said, before adding that politicians of all stripes need to emphasize in the coming days that “tone matters.”

“And the Republican Party in particular needs to reinforce that,” the senator said.

I wonder why Hoft didn’t accuse this GOP senator of engaging in a plot to tone down the rhetoric as advised by most of the left. However, he did make the flat assertion that Loughner was “hardly a tea partier.” Apparently Hoft was unfamiliar with Loughner’s anti-government views, his opposition to immigrants and immigration reform, his advocacy of guns, and his opposition to the “2nd Constitution,” a rightist theme that regards the 14th Amendment’s securing of equality and birthright citizenship as unconstitutional. These are all views consistent with the Tea Party.

The truth is that the right is the only side that could plausibly be characterized as plotting anything. Hoft’s own column for Breitbart is evidence of that. And did the Fox Nationalists really need eleven articles to push their narrative? Then there is Judson Phillips, founder of the Tea Party Nation, who explicitly urged his followers blame liberals for the attack on Rep. Giffords. He wrote to his followers that…

“The hard left is going to try and silence the Tea Party movement by blaming us for this. […] The left is coming and will hit us hard on this. We need to push back harder with the simple truth. The shooter was a liberal lunatic. Emphasis on both words.”

The right is on a mission to wash their hands of any accountability for violence that is all too predictable. It would be much easier if they were to take the position of the GOP senator above who understands that this is the time to be thoughtful about what we say and the impact it may have on the mentally wobbly. Unfortunately, that is not the path the right is headed down.

It has been over 32 hours since the shooting in Tuscon and Glenn Beck, arguably the worst offender at being offensive, has not made a single public statement. There is nothing on his web site – no tweets – not even an expression of condolences. And you can rest assured that he will return to the air Monday with a delusional conspiracy theory for what he thinks happened in that Safeway parking lot. I can hear it now…..

Beck: Over the weekend there was a horrible crime committed against a United States Congresswoman. She is still clinging to life, but a judge, a young girl, and several others were killed.

Now, if you were watching the liberal media you may have come away thinking that this was the work of a conservative or a Tea Party member. I can assure you that nothing could be further from the truth.

Here’s the truth. Here’s what only I have been able to uncover through dogged research. Here’s what the media is afraid to tell you. Rep. Giffords was killed in order to silence me and other conservative broadcasters. That’s right. This was a liberal plot to create an environment where people would be calling for harsh rhetoric to be stopped.

Top down, bottom up, and inside out. The progressives are thinking all the time about how to stifle our message, and they know that by making a martyr of Rep. Giffords they can demand that we shut our mouths and crawl off into a corner. They can accuse us of inciting people to violence. And they think that will cause us to keep quiet about their plans to destroy America and demolish our moral culture. That’s why they sent their mole, Loughner, to the supermarket on Saturday. Some of my voices…I mean sources…are telling me that Loughner was seen with Van Jones and Cass Sunstein going over plans to take over the media.

But we aren’t going to let that happen, are we? We will remain strong because we know that only by eliminating our enemies can we live in peace.

Now, remember, I don’t want anyone to engage in violence. Even though the progressives are determined to see your future, and that of your children, blown apart and ruined for all eternity, you must not react violently. That’s what they want you to do. So even though they are going to put an end to the American Dream and cause our society and our economy to break down so badly that we will be praying for death rather than live in the socialist hell they want to create, do not become violent. Got it. Just get ready to suffer and prepare your kids for suffering like they have never known. Watching the whole world sink into depression and slavery is certainly no reason to resort to violence, is it? Well, is it? If you believe, like I do, that America is exceptional and worth preserving, then you know what to do.

And by the way, be sure to pick up a copy of my new book, “Reading Between the Lies.”

You read it here first.

[Update] Beck lived up to my speculation. On his Monday Fox News program he said:

“The solution, in this case, is to silence the opposition […] shut down the right […] How do you shut them down? You say it’s hate speech.”

As I suspected, Beck exploited the massacre to whine about the tragedy as a conspiracy to silence him and his rightist comrades.

[Update II] The right is now openly defending hate speech. Jack Shafer, editor at large of, posted an article titled: In Defense of Inflamed Rhetoric
The awesome stupidity of the calls to tamp down political speech in the wake of the Giffords shooting.

