I Hate This Shit

I really can not stand bullshit like this:

Jim Adkisson of Powell, Tennessee was the man with his finger on the trigger. He had mental health problems, and a hard and bitter life. He apparently left a letter explaining that he hated the church for its liberal beliefs and opinions. And the church had a sign outside indicating it welcomed gays and lesbians.

Who really killed those Unitarians? Was it the preachers who spread hatred and intolerance? The politicians who court and flatter them instead of condemning their hate speech? The media machine that attacks liberals, calls them “traitors” and suggests you speak to them “with a baseball bat”? The economic system that batters people like Jim Adkisson until they snap, then tells them their real enemies are gays and liberals and secular humanists?

If you ask me, it was all of the above.

You killed them, Pat Robertson. You killed them, Pastor Hagee. You killed them, Ann Coulter. You killed them, Dick Morris and Sean Hannity and the rest of you at Fox News.

Why not throw in Enron, Dick Cheney, and Rick Santorum?

Every time there is a tragedy, some jackass is out there trying to exploit it, attempting to validate or air their petty political grievances. Usually it is the gun nuts, explaining that if only they had been packing heat in that church/grade school/bar/government building only xxx number of people would have been killed instead of yyyy. This time, however, we are expected to believe that pundits and big mouths are responsible for this massacre.

Just stop. The details are just becoming clear about this tragedy, and I assure you- the blame lies with Jim Adkisson, not Pat Robertson. So knock it off. Crazy people do crazy awful things.

*** Update ***

For a different take, Dave Neiwert says this violence is the culmination of years of bullshit from these folks. Maybe I am being naive, but I still think this is just a crazy sick man.






247 replies
  1. 1
    calipygian says:

    I have to disagree somewhat. Thats like absolving Hutu Power radio of any responsibility for the Rwandan genocide. There is no proof that the DJs or station management wielded the machettes, but there is amble evidence that they provided the atmospherics that allowed the genocide to happen.

    I’m not saying that Hannity, Rush, Pat Robertson, etc. are encouraging genocide, but they certainly are providing the cultural space for crazy people like Adkisson to snap in.

    When Ann Coulter says that someone should put rat poison in John Paul Stephen’s creme broule, you don’t think that there is at least one nut ball out there who will take it seriously?

  2. 2
    4tehlulz says:

    I look forward to Rush’s, Savage’s, and Hannity’s mature discussions in the light of the discovery that this was a fan.

  3. 3
    i am aware of the irony says:

    You do understand the temptation to show up the same people who would screaming about international islamonazi brown terror if the guy’s name was Jamal ad-Kisson, though, right? It’s the angry bed-wetters on the right who are whistling right past this, except, I’m sure, to poke fun at the odd addle-brained anonymous commenter or obscure unread far-left paranoid blog.

    Yes, it’s a tragedy, and like any tragedy, the usual human fungus springs up to make a living off of it. But that doesn’t mean it should be excused as the act of a single crazy person when millions of people are continually stoked into frothing paranoia by a mix of useful idiots and cynical world-beating asshole political operators.

  4. 4
    SpotWeld says:

    By all accounts, up until the point this guy pulled the trigger he was the target audience for Rush, Ann, and all of them: An angry, middle-aged, white male who was angry at the government.

    I know I may be just making things worst, but I’ll bet that by the end of the week at least one far right blog will post the question “Why hasn’t asked what the churches responsibility in all this is.” It’ll probably be followed by a mocking note on how the church was a “no gun zone”.

  5. 5
    calipygian says:

    I know I may be just making things worst, but I’ll bet that by the end of the week at least one far right blog will post the question “Why hasn’t asked what the churches responsibility in all this is.” It’ll probably be followed by a mocking note on how the church was a “no gun zone”.

    You don’t read the comments section at Malkin’s place, do you?

    Been there, done that. Already.

  6. 6
    El Cid says:

    If I thought there was little chance that this was about to be replicated by more sad, unhinged right wingers, I’d be pretty hip right now for lectures on how to talk about it.

    But since I think that a President Obama, who is black black blackety black secret Muslim, I don’t foresee this as the last such possible incident.

  7. 7
    Elvis Elvisberg says:

    This article is definitely over the top.

    But propaganda dedicated to creating hatred of some “other” can have nasty effects. This isn’t the first time in world history that it’s happened.

    If he had killed cement truck operators because he hated cement, that would be his own private insanity. But this was an outgrowth of a communal insanity. No one but Adkisson bears the blame for the murders. But there’s a whole bunch of wealthy propagandists out there who created the culture that stoked his hatred.

    And, of course, there is no counterpart on the left. Sean Hannity is considerably more influential, and worse for political discourse, than William Ayers.

  8. 8
    Punchy says:

    You are completely wrong on this, IMO. You must not listen to Limbaugh and Hannity (I do). These guys don’t just spew RW talking points; they vociferously excoriate “liberals”. Blame them for everything. Blame them for soliders dying (very emotional), gas prices (huge monetary stress), social decay (sensitive in Bible Belt and South), etc. Those will lesser control of their emotions are easily moved to see “liberals” as the cause of everything wrong everywhere at all times always. Dangerous.

    IOW, they purposefully incite such hatred. They live for pissing off liberals and brainwashing their listeners into such vitriolic rage. I’m just surprised it took this long for one of their’s to go into action.

    If you don’t believe me, try listening to Hannity for a week. It’s surreal.

  9. 9
    SpotWeld says:

    You don’t read the comments section at Malkin’s place, do you?

