In the aftermath of this weekend’s horrific shooting in Tuscon, I really can’t which I am more disgusted by…
The press falling all over themselves to be the first to declare Rep. Giffords dead. Story after story spewed forth from the Ordinary Ministers of the Media, citing no sources than each other, declaring her dead. Accuracy and integrity, be damned. The fact that family members may see these baseless reports never even entered into their minds. Disgusting. (Hats off to KOLD Tuscon for refusing to do so.)
In the absence of any real information, network after network filled the air with talking heads of various stripes spewing nonsense. One anchor said that “19 people shot meant an automatic weapon had to be involved and those are ILLEGAL!” Huh? Ever hear of an extended clip or maybe more than one gun? Another network had a doctor mouthing off about what kind of brain injury she must have, with no evidence at all. The lack of intelligence and the lack of humility is a bad combination. I wanted to throw things at the television.
But as bad as TV was, the interwebs was worse. I have never seen such a river of opportunistic vitriol. People on Twitter were disgusting. I followed the #Giffords hashtag for 30 minutes in hopes of getting the latest. What I saw instead was a rapid river of hate flowing faster than I could read it. I called Matt and read some of them over the phone. I stunned him into silence which, believe me you, ain’t easy to do.
But that was the interwebs, I consoled myself. But soon after the same hate made its way into TV and print commentary as well. Olberman, Krugman, et al. News agencies mention Sarah Palin in stories on Giffords a half dozen times for no reason. Unfathomable. In speaking about the rush off attacks on Sarah Palin, Glenn Reynolds makes a point about all the disgusting opportunists this weekend.
To be clear, if you’re using this event to criticize the “rhetoric” of Mrs. Palin or others with whom you disagree, then you’re either: (a) asserting a connection between the “rhetoric” and the shooting, which based on evidence to date would be what we call a vicious lie; or (b) you’re not, in which case you’re just seizing on a tragedy to try to score unrelated political points, which is contemptible. Which is it?
I understand the desperation that Democrats must feel after taking a historic beating in the midterm elections and seeing the popularity of ObamaCare plummet while voters flee the party in droves. But those who purport to care about the health of our political community demonstrate precious little actual concern for America’s political well-being when they seize on any pretext, however flimsy, to call their political opponents accomplices to murder.
Where is the decency in that?
Now some conservatives are falling into a trap by using scant information to try and paint the deranged loser gunman as a lefty. Don’t do it. Don’t be like them. He may be a lefty at the end of the day, but let the facts come out. At the end of the day, even if he is a Marxist, that really had nothing to do with it. I know some see it as a defense against the loony charges that he must be a tea-partier, but don’t do it. Don’t be like them.
Integrity. It comes down to that. In the rush to be first to news, in the rush to have titillating commentary, in the rush to score political points, and in the resulting rush to defend, so many threw their integrity right out the window.
We saw the worst aspects of human nature this weekend, and not just in Tuscon.