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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hijacking A Massacre

Best headline of the day, via The Daily Mail in Britain:
How America's elite hijacked a massacre to take revenge on Sarah Palin
The substance of the article makes points you have heard before regarding the murderous rampage by Jared Loughner:
Rahm Emanuel, Mr Obama’s former chief of staff and a ­figure compared to Labour’s Alastair Campbell, once said: ‘You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.’
And those on his side of the political divide have clearly seen the Tucson tragedy as an opportunity to score points and settle scores.

None more so than with Sarah Palin, a politician who is almost as divisive as the President. The former Republican vice-presidential contender has become a spiritual figurehead for many Tea Party supporters, but is loathed by many on the Left.
While the column itself says nothing new, the headline articulates a feeling many of us have.

When I first heard of the shooting, I did not immediately take to blogging.  As with most people, I wanted to find out what had happened, who was killed or injured, and who the gunman was.

Even after my first blog post at 3:22, more than two hours after the news first broke (times in link are 2 hrs behind E.S.T.), all I did was post information regarding the shooting as it became available.

But almost immediately, it became clear that there was a full scale attempt in the left-blogosphere to blame Palin. 

As far as I can tell, Matthew Yglesias of Think Progress was the first person to spread the so-called Palin target map at 1:45 p.m.  [see update below] The now infamous Markos Moulistas "mission accomplished, Sarah Palin" tweet did not take place until 2:19 p.m.  Yglesias' tweet was retweeted a total of 271 times and the image of the map he posted 883 times as of this writing.

By late afternoon on the day of the shooting, like much of the right-blogosphere, I began to address the Yglesias and Moulistas smears which were spreading like wildfire on the internet, and into the mainstream media.  Paul Krugman posted his column blaming right-wing hate speech and suggesting a Tea Party connection at 3:22 p.m., the exact minute of my initial informational blog post.

The massacre had been hijacked for political purposes not based on facts, but on a desire for retribution against Palin specifically, and the Tea Parties and conservatives in general.  A point I have made time and again, is that there was and is no evidence that the shooter ever saw the Palin map. 

The Palin connection was a complete fabrication created in the minds of Messrs. Yglesias, Moulitsas, and countless others with an axe to grind.

Rather than us focusing exclusively on people like Christina Green (image), the young girl murdered by Loughner, we had to deal with a full-out media assault intended to falsely pin the cause of the shooting on Palin, Tea Parties, and conservatives.

Of all the despicable aspects of this shooting, the conduct of the left-blogosphere and mainstream media in hijacking this event ranks just behind the murder and mayhem itself.

Update:  Here is a montage of anti-Palin death threats and other true vitriol spread throughout Twitter as a result of the false accusation that Palin's electoral map was connected to the shooting (h/t):

Update 1-13-2011:  The Palin map was referenced in another persons tweet at 1:31 p.m. that day, but as far as I can tell Yglesias was the first one to spread the map. (h/t)

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  1. It's amazing but not surprising. Never when this tragedy crossed the air-waves did I begin to wonder what party or what politician is to blame. It's simply ridiculous. Thanks for the post

  2. I would put the emphasis more on "establishment" than on "Democrat". David Frum seems to be on a personal campaign to make sure that this whole affair gets permanently imprinted with Palin's image. I heard him interviewed this morning on KABC where he was making very disengenuous suggestions that Palin has a responsibility to step up and show more sensitivity to the grieving families. As if anything she does makes a difference to the Entrenched but Flailing Establishment he is speaking for.

    The Republican establishment is NOT stepping up to diffuse these attacks on Palin and the Tea Party. They are just being cuter with their suggestions while keeping their distance.

  3. I have to think that democrats have been setting this up for months. Not that they knew this was going to happen but that given enough time something would happen that they could make into the narrative that they created. Remember the tearful Nancy Pelosi talking about how rhetoric in the past had created an atmosphere where violence took place?

  4. Loughner should've shouted "Allah Akbar," that way the left would've been much better about not jumping to any conclusions.

  5. It's very frustrating to see that every time someone posts a story about the entrenched elite, there are so many Republicans commenters who always jump in and narrow the point down to liberals and Democrats. Please add the other part of the liberal establishment to your arguments: the GOP establishment I refer to as "Assistant Democrats". Thank you.

    (We now return to the regularly scheduled program.)

  6. Speaking of hijacking the massacre, Peter King wants to make it a crime to carry a firearm with 1000 feet of him (HT: Instapundit). That's not how he phrases it, but the NY Republican Congressman's intent is clear.

    I'm taking a deep breath and, at least temporarily, forbearing to type the names I want to call King. At least temporarily, this child of refugees is forbearing to type what I think of authoritarians who call themselves conservatives.