    I can barely get though the comments over at RedState. What is with that guy and his fascination with “ka-click”, doesn’t know that’s shooting rage slang for a guy who loves his guy a little too literally. (More usually directed at the guy who is too impatient while waiting for everyone else to finish the string so he repeated “clears” his automatic” to everyone’s annoyance.)

  10. 10
    smiley says:

    Speaking of comments at Malkin’s place, via C&L:

    You know what I think? He didn’t hate liberals. He hated Christians. He wanted to leave the impression that he is conservative who hates liberals, however, to discredit conservatives.

    Evil.

  11. 11
    georgia pig says:

    While this particular ocmment is over the top, is this all that different than a guy strapping on a bomb and blowing himself up in a mosque in Mosul? That guy is probably a nutcase, too. The problem is that no one talks about this type of terrorism in the US, and how it’s nurtured by the Savages and Coulters that validate such paranoia and legitimize the use of violence.

  12. 12
    Mr. Moderate says:

    I think these people setup an environment that will generate one of these aberrant people every once in a while, but to claim that is their intention (as in the case of the Hutu Power Radio, is disingenuous. I think that Rush, Hannity et cetera are horrified at this as much as anyone. The problem is that they won’t use that as a lesson to why they should stop dividing us for political and financial gain.

  13. 13
    calipygian says:

    You are completely wrong on this, IMO. You must not listen to Limbaugh and Hannity (I do). These guys don’t just spew RW talking points; they vociferously excoriate “liberals”.

    Ann Coulter has several times explicitly called for the murder of political opponents.

    Blowing up the New York Times building? Murder a sitting Supreme Court justice?

    In her 1998 book on Clinton, Coulter wrote:

    In this recurring nightmare of a presidency, we have a national debate about whether he “did it,” even though all sentient people know he did. Otherwise there would be debates only about whether to impeach or assassinate.

    Actually, there was one small item I think Falwell got wrong regarding his statement after 9/11 that “the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians — who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle — the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say, ‘You helped this happen.’ ”

    First of all, I disagreed with that statement because Falwell neglected to specifically include Teddy Kennedy and “the Reverend” Barry Lynn.

    I could go on and on. That there are people who don’t look at Coulter’s shtick as a set of instructions and not some sort of nightmarish, sick performance art designed to turn a buck doesn’t strike me as unusual.

  14. 14
    The Moar You Know says:

    You’re right, it’s just Jim Adkisson’s fault, and the people who have been egging him on for years, smearing liberals with such terms as “traitors” and calling, on a daily basis, for their execution, have absolutely nothing to do with it.

    Riiiggghht.

    I wasn’t around here for the Bush years, John, so I missed out on a lot – but I’ll say this, this is the first truly stupid thing you’ve written that I’ve read.

  15. 15
    Ivan Ivanovich Renko says:

    Let me ask you, JC-

    The constant “jokes” about killing the evil libruls has nothing to do with this one lone deranged nutjob doing his thing, right?

    But would said nutjob have gone into a church— a church famously dedicated to peace and community, mind you– and done his evil bit if the Conservative Movement hadn’t gone and lost its collective mind?

    The estrangement of movement conservatives from any semblance of truthfulness has been often and well documented in recent years, ranging from the tumescent falsehoods peddled by Limbaugh, Coulter, Bill O’Reilly, Fox News, and the rest of the right-wing crowd, to the up-is-down Bizarro Universe perpetrated on the public by Michelle Malkin in defending the internment of Japanese Americans and claiming that liberals are responsible for the degraded state of our national discourse.

    Finally– do you believe this is the last such attack we’ll see from the unhinged Right? Obviously this guy wasn’t.

  16. 16
    b. hussein canuckistani says:

    I’m flashing on The Fisher King, in which a shock-jock DJ talks a psycho into gunning down yuppies in a fancy restaurant and then tries to make amends for the wrong he has done. Does anyone think any of the right-wing pundits who have been ranting about the evil of liberals and the necessity of killing them feel any guilt about what has happened?

    I’m think specifically of Rush “”I tell people don’t kill all the liberals. Leave enough so we can have two on every campus — living fossils — so we will never forget what these people stood for.” Limbaugh here, but just about any of them could fit the bill.

  17. 17
    AkaDad says:

    They are destroying the institutions and traditions that made the country great. Everything liberals try to fix gets worse. – Rush Limbaugh

    After 20 years of lies, I’m surprised there hasn’t been more violence.

  18. 18
    harlana pepper says:

    Crazy people need help. Liberals want to help them, self-described ‘conservatives’ want them to suck it up cuz somehow it’s their fault.

    What have they done about mental health in this country? How many people would still be alive today if the ‘crazy people’ had received the help they needed?

    This guy exploded. Maybe he would not have sought help anyway, I have no idea. But I’m thinking of other shootings and massacres brought on by frustration of living in a fucked-up society.

    Not making excuses for the man. But doesn’t it just seem more practical to defuse the proverbial ticking time bomb as opposed to watching the clock and letting it blow?

  19. 19
    harlana pepper says:

    PS, shhhhh, it’s teh crazy people that the righties are targeting. Just sayin.

  20. 20
    El Cid says:

    Right wing ideology obviously has nothing to do with this because you have just as many individuals on the liberal and left side going out and murdering people, so for every deranged nut shooting up Unitarians in their church and white supremacist killing a black or Latino person or homophobe beating some gay person to death you have an equal number of leftists going out and murdering, um, you know, um, all those conservatives they kill.

    It’s simply a case of individual derangement and the political lines they fall along are random, correct?

