Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fire In A Crowded Theater

How many people have been killed in the last few months by domestic extremists? Well, I was about to write a post about that very thing but turns out TPM poster known as The Commenter Formerly Known As NCSteve pretty much covered all the ground I had in mind.

So my question is this. How many more murderous rampages by enraged rightists--whether executed or merely in the planning stage--are we going to have to endure before the traditional media is willing to acknowledge and address the obvious? How many people are going to die, and how highly placed will the victims have to be, before someone connects the dots and starts calling out the ever more violent, hateful and apocalyptic rhetoric of the likes of Coulter, Malkin, O'Reilly, Hannity and Savage as bearing some responsibility for creating this climate of insanity?

Raving mad rhetoric has been mainstreamed by right wing radio, cable news and, of course, the intertubes and to some extent even by elected officials. This rash of killings is not, as was posited on Hardball tonight, completely separate from any political party. It is lunacy that is absolutely predictably inflamed by talking points that are treated as just another point of view.

It’s clear that having our first African-American president, the economic climate and the repudiation of conservatism has combined to send some lunatics right over the edge. There’s no question of shutting down freedom of speech, but that doesn’t mean that the kind of hate speech that’s become so commonplace shouldn’t be much more seriously marginalized by mainstream media and strenuously criticized by mainstream political figures – Republicans and Democrats alike.

Also, I’m just wondering if Shep Smith (and others who receive them) are turning over those untold number of hate filled e-mails to the appropriate authorities? I assume that the Secret Service is already spending a fair amount of time at Free Republic where the legitimacy our our duly elected president is questioned with regularity. I just hope they’re taking every thread like that very seriously.

*Updated to add quotes and clarity


  1. The shootings today at the Holocaust Museum are the third this year by right-wing extremists, after Dr Tiller's murder and the shootings in Pittsburgh of the three policemen. Will conservatives ever own up to the hateful rhetoric that establishes the climate for this violence? Or will they continue blaming the victims?

  2. The third this year, but more than that in the last 12 months as the above referenced post at TPM outlines. It's not just the right wing that has to own up to it. Everyone in public discourse needs to, just as if it were the KKK that was holding forth on the radio each day. And of course, Republicans need to stop embracing hate-mongers like Limbaugh and Hannity.

  3. Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing until that speech gets someone killed, like has been happening more often then ever before.

    There is a Federal law against "incite to riot" and I would think that all those who are stirring up the right-wing extremists to the point of killing people could and should be held responsible for their hate speech.