Shafer’s article is really a demonstration of his own awesome stupidity. He argues that there haven’t been enough episodes of violence to justify the criticism of incendiary language. He is ignoring the numerous examples – from Dr. Tiller to Byron Williams to the Holocaust Museum to the Marine recruiting station to the gas line tampering at a congressman’s home. How many examples does Shafer need before he becomes concerned? But the real stupidity in his column is this passage:

“Any call to cool “inflammatory” speech is a call to police all speech, and I can’t think of anybody in government, politics, business, or the press that I would trust with that power.”

Nobody – repeat NOBODY – has suggested that inflammatory speech be criminalized. This is an invention of Shafer’s twitchy imagination. The matter is in the hands of the speakers, politicians and pundits, to be responsible and/or accountable. Free speech is not a shield from criticism of what is said. It extends to the critics as well. And when Shafer says that “violent imagery is a good thing” he illustrates just how idiotic and counterproductive right-wing hate mongers (like himself) can be.

[Acclaim for News Corpse] Keith Olbermann tweeted: “Deft and accurate summary of Right Wing Media in full-fledged panic and utter denial.” Thanks Keith.

Gabrielle Giffords: A Victim Of Violent Fox News/Tea Party Rhetoric?

There was a shooting today in Tuscon, Arizona that has taken several lives and has left a United States Congresswoman struggling to survive. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), is out of surgery and is clinging to life. Sadly, Judge John Roll and several others who have not been identified (including a ten year old girl) have already been pronounced dead.

Tea CrusadesWhile there are some disturbing components to this story (itemized below) it is way to soon to attribute motives in this particular case. However, it is not too soon to reiterate the predictable danger that results from irresponsible and violent language that has become far too common in recent years. Fox News has been at the forefront of this trend, permitting their top personalities to engage in dialogue that is overtly hostile, as well as promoting the most vile elements of the Tea Party.

Bill O’Reilly’s labeling of Dr. George Tiller as “Tiller the baby killer” may have played a part in Tiller’s murder. Glenn Beck’s relentless condemnation of George Soros and the Tides Foundation was cited as inspiration by a man who was apprehended after a police shootout while he was on his way to kill Tides and ACLU personnel. Sean Hannity refers to his audience as “Tim McVeigh wannabes” to thunderous applause. Liz Trotta joked about “knocking off” President Obama.

But the risk is not limited to direct threats as those listed above. The tone of many Fox News hosts and analysts is just as dangerous. They cavalierly describe their political adversaries as radicals, communists or fascists who are deliberately destroying America and blaspheming God. What do they expect people to do upon being terrorized by that sort of delusional peril?

I want to emphasize that the facts to follow are not necessarily connected to the gunman in today’s news. But they are notable nevertheless for how they illustrate potential risks due to the sort of anti-social behavior that is encouraged on Fox News.

Rep. Giffords was targeted by the Tea Party and their AstroTurf benefactors Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks.

Glenn Beck attacked Giffords with his co-host calling her a moron for her support of renewable energy in the military.

At a recent event held by Giffords in Arizona, police were called after an attendee dropped a gun.

Giffords’ office was vandalized just hours after she voted for the health care reform package.

Giffords’ opponent, GOP/Tea Party candidate Jesse Kelly, held an event where supporters were encouraged to “Get on Target for Victory in November Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly.”

Also killed was Federal Judge John Roll, who had received numerous death threats after ruling to allow a case involving illegal immigrants to go forward.

Giffords was one of the politicians to whom Keith Olbermann made contributions, leading to his three day suspension from MSNBC.

Sarah Palin (“Don’t Retreat – Reload”) put Giffords on her Hit List.

Joyce Kaufman, talk show host and aide to Rep. Allen West told a Tea Party rally: “If ballots don’t work, bullets will.”

GOP/Tea Party Senate candidate Sharron Angle said: “If this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies.”

And perhaps most poignantly, Rep. Giffords father, Spencer Giffords, 75, wept when asked if his daughter had any enemies. “Yeah,” he told The New York Post. “The whole Tea Party.”

I repeat, these may have no connection to today’s shooting. But they are indicative of a problem in the media that must be addressed. There have been plenty of other acts of violence whose connection to this sort of rhetoric is well documented. And there have been credible warnings about just this type of tragic event.

To be clear, I am not calling for any kind of censorship. I am calling for responsibility on the part of the press, and absent that, accountability. The people who deliberately use incendiary language to fire up their followers cannot get off scot-free when the predictable consequences occur. It could not be said better than how Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik put it in a press conference addressing the shooting this afternoon:

“When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous,” the sheriff said. “And unfortunately, Arizona I think has become the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”