    After all, um, Bill Ayers, and uh, you know.

  21. 21
    Chris Johnson says:

    Yeah seriously. Can we leave that part of the discussion off the table if the guy HADN’T explicitly said he hated those people because he thought they were liberals?

    How much more direct do you want it? Truth must sting.

    Ranting about how liberals are traitors that should be hunted and killed has consequences! oh noes!

  22. 22
    Krista says:

    Just stop. The details are just becoming clear about this tragedy, and I assure you- the blame lies with Jim Adkisson, not Pat Robertson. So knock it off. Crazy people do crazy awful things.

    Nobody here is saying that the blame doesn’t lie with Jim Adkisson, John. He’s the one who pulled the trigger, and he is responsible for his own actions. That HuffPo post was over-the-top.

    That being said, we do need to recognize that this did not happen in a vaccuum. That his anger was fed, and fed well, by those who make their living off of perpetuating hatred of liberals. It would be awfully nice if Hannity, Malkin, Limbaugh et all paused for a moment of self-reflection and asked if they are part of the problem, as opposed to part of the solution. If for one second, they could do that, maybe this awful divisiveness could stop.

    And you know what the irony is? Conservatism has become so goddamn narrow, and such a warped thing from its origins, that a sizeable percentage of people who would have been defined as conservatives 40 years ago are now defined as liberals. Anybody who thinks the government needs to stay the hell out of our bedrooms, for example, would have been considered a conservative then. Now, only utter belief and faith in the Daddy State, FYIGM, perpetual war, God, American Isolationism, and the Republican Party will allow you to keep your bona-fides as a conservative.

    You could live and die by fiscal conservatism and small government. You could have those words tattooed on your right ass cheek and name your kids Barry and Goldwater. But if you question anything the Republicans do, or if you’re not all that keen on getting a shitload of American soldiers killed and sinking the U.S. economy while we’re at it, then you’re a stinking, traitorous, anti-American liberal. And according to Hannity, Limbaugh, Malkin, and many of those who listen to them, you’re the enemy, and America would be a lot better off if you weren’t around.

    THAT is the shit that you should be hating, John.

  23. 23
    Zifnab says:

    Every time there is a tragedy, some jackass is out there trying to exploit it, attempting to validate or air their petty political grievances. Usually it is the gun nuts, explaining that if only they had been packing heat in that church/grade school/bar/government building only xxx number of people would have been killed instead of yyyy. This time, however, we are expected to believe that pundits and big mouths are responsible for this massacre.

    Ultimately, I’m with you John. Everyone likes to tell us how if only we’d get rid of video games or gave everyone a tommy gun or stopped listening to rap music or went to church more often or less often or listened to Keith Olbermann over Bill O’Reily or Bill O’Reily over Larry King, then all the violence in the world would magically disappear.

    The guy was off his meds. You know what would have saved him and his victims? Getting the guy back on his meds. Had he been listening to Snoop Dog and Kayne West, maybe he’d have shot up an old folks home full of white registered Republicans. Had he played too much GTA4, maybe he’d have come out guns blazing against random street people. Had he gone to a small town college, perhaps he’d be taking his guns into some professor’s lecture hall. Either way, we’d just be looking at a different flavor of dead people.

    Saying it was those horrible insert media source here who pulled the trigger would be like saying that Columbine was caused by John Carmack or bowling.

  24. 24
    Fr33d0m says:

    Sure, the blame is Jim Adkisson’s. He is the one that pulled the trigger on the gun. He’ll go to jail for a long long time, be someones bitch for the rest of his life….

    The discourse from those blamed as well as others on the red side calls on people to do this. Why? Do you honestly believe that they think nobody will do it? Are they that stupid?

    So please try to tamp down all hate including your hate of blame for the likes of Billo for Jim Adkisson’s inclination to use a gun. They did ask for the blame after all. (just wait till they gloat over it).

  25. 25
    Genine says:

    I have to disagree with you here, John.

    While the piece is over-the-top, it does have a point. People who create and foster these divisions (and not just Hannity, Rush, et al. This problem has been going on for millennia) do contribute to such actions. Its how such divisions work- you dehumanize “the other”.

    We all do it to some extent, we all contribute to it. I try not to, though I fail at times. Yes, some conservatives excel at it. But I’ve heard and seen plenty of liberals do it, too. They don’t do it on radio or television, but I hear it everyday person to person. It all helps to contribute to the “us vs. them” mentality.

    Mr. Moderate Says:

    I think these people setup an environment that will generate one of these aberrant people every once in a while, but to claim that is their intention (as in the case of the Hutu Power Radio, is disingenuous. I think that Rush, Hannity et cetera are horrified at this as much as anyone. The problem is that they won’t use that as a lesson to why they should stop dividing us for political and financial gain.

    I agree with Mr. Moderate. I don’t think they consciously intended this to happen. On a deeper level, I’m sure they did not want this to happen. On the in-between levels, I think they know that such a thing could happen as a result of their “calling for it”. But I don’t think they’re aware of that, so they probably won’t learn anything yet.

  26. 26
    garyb50 says:

    Absolutely right on, JC. We all live in an impervious ballooney bubble driven solely by our own brain juice.

  27. 27
    Loviatar says:

    You guys are talking to someone who use to be part of the rightwing “verbal” bomb throwing crowd. So of course, John is going to be hesitant to blame the Limbaughs, Hannity and Coulter’s of the world because then he would have to blame himself and acknowledge the harm he caused in the past in helping to encourage and emotionally fragile man to commit an outrageous act.