  7. Here is arguably one of the most demented of all . . . some guy identified as Adam Fine, posting as ADAMcFINE on Twitter who readily admits that Sarah Palin had nothing at all to do with the shooting, yet he actually puts out a call for someone to shoot Sarah anyway!

    Though I'm certain that law enforcement in whatever State he lives in would be cautious about filing criminal charges against the guy for this, nevertheless that sort of very specific and brazen advocacy or solicitation of a violent crime seems pretty damned close to the line to me.

    It is one of literally scores of similar expressions by left-wing haters openly and quite explicitly advocating specific acts of criminal violence toward Sarah Palin and other conservatives, posted here on YouTube, (ht WolfFiles). But because he readily admitted she had nothing to do with the massacre shooting in Tucson, Arizona, and yet still advocates her murder, it just jumped off the page at me. It comes up near the end of that very disturbing clip. When I saw it, I was so taken aback that I had to go search Twitter to be sure. And there it was.

    I am just speechless.

  8. The hijacking was all over Facebook as well. Condolence and information posts were quickly innundated with comments about the politics meme. And that was before we knew the name of the killer, before we knew about his facebook page, before we even knew who the victims were.

    It was disgusting. And now they double-down instead of admitting they were.... wrong.

  9. "Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty this morning added to the political debate about the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords by taking exception to Sarah Palin's use of cross hairs on a 2010 election map."


  10. The highjacking has been so extreme, this is what Rush said about why the shooter has the deranged smile in the strange pic that came out yesterday (paraphrasing Rush):

    Well, wouldn't you be smiling if you killed 6 people and wounded 13 others and everybody in the Democratic Party is falling all over themselves to blame somebody except you?

  11. Professor,

    Does Sarah Palin have any legal recourse she can use against those people? Can she sue them for defamation? If not, what else can she do?

    They have to pay for this infamy, one way or another.

    In particular, I want for all of the evil heaped upon this woman and her family returned a thousand-fold upon Markos Moulitsas. He's the very definition of hate, if you ask me.

  12. Right you are about the "doubling down" neomom, including the ridiculous character currently serving as the Pima County Sheriff, Clarence Dupnik.

    As Professor Jacobson noted in this post below in reference to the Sheriff's interview with Fox News:

    ". . . Meghyn Kelly has forced Dupnik to admit that as of this afternoon, Dupnik had absolutely no evidence as to any connection between such allegedly vitriolic political rhetoric and the shooting."

    But that take down didn't stop the sheriff from pedaling his baseless trash talk elsewhere.

    In a significantly less probing interview, this time with Diane Sawyer of ABC News, he repeated his assertions.

    But this time, he did so with an assist from Sawyer. He was specifically responding to a criticism of the sheriff by Rush Limbaugh, which Sawyer brought to his attention.

    So he shot back by naming Rush as at least one of the probable projenitors of the current climate of violence, as a result, according to him, of people taking their "lead" from Limbaugh's political rhetoric.

    Sawyer read him one of Limbaugh's comments criticizing the sheriff, and then just stood there, nodding her head in agreement, obviously buying into this labeling nonsense of his, hook, line, and sinker.

    We also now know from interviews with his acquaintances that Jared Loughner reportedly has had an ongoing feud (at least in his own mind) with the Congresswoman that he shot on Saturday, since at least back in 2007.

    That obviously was long before anyone was focusing on Sarah Palin as a nationwide public figure.

    So that may also explain part of the reason the sheriff and his brand new enablers at ABC are switching over to Rush. He's simply been around longer.

    Note that one of the most laughable comments the sheriff makes in firing back, is that Rush "uses partial information, sometimes wrong information . . . ."

    You couldn't make this stuff up!

    Here's a guy in a responsible law enforcement position who spins out a whole baseless set of serious politically charged attacks aimed at others, all with absolutely no facts whatsoever to support his claims. And he is forced in an interview that he has nothing to back up his claims. But he turns right around in a friendlier interview and accuses Rush of using "partial information."

    This sheriff truly gives a whole new meaning to "bait and switch." And Diane Sawyer comes across as shameless.

  13. I think a heavy hitter like Demint needs to come out and say, in effect, "you continue to elevate a savage, deranged beast who murdered innocent people, we'll continue to pray for the victims and their families, but, we've got to get back to saving our Republic."

  14. Do not miss James Taranto's brilliant best of the Web today.

  15. Limbaugh is right. The Left can't beat us at the ballot box so they intend to destroy us outside the ballot box.

  16. Good news. The Arizona Republic has posted an editorial strongly taking the out-of-control Sheriff Dupnik of Pima County to task, telling him to do his job as a lawman and stop playing partisan politics.

    From the editorial:

    . . .

    "Enough attacks, sheriff. Enough vitriol. It is well past time for the sheriff of Pima County to get a grip on his emotions and remember his duty.

    With each passing hour, we learn more about the 22-year-old suspect. And everything we learn adds to the profile of a deeply troubled young man detached from reality. There is nothing to date that suggests any partisan motivation for his crimes, whether right-wing or left.

    Dupnik needs to recall that he is elected to be a lawman. With each additional comment, the Democratic sheriff of Pima County is revealing his agenda as partisan, and, as such, every bit as recklessly antagonistic as the talk-show hosts and politicians he chooses to decry."

  17. Interesting that in June the daily kos wrote:

    "Well, I'd argue that we can narrow the target list by looking at those Democrats who sold out the Constitution last week. I've bolded members of the Blue Dogs for added emphasis."

    A name on the list in bold - Giffords, Gabrielle (AZ-08)

    He also said: "Not all of these people will get or even deserve primaries, but this vote certainly puts a bulls eye on their district."


    Double standard? YOU BETCHA!!!

  18. the Entrenched but Flailing Establishment

    Should be: the Entrenched but Failing Establishment

  19. America's Enduring Strength
    by Sarah Palin on Wednesday, January 12, 2011


  20. Sarah Palin: "America's Enduring Strength"


  21. If the libs want to take it outside (of the ballot box)... that works for me.


  22. My mother-in-law called yesterday to say she didn't like Sarah Palin, "she's mean". She asked who is this "Glen Beck guy? He's nasty". I asked my wife, where all this was coming from? Well, she's been watching the coverage of the Arizona shooting on TV. She did not say, "oh, those poor people who were dead or injured, or that sweet little girl who was killed... No, she went right for Sarah Palin. Mission accomplished for the Democrats!!!

  23. Frankly this has nothing to do about party. I am a moderate and I hate Palin and everything she stands for. I think she is hated by the left the right and the middle. The only people who don't hate her are the people who are too dumb or too nice to do so. It is not about party at least for me. It is merely about knowing who you are and how public your life and the things you say or post are and then checking that before you post a map with cross-hairs on it. I am not saying there was a link. I am just saying she needs to (since she still hasn't) apologize for recklessly posting something with violent imagery and using violent rhetoric such as "don't retreat....reload".

  24. p.s. all of you people are doing the exact same thing the democrats did. That includes Mr. Jacobson, the writer of this article. You are just playing the blame game by assuming all democrats have this all planned out as a time to get back at the republicans. Of course we all care about those who died. We mourn for the loss that the families have suffered. The blame game only comes from the grief we feel. We feel someone must be to blame. I dont think it belongs solely to Palin. I hate the shooter far more than her. I am just tired of her silly stupid mistakes. If she wants to be someone taken seriously in the political world she still has a lot to learn.

  25. Sorry, @Adam, your argument is just completely disingenuous.

    Once again, go and read the comment posted above on this thread by commenter, Mo.

    Take the time to read the post he linked to, the one posted by Markos Moulitsas, at the Daily Kos back on June 25, 2008:

    Here is the link so you can just click on it, which was entitled:

    "2010 will be primary season

    by kos
    Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 09:45:23 AM PST

    Scroll down to the list of Democrat Members of Congress who Markos was politically attacking from the left.

    What Markos -- one of Sarah Palin's chief accusers on this issue -- said about those Democrats was the following:

    "Who to primary? Well, I'd argue that we can narrow the target list by looking at those Democrats who sold out the Constitution last week. I've bolded members of the Blue Dogs for added emphasis."

    "Target list . . ." Hmmmmmmm!

    Read on. The list, including several Members of Congress who Markos put in bold were ones he specifically said had "sold out the constitution" when they voted for final passage of H R 6304 on 20-Jun-2008, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008.

    You'll see among those names, this one:

    "Giffords, Gabrielle (AZ-08)".

    Then, notice what else Markos Moulistas said back in 2008 about those Democrats, including Rep. Gabby Gifford.

    "Not all of these people will get or even deserve primaries, but this vote certainly puts a bulls eye on their district."

    A "bulls eye", huh?

    Wait, wasn't what he and others like you have accused Sarah Palin of doing? And he quite obviously did it first, no?

    So Markos himself put a "bulls eye" on Representative Gabby Giffords way back in 2008!

    That illustrates the hypocrisy of those of you on the left who are now outrageously accusing others of complicity in murder, claiming that for Sarah Palin to cast a political campaign post in "metaphorical" military terms, as has been done by politicians, consultants and newspaper reporters in this country, and elsewhere for as long as anyone can remember, somehow now makes her in any way responsible for the tragic death of several people at the hands of an obviously insane person?

    Why should I not conclude that by trying to now give a literal meaning to Sarah Palin's obviously metaphorical characterization, you are simply being a hypocrite, just like the other accusers -- including good old accuser number one, Markos Moulitsas?