A day before Sarah Palin posted her response to the accusations of being complicit in the murders in Tucson, the Wall Street Journal printed an op-ed by Professor Glenn Reynolds: The Arizona Tragedy and the Politics of Blood Libel
and no media firestorm erupted. What a difference when Sarah Palin makes exactly the same argument.
has a good summary of the problem that the MSM has because of the blood libel it has spread regarding Conservatives and the Tea Party in general and Palin, Limbaugh, Beck and others specifically. He makes his point brilliantly with this photoshopped image:
The answer to Driscoll's question can be found in a column by Donald Luzatto, who wrote The rush to judgment
this morning which is partly incomprehensible and the parts that are comprehensible are wrong. Let’s take his comments in order.
When U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot and six others killed in Tucson, it took literally moments for politicians and pundits to start blaming each other.
This is simply, deliberately and maliciously wrong. Within moments politicians were not
blaming anyone. As the news broke the media was gettin it wrong
. Then the Media pundits
on the Left lost no time blaming the Right, specifically focusing on Sarah Palin and the Tea Party. The two at the forefront of the attack were Paul Krugman in the NY Times and Markos Moulitsas in Daily Kos. Following these attacks, the rest of the MSM followed suit with virtually every story including images of Palin’s map
which showed districts that were being targeted by conservatives in the last election for wins over Democrats. The implication was while there was no evidence that Palin pulled the trigger, (hint, hint, nudge, nudge) a map showing potentially vulnerable Democrat districts indicated by surveyor’s marks was actually an invitation for someone to kill Democrats. The members of the MSM, with their ignorance about guns were calling these marks the crosshairs on a gun sight and assigned the blame for the murders in Tucson, not on a deranged killer, but on their enemies on the Right.
We’ve carried some of that chatter on these pages because it was and is representative of the conversation going on, and we thought you should know.
There are lots of things the Virginian Pilot refused to print on its pages to let us know what's going on, things like the Mohammad cartoons that caused fatal riots worldwide. I have no knowledge of the process by which the Pilot decided to print Krugman’s blood libel on its editorial page; but if the ravings of Krugman was a vital part of the “conversation” so were the ravings of the killer, which the Pilot did not carry, or the response by Palin, which the Pilot did not print either.
Then there’s this:
Nevertheless, I’m sorry. Not for printing the finger-pointing pieces, but that this national conversation of ours has gotten so counterproductive, so destructive.
Have you ever seen a more perfect example of “it’s not my fault, it’s yours?”
The New York Times has been rightfully criticized for jumping, within hours, to the conclusion that the martial language of the right wing led to the shooting. It was an assumption unworthy of a thoughtful editorial board. Not because the tone of the right wing and the left aren’t worth criticizing. They certainly are. But because Jared Lee Loughner’s motives are so occluded by what appears to be a thorough mental illness that we may never understand them. Paul Krugman, a columnist for The Times, sadly connected similar dots.
Seeing that the vast majority of the people were not buying
the media narrative – that Right wing “eliminationist rhetoric"
in Krugman’s words - was to blame, Luzatto wisely decided to throw the NY Times under the bus. But he can’t help assuming, with evidence to the contrary, that the NY Times has a "thoughtful editorial board."
To help Luzatto out, are Loughner’s motives so occluded? Are the ravings of a mentally ill person who wrote “die bitch”
on a letter sent by his victim so incomprehensible? And what does that last sentence mean; the one about Krugman connecting the dots? Is Luzatto calling Loughner and Krugman both nuts, or are the dots that Krugman used to connect Palin to the murders legitimate?
Luzatto - and most of Palin's critics on the Left - has a problem with Palin’s use of the term “blood libel” even though Professor Alan Dershowitz
, no right winger he, has defended her use of the term.
If The Times’ editorialists and others actually believe the tea party set the table for Loughner, even if indirectly, then there is nothing left to say. If Sarah Palin and her supporters truly believe critics are persecuting her, then there’s no changing their minds.
What to make of this comment? There is a lot left to say if the NY Times continues its attempt to blame the Right for the murders. It is the right and the duty of anyone who values the truth and civility to point out that this is a “blood libel.” And if Palin’s critics, who are some of the most powerful figures in the media and the Democrat party, are smearing her with accusations that she is somehow responsible for the murders in Tucson are not persecuting her, what does actual persecution look like?
Some terms, like “blood libel” have become generic terms, like Kleenex or Xerox, despite efforts of their owners to protect their use. “Holocaust” is going the same way. The reason is simple; it’s a good descriptive term for an accusation that‘s so evil and out of bounds that it’s infamous. The attacks on Palin are of this nature and her use of the term was right and proper. Her use was also deliberate. Palin is a battler, unlike the typical career politician whose tenure in office depends on blandness coupled with the protection of incumbency. Think about how she got to be governor of Alaska. She battled both the entrenched Republican establishment and the Democrats to win the Alaska Governorship. Conservatives are thrilled to find someone who is willing to battle for them, who will not back down or apologize for the words they use. I’m thinking of one of a long list of Republicans who were accused of using the wrong words and thought that apologizing would make it go away:
Senator citizen George Allen who was touted as presidential material and was a well-respected Virginia Governor. No political figure who wants to reach the top will ever succeed if she allows her opponents to define her and who backs down when challenged. Palin will win because she’s not following the tried and true Republican path to failure.
Read the rest of Luzatto's column if you will
. It’s the kind of thing that Obama does well, having demonized his enemies either in person or via surrogates; he then gives a speech in which he rises above it all, laying the blame on everyone except himself.
One of the primary reasons for the acrimony is that the political class have failed
. They are failing to protect us from attack while making air travel a travesty. They are failing to protect the nation’s financial future. Schools are failing entire generations of children. Illegal aliens are crossing our borders by the millions while even more millions of jobs are outsourced and Americans are being thrown out of work. They have denied that programs like Social Security and Medicare are in the process of going broke. They have added a monstrous new entitlement that will only accelerate the process of national bankruptcy. They are responsible for creating a housing crisis which led to a financial panic with led to high unemployment as far as the eye can see. They have created energy policies that are driving the price of fuel ever higher. By preventing the development of domestic oil, we are funding the war effort of Muslim extremists. These same policies are turning millions of tons of food into an inefficient fuel additive while around the world food prices are skyrocketing. You may disagree, but the vast majority of the country agrees with me. For evidence, note that when the last Congress left town it had an approval rating in the single digits. No one likes them.
What do all these policies have in common? They are all Liberal prescriptions. The last election saw an historic repudiation of Liberalism and for the first time in several generations a truly broad based populist movement sprang up … the Tea Party. But Liberals are not going to allow their hands to slip from the levers of power if they can help it and the murders in Tucson were seized on as an opportunity to smear the Tea party and one of its leading lights – Sarah Palin – as dangerous enablers of murder. A decade ago it may have worked; talk radio was still young and the New Media was just being born. The Internet as a means of popular communication and dialog still had limited exposure. The NY Times was still setting the agenda for the old media and the alphabet networks. No more. The information and communication revolution lives. The Tea Party fought back … and to the despair of those whose voices were once the only ones speaking … it won.
Get used to it.
NOTE: This essay has been edited since first posted.