    Once again, John why did you vote for Bush twice?

  28. 28
    jrg says:

    Everyone likes to tell us how if only we’d get rid of video games or gave everyone a tommy gun or stopped listening to rap music or went to church more often or less often or listened to Keith Olbermann over Bill O’Reily or Bill O’Reily over Larry King, then all the violence in the world would magically disappear.

    Right. Let me know when sexually explicit and violent rap music starts getting played on the public airwaves, like Rush and Savage do. People have a right to listen to whatever they want, but doesn’t it strike you as a little strange that the FCC cares more about Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” than the right-wing shock jocks that routinely (and knowingly) lie on the air and call for violence against thuh liburuls?

    This time, however, we are expected to believe that pundits and big mouths are responsible for this massacre.

    As someone on another blog (C&L I think) pointed out yesterday, you can’t randomly call people and say “Hi, this is God, I’d like you to kill the president”, and hope that eventually you get lucky and find a psycho.

    I’m going to make two predictions here 1) as conservatives lose more and more ground on their idiotic “culture wars”, these attacks will become more common (see Birmingham, 1963). 2) In the interest of self-preservation, the psycho that attacked the liberal church will be saying that Rush made him do it.

    I’m all for free speech, but the use of public airwaves should come with some responsibility. Shock jocks should not be able to knowingly lie without issuing corrections, nor should they incite violence. If it’s fair for Rush, or Coulter, or Hannity, then the FCC should allow the most violent 50cent song to be aired, along with violent speeches from Islamic imams.

    This is not about free speech, this is about the use of public airways to spread hate and lies.

  29. 29
    John Cole says:

    You guys are talking to someone who use to be part of the rightwing “verbal” bomb throwing crowd. So of course, John is going to be hesitant to blame the Limbaughs, Hannity and Coulter’s of the world because then he would have to blame himself and acknowledge the harm he caused in the past in helping to encourage and emotionally fragile man to commit an outrageous act.

    Or, alternately, you are looking at someone who has spent a decade reading studies about mass media effects who might be a touch hesitant about x causing y behavior blanket statements. Nowhere have I said these folks were not an influence on this man. That is not, however, the same as claiming that these folks caused this man to kill these people.

    I assume all you jackasses are going to start a petition to ban GTA IV, as no doubt it is causing people to commit crimes and kill people.

  30. 30
    Krista says:

    Not fair, Loviatar. I was reading John even when he was still drinking the Kool-Aid, and while he was often belligerent, usually disgusted, and occasionally dismissive, he was never, ever hateful towards liberals. He saw them as adversaries, not enemies. So save your bitchy sniping for someone who actually deserves it.

  31. 31
    Zifnab says:

    Absolutely right on, JC. We all live in an impervious ballooney bubble driven solely by our own brain juice.

    No one held Mr. Adkisson down and forced him to watch Hannity and Colmes. Rush has millions upon millions of listeners and we manage to get by day-to-day without waves of white collar middle-aged viagra-enraged balding middle class couch potatoes storming our liberal churches with guns a-blazing.

    You just can’t pin this on the wingnut crowd like this. It’s the same sort of stupid demagoguery that leads to the Clinton / Lieberman crusade against children’s toys and scary jungle music.

  32. 32
    garyb50 says:

    And, of course, this is utterly meaningless:

    “Jim Adkisson, the man who shot two people to death in a Tennessee Unitarian church this week because he was angry at “liberals and gays,” had an array of right-wing books at his home. Inside his house, “officers found ‘Liberalism is a Mental Health Disorder’ by radio talk show host Michael Savage, ‘Let Freedom Ring’ by talk show host Sean Hannity, and ‘The O’Reilly Factor,’ by television talk show host Bill O’Reilly.”

  33. 33
    Krista says:

    Nowhere have I said these folks were not an influence on this man. That is not, however, the same as claiming that these folks caused this man to kill these people.

    I assume all you jackasses are going to start a petition to ban GTA IV, as no doubt it is causing people to commit crimes and kill people.

    Right, but in your post, when you said, “This time, however, we are expected to believe that pundits and big mouths are responsible for this massacre.”, it did come across as you absolving those people from any responsibility, which I believe is why so many people took issue with it.

    I think when you get down to it, that we are all in agreement that Adkisson was responsible for his own actions, but that the hate-mongers certainly didn’t help matters any, and that it would behoove them to look at what it is that they are contributing to the social discourse.

  34. 34
    Zifnab says:

    People have a right to listen to whatever they want, but doesn’t it strike you as a little strange that the FCC cares more about Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” than the right-wing shock jocks that routinely (and knowingly) lie on the air and call for violence against thuh liburuls?

    Absolutely. But this is one of those “deregulation is better” situations. The FCC is a crock of shit. Always has been. I’ve got no stomach for censorship in American media.

    But noting the bias – that Howard Stern gets shoved off to satellite radio while Rush and Savage are allowed to jerk off on air to their hearts’ content – doesn’t necessarily suggest we need more thought-police running around and clamping down on our airwaves.

    I’m all for free speech, but the use of public airwaves should come with some responsibility. Shock jocks should not be able to knowingly lie without issuing corrections, nor should they incite violence. If it’s fair for Rush, or Coulter, or Hannity, then the FCC should allow the most violent 50cent song to be aired, along with violent speeches from Islamic imams.

    This is not about free speech, this is about the use of public airways to spread hate and lies.

    Yeah… um… no. The public airwaves aren’t called public because they are reserved for only people saying things you want to hear. And if we were to start censoring out the liars from the airwaves, we’d need to ban half of McCain’s campaign commercials.

    People have the right to lie. They have the right to do it on air, in public, over general use facilities. They can lie jokingly or straight to your face with a smile. That’s one of the pitfalls of Freedom of Speech, but its one we’ve accepted as better than the alternative. I really don’t want some government agency determining what “the truth” is and who is allowed to disseminate it.

  35. 35
    MBunge says:

    “Or, alternately, you are looking at someone who has spent a decade reading studies about mass media effects who might be a touch hesitant about x causing y behavior blanket statements.”

    The problem is that if you’re not willing to make “x causes y” statements, you’ll get nowhere. Timothy McVeigh was clearly someone who’s madness was nurtured by “government is the enemy” right wing rhetoric. But because no one was willing to say “x causes y”, we never had any real discussion or consideration of that issue in the mainstream.

    Mike

  36. 36
    Loviatar says:

    Genine,

    I agree with Mr. Moderate. I don’t think they consciously intended this to happen. On a deeper level, I’m sure they did not want this to happen. On the in-between levels, I think they know that such a thing could happen as a result of their “calling for it”. But I don’t think they’re aware of that, so they probably won’t learn anything yet.

    Why do you give these people the benefit of the doubt?

    Have they not proven themselves over the past 20+ years (since Reagan) to be criminals, have they not proven that they will say and do anything to achieve their goals. What makes you think they haven’t consciously decided that egging on their more fragile members to commit horrendous acts is not only good for business, but also good for the cause.

    The Republican Party got horribly twisted sometime around Reagan’s election and I would not put anything by todays members.

    Saying all of that, as one of my favorite bloggers said in one of my favorite posts “I Miss Republicans.”

  37. 37
    Loviatar says:

    Krista,

    Go back and take a look at his Hillary Clinton posts for a view a little John’s “hateful” posturing.

  38. 38
    jrg says:

    I assume all you jackasses are going to start a petition to ban GTA IV

    Video games are regulated, John. Ever notice the “MA” label? Why is it necessary for us to put warnings all over rap albums and video games, yet guys like Rush can use public airwaves to blatantly and repeatedly lie and call for violence against liberals?

    Besides, everyone knows that video games are “make believe”, but when people hear something on talk radio or the news, they are more inclined to believe that what they heard is true.

    Rush and Hannity are “make believe”, just like GTA IV, but illiterate conservative listeners don’t seem to understand that they are listening to nonsense. That is the fundamental difference between Rush and GTA.

    I’m fine with these shock-jocks staying on the air. With MMA recording them, they do more harm to their cause than good. That said, at the beginning of every Rush segment, there needs to be a disclaimer: “Everything you hear on this show was made up. No fact checking occurred in the making of this program”.

  39. 39
    kid bitzer says:

    all the same, i am totally in favor of arming the unitarians.

  40. 40
    Ivan Ivanovich Renko says:

    I assume all you jackasses are going to start a petition to ban GTA IV, as no doubt it is causing people to commit crimes and kill people.

    John, I don’t think you’re listening.

    You’re right that Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter and all the rest didn’t make this guy use his gun– they just told him where to point it.

  41. 41
    Zifnab says:

    The problem is that if you’re not willing to make “x causes y” statements, you’ll get nowhere. Timothy McVeigh was clearly someone who’s madness was nurtured by “government is the enemy” right wing rhetoric. But because no one was willing to say “x causes y”, we never had any real discussion or consideration of that issue in the mainstream.

    No. That’s still bullshit. McVeigh had his political ideology inspired by right wing rhetoric, but he wasn’t any less violent than 60s-era Weathermen or 80s-era militant Greenpeace activists. Just because he was right-wing violent doesn’t mean his political ideology caused him to embrace fertilizer bombs over letter-writing campaigns or street protests.

  42. 42
    Genine says:

    I’m all for free speech, but the use of public airwaves should come with some responsibility. Shock jocks should not be able to knowingly lie without issuing corrections, nor should they incite violence. If it’s fair for Rush, or Coulter, or Hannity, then the FCC should allow the most violent 50cent song to be aired, along with violent speeches from Islamic imams.

    That’s a slippery slope. I think people can say whatever they want to say. We just have to get to the point, as a society, where such rhetoric will be ignored or ridiculed. That will take some time and some work, but I think it can be done.

    Making people not say certain things, doesn’t make the problem go away. It just causes it to fester.

  43. 43
    Sinister eyebrow says:

    I think that this guy was going to go out an hurt someone no matter what–either himself, his family, coworkers, etc. The right-wing radio cranks who advocate violence against liberals, gays, the ACLU (the list goes on) simply drew the target and pointed him in that direction.

    It should be an object lesson in the consequences of such rhetoric. While it doesn’t ask any specific person to commit an act of violence, it creates the target and invites everyone to vent their rage and frustration on it. The violent rampages that result, while carried out by erratic and deranged individuals, are entirely predictable and have been repeated time and again over the past 25 years (See McVeigh, Timothy; Rudolph, Eric; The Order; any number of individual hate crimes). Don’t forget to go back and look at some of the more heinous of these crimes are held up as heroic examples of martyrdom or striking back at evil liberals, secularism, or big government (Eric Rudolph, Tim McVeigh).

  44. 44
    AIMAI. says:

    Look, much as I love JC I’ve got to say this is absurd. The guy was a vietnam vet, passionate reader and listener to anti liberal, anti gay, and anti progressive propaganda and he took his anger and his fear out on people he had been taught to hate. He wasn’t “crazy”–crazy would have been shooting up elm trees to stop elm blight–he was angry, disaffected, and the community to which he felt he belonged urged him to see his problems as coming from liberals/gays/etc… Sure Rush et al have millions of listeners who haven’t yet snapped and taken Rush/Coulters/Malkins advice that the only thing standing between the US and utter destruction are armed bands of angry white guys. But as El Cid points out the hard times are just a ‘comin and when/if we get Obama in the White House lots more of these guys (the ones who don’t have jobs, the ones who are a little crazy, and the ones who aren’t utter cowards) are going to go to the mattresses. Read Dave Neiwert’s work on the various right wing groups in this country. They are all composed of more or less sane con men at the top with fragile, hysterical, followers at the bottom. The con men rake in the money while giving the followers a steady stream of messianic, end times language about how they and all they hold dear are “under threat” from liberals, students, hippies, women, etc… And every time one of these guys snaps and actually acts out on the fantasies that are broadcast to him every day? We have to hear about how it was “one guy” and we’re “overreacting” and “correlation is not causation.” No, of course not. But *causation is causation.* When a guy leaves a note telling you why he did something you have to have some pretty strong contrary evidence to tell us that he *didnt’ do it* for those reasons. If this guy wasn’t influenced by the people he was reading and the sense of urgency, fear, anger, and powerlessness that they instilled what did cause it?

    aimai

  45. 45
    RJ Eskow says:

    Nice, thoughtful, introspective analysis of my Huffington Post piece. But here’s some food for thought:

    The article you link to is entitled “Rampage Attributed to Hatred of Liberalism,” and it pretty much proves my point. So do the facts that have come out since.

    So other than your eloquent insights about “hating this shit” and “bullshit” – harsh much? – you don’t so much present a counter-argument as provide supporting evidence.

    In some people’s minds, events happen in a vacuum. Nothing – not even a nonstop media barrage – influence’s an individual’s behavior. I suppose Middle Eastern terrorists aren’t influenced by Islamist rhetoric, either. They’ll just do what they’re going to do, no matter what’s said or done around them.

    I don’t happen to agree. Thanks for the link to yet another article that supports my position.

    Thanks for that, anyway.

  46. 46
    montysano says:

    John, I don’t know where the line is between “being responsible” and “bearing some responsibility”. Rightwing radio certainly bears some responsibility, esp. if it’s true, as noted above, that the shooter listened to rightwing talkers and had a house full of their books.

    The filth that is spewed on these shows is the Two Minutes Hate writ large. In our local market, we have Boortz from 9-11 AM, Limbaugh from 11-2, Hannity from 2-5, Laura Ingraham from 7-9, Mark Levin from 9-11. I work with people who, every single day, listen to Boortz, Limbaugh, and Hannity in their offices. Get in to a political discussion with these folks and it’s readily apparent the effect this trash has on them.

    Do they bear some of the blame for Adkisson pulling the trigger? The answer has to be “Maybe, but we don’t really know.” John’s answer of “No way, knock it off” doesn’t cut it.

  47. 47
    jrg says:

    People have the right to lie. They have the right to do it on air, in public, over general use facilities.

    Fair enough, but Rush’s idiot listeners have the right to know that they are being lied to. People seem to think that if something is broadcast, it has been subjected to a level of scrutiny and fact-checking. That is false.

    There needs to be a disclaimer at the beginning of every segment that says “This is a live broadcast. No fact checking occurs for this program, and this program does not issue corrections for incorrect information”.

    Regardless, this conservative who went on a rampage would have done it somewhere else had Hannnity, et. al. not pointed him in the direction of the liberals. No sane person would do what he did.

    We just have to get to the point, as a society, where such rhetoric will be ignored or ridiculed. That will take some time and some work, but I think it can be done.

    You’re right. This kind of thing hurts conservatives far more than liberals. The world is changing, and one day people will look at this kind of terrorism with the same sort of disgust that we have now for lynchings or the Birmingham church bombings.

  48. 48
    John Cole says:

    Video games are regulated, John. Ever notice the “MA” label? Why is it necessary for us to put warnings all over rap albums and video games, yet guys like Rush can use public airwaves to blatantly and repeatedly lie and call for violence against liberals?

    And thank god for that! Before we labeled video games, the very existence of our society was in danger. The bodies of the victims of video game violence were stacked so deep in the streets that you needed stilts to get around. Why, one of the main reasons that Humvee’s are so popular is that no other vehivle had the torque, traction, and clearance to get through the carnage.

    But then, our savior Tipper Gore rescued us all, and as soon as we started labeling video games, the violence completely stopped.

    Go back and take a look at his Hillary Clinton posts for a view a little John’s “hateful” posturing.

    Shorter Loviator- “words scare me.”

    Also, Elvis shakes his hips in a provocative manner. SCANDALOUS.

  49. 49
    montysano says:

    You’re right that Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter and all the rest didn’t make this guy use his gun—they just told him where to point it.

    Win.

  50. 50
    A Mom Anon says:

    Pundits have a right to their free speech. But,nowhere in the Constitution does it say they have the right to become millionaires and media moguls while exercising those rights.

    The airwaves are supposed to belong to the public. These people have had free reign for too long. Being allowed to lie and advocate for the death and destruction of one’s fellow countrymen shouldn’t be a career path.

  51. 51
    John Cole says:

    PS- Jodie Foster should be in jail.

  52. 52
    John Cole says:

    So other than your eloquent insights about “hating this shit” and “bullshit” – harsh much? – you don’t so much present a counter-argument as provide supporting evidence.

    Shorter Eskow- “You used four letter words, so you proved my point.”

  53. 53
    Genine says:

    Loviatar Says:

    Genine,

    I agree with Mr. Moderate. I don’t think they consciously intended this to happen. On a deeper level, I’m sure they did not want this to happen. On the in-between levels, I think they know that such a thing could happen as a result of their “calling for it”. But I don’t think they’re aware of that, so they probably won’t learn anything yet.

    Why do you give these people the benefit of the doubt?

    Its my personal philosophy that I think people are fundamentally decent. They just get screwed up along the way.

    Have they not proven themselves over the past 20+ years (since Reagan) to be criminals, have they not proven that they will say and do anything to achieve their goals. What makes you think they haven’t consciously decided that egging on their more fragile members to commit horrendous acts is not only good for business, but also good for the cause.

    There are some people like that. But there are others who go along with them, not exactly conscious of why they are doing it. They may give reasons, but those reasons lack logic and coherence. That suggests to me that they are reacting out of some misguidance and not introspective.

    The FEW who may incite violence, intentionally, manipulate those that do not. If I pop off at everyone and call them all criminals or say how bad they are, I am just adding fuel to the fire. I would be contributing to the consciousness that gave rise to such assholes in the first place, imo.

  54. 54
    gil mann says:

    OH MY GOD you guys I have the CRAZIEST THEORY.

    Y’know how people say that violent video games and gangsta rap cause violent acts, and we’re all like, no, that’s not how it works, violent people just naturally gravitate toward media that scratch that itch, thus creating an illusion of causality?

    DUDE. (sound of bong being hit, coughing) I bet this is like TOTALLY LIKE THAT.

    Yes, I agree this sick fuck was probably pushed over the edge by right-wing talk radio. Sorry, but it’s not my goddamn business to worry about how far out on the edge you are and what needs to be curtailed in order to keep you from being pushed all the way over.

    Well, at least we get to have the twelve billionth iteration of this ridiculous argument. So at least those people didn’t die in vain.

  55. 55
    Atlliberal says:

    John,

    You are right , but only to a point. The murderer is responsible for the deaths, but at the same time, what the right wing media have been attempting to do for years is to dehumanize “liberals” and “the left” to the point where in his sick mind this was justified.

    I strongly believe in the right to free speech. I will fight to protect it even (especially) when I disagree, because it is one of our country’s core values. But there are limits. You are not alowed to shout FIRE in a crowded theater (unless there’s a fire) because it would nedlessly cause harm to others. When you are fed a steady diet of the hateful, false rhetoric that these people peddle, it’s only a matter of time before some sick person takes it literally.

  56. 56
    Nikki says:

    McVeigh had his political ideology inspired by right wing rhetoric, but he wasn’t any less violent than 60s-era Weathermen or 80s-era militant Greenpeace activists.

    I’m not sure I agree with this. Greenpeace and the Weather Underground were more about property damage than the loss of life. McVeigh intended to kill.

  57. 57
    Genine says:

    The airwaves are supposed to belong to the public. These people have had free reign for too long. Being allowed to lie and advocate for the death and destruction of one’s fellow countrymen shouldn’t be a career path.

    Unfortunately, people like to listen to it and won’t appreciate being told that they can’t- for good reason. Who likes to be told what to do? What would be better to is addressed why does our society buy into it? Why do we like to hear it? That’s what interests me.

    No one could make a career of it if no one was listening.

  58. 58
    AkaDad says:

    “We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed too.” – Anne Coulter

  59. 59
    The Other Steve says:

    Honestly, I think this Adkisson guy reminds me more of the Unabomber, than any other group. The guy was nuts. Go read the Unabomber’s manifesto to see what he railed against.

  60. 60
    Zifnab says:

    Fair enough, but Rush’s idiot listeners have the right to know that they are being lied to. People seem to think that if something is broadcast, it has been subjected to a level of scrutiny and fact-checking. That is false.

    Do you know how many fact checking and Rush-debunking sites exist on the internet? We’ve got scores of people who just sit around all day doing oppo-research against each others’ political parties. The smear jocks regularly get dragged on national TV for a media beating because Savage said he didn’t believe in autism (who the fuck cares?) or Beck asked an elected Congressman whether he was a terrorist (why am I not surprised?) or Hannity called Obama unAmerican (that man sports a 10 foot woody for the word “American”) for the hundred millionth time. There is absolutely no excuse for someone to claim, “Well I heard Rush say X and no one disagreed with him, so I guess its true.”

    Besides, Rush et al built their audiences up doing exactly what you want to do to him – except he turned his vitrol on the national media. His whole act is about harassing the “drive by media” and bitching about how the evil MSM is brainwashing people. How are his complaints any different than yours? Who is Joe Blow from Peoria going to believe? It’s always been a toss up.

    What you are really asking for is good journalism, and no amount of government regulation will ever give us that.

  61. 61
    The Moar You Know says:

    Your video game analogy is false, John. We make Rockstar put warning stickers on GTA IV and we try to restict sales of it to minors as we (society) believe that it has deletorious effects on young, impressionable minds (we can argue the merits of that another time – right now, that’s the reality of the situation). Rush Limpballs, Michael Weiner and the rest of the Two Minutes Hate crowd have no such restrictions because our society has not deemed the contents of their programming harmful. And perhaps that needs to change.

    aimai’s point is well taken and is, IMO, central to the debate; Adkission told us all why he did it and who motivated him. Why do you not want to take him at his word?

    The guy who pulled the trigger is responsible for killing those who were slain. The people who egged him on and provided him with motivation are responsible for precisely that – they gave him motivation. They told him where to go and who to put in his sights. They told him why he was jutified in doing so. They told him he was guiltless for doing so. They told him he was a patriot for doing it. They told him it was not only his right, but his duty as a citizen. They told him that those at the wrong end of his bead were responsible for every harm and injustice he had ever suffered. They told him that those innocents were sinners against god and nature. They told him that the people he killed deserved to die.

    Rush Limbaugh didn’t kill the people in that church. Michael Weiner didn’t kill the people in that church. Ann Coulter didn’t kill the people in that church. But they’ve all said that it would be a good idea if somebody did. And that should have consequences.

  62. 62
    MBunge says:

    “McVeigh had his political ideology inspired by right wing rhetoric, but he wasn’t any less violent than 60s-era Weathermen or 80s-era militant Greenpeace activists. Just because he was right-wing violent doesn’t mean his political ideology caused him to embrace fertilizer bombs over letter-writing campaigns or street protests.”

    How many folks did the Weathermen and Greenpeace kill? How many of their violent acts were specifically intended to kill large numbers of people? Politics aside, there’s a huge difference between those folks and McVeigh.

    Mike

  63. 63
    RSA says:

    Crazy people do crazy awful things.

    As others have said, I think it’s hard to blame Coulter et al. for Adkisson without also blaming rappers for gang violence, Marilyn Manson for school shootings, Islam for the DC sniper attacks, and so forth–that is, there are a lot of factors in society that affect our behavior, and while we might identify some of them as influences, in the end we to say that if violent assholes are basing their decisions on what they read and listen to, we might reduce the possibility of violence by removing those influences, but we can’t do much about these people still being violent assholes.

  64. 64
    jrg says:

    Its my personal philosophy that I think people are fundamentally decent.

    Most people are fundamentally decent. Between 3-5% of the population are sociopaths (they have no concern for anything other than themselves), which is the definition of evil, in my book.

    But then, our savior Tipper Gore rescued us all, and as soon as we started labeling video games, the violence completely stopped.

    Shorter Cole: “Words don’t matter”.

    Look, I’m not saying that we should censor Rush, nor am I saying that I trust the government to be the arbiter of what is correct and incorrect (see the DOJ scandal). I’m just saying that Rush listeners have the right to know that they are being lied to. These “opinion” broadcasts need to be labeled as such.

    I’d like to add that this ongoing conversation on the blogs does not mean a thing. The shooter is going to come out and say “Rush made me do it”, anyway (the party of personal responsibility, and all that). My $.02 does not really matter.

    I would like to hear a take on it from Glenzilla, however.

  65. 65
    Tsulagi says:

    I assure you- the blame lies with Jim Adkisson, not Pat Robertson.

    Yep.

    but I’ll say this, this is the first truly stupid thing you’ve written that I’ve read.

    Bullshit.

    Adkisson is responsible. No excuses. Like when a woman is raped some asswipes try to say sex and lose morals depicted on TV are to blame. Or the rape victim herself because she was “provocatively” dressed.

    You’re responsible and accountable for your actions, not someone or something else. Being this unbalanced, Adkission would have found some other victims to target.

    Sorta like that dickless shitstain Zarqawi in Iraq. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict was not to blame for his actions. Nor egregious transgressions by infidels. Occam’s Razor. He could have been just as happy as a Christian Inquisitor during the Middle Ages burning witches at the stake. Or being the Arab version of Jeffrey Dahmer. He was garbage.

    a sizeable percentage of people who would have been defined as conservatives 40 years ago are now defined as liberals.

    Yep, and you don’t have to go back near that far. Seven years or so ago would be fine. About the time the Party of Bush picked up the left/right dividing marker taking it out to the right of Pluto in some retarded parallel universe.

  66. 66
    MH says:

    Shorter John Cole:

    Goering had nothing to do with the Holocaust, Lenin bears no responsibility for the Russian Revolution, and Charles Manson should be set free for never having laid a finger on Sharon Tate!

  67. 67
    Punchy says:

    Shorter Loviator- “words scare me.”

    Shorter Cole: Leave my former friends/mouthpieces alone. Nobody believes a word they say, and no one takes them seriously. Nobody. And please ignore the $400 mill and $100 mill Limbaugh and Hannity just inked, respectively.

  68. 68
    Wayne T says:

    Words do have an effect – as we have seen throughout history. Either in seeking validation or just completely inciting action. These millionaires create a world where the worst kind of hate is legitimized. The Klan had meetings for a reason – the group reinforced the individual.

    The right wingers always end up mentioning some kind of violence – it’s all part of the macho posturing.

    Didn’t some right winger at LGF or Powerline send the fake anthrax a couple of years ago as well?

  69. 69
    r€nato says:

    I have to add my 2 cents (€0.032). Michael Savage, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter and Limbaugh spend their time telling people how much liberals hate America and are destroying this country. It’s no accident that Hannity and Savage books were found among his possessions. They may not have pulled the trigger but they were surely his accomplices.

  70. 70
    gil mann says:

    You guys do realize what a frothing lunatic you’d have to be in order for someone like Ann Coulter to sway your actions, right? You might even say this guy was looking to get swayed. Not defending scumbags like her and Savage, just pointing out that monsters get made pretty early on, and obsessing on something isn’t the same as being influenced by something.

    Lotta people here blaming the Son