Jan
12
2011

Harold Meyerson on Tucson and Right-Wing Paranoia

Washington Post columnist Harold Meyerson writes an important column today (1/12/11) about right-wing rhetoric and the Tucson shootings. Meyerson's point is that discussing certain symbols–like the Sarah Palin "cross hairs" map–makes little sense without understanding the paranoid worldview that is advanced by right-wing leaders and commentators like Glenn Beck. When folks like Beck and Erick Erickson use threats of violence in discussion flu vaccines and Census workers, it's an articulation of their worldview. The primary problem with the political discourse of the right in today's America isn't that it incites violence per se. It's that it implants and reinforces paranoid […]

Jan
11
2011

O'Reilly: The Real Problem Is MSNBC

Last night (O'Reilly Factor, 1/10/11), Bill O'Reillytalking to Brit Hume: O'REILLY: We have a network, an entire network that's built around attacking Fox News and right-wing people. That's all they do at MSNBC. They have nothing else. HUME: How's that working out for them? O'REILLY: It's not working out for them. But it does mean that I have to have 24-hour security. That I have to worry about my children being assaulted. OK? That's what it means. You talking about nuts? These people ignite those nuts all day long. I don't see the equivalency of talk radio. I said that […]

Jan
10
2011

With Short Memories, Violent Tone of Media Unlikely to Change

One theme in the coverage of the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffordsconcerns whether the tone of the political debate will change. That's probably going to happen in the short-term. A long-term shift is unlikely. There have been frequent allusions to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the nationaldiscussion that ensued at the time about violent rhetoric on right-wing talk shows. See Extra!'s 1995 article "AM Armies" for more background. Roughly 10 years later, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough convened a panel (4/27/05) to discuss talk radio extremism, in the wake of incendiary comments made by Air America's Randi Rhodes. As FAIR […]

Jan
10
2011

Violent Rhetoric and False Balance

Today in the New York Times Paul Krugman (1/10/11) suggests that we not pretend that "both sides" are responsible for toxic political rhetoric: Where's that toxic rhetoric coming from? Let's not make a false pretense of balance: It's coming, overwhelmingly, from the right. It's hard to imagine a Democratic member of Congress urging constituents to be "armed and dangerous" without being ostracized; but Rep. Michele Bachmann, who did just that, is a rising star in the GOP. …Listen to Rachel Maddow or Keith Olbermann, and you'll hear a lot of caustic remarks and mockery aimed at Republicans. But you won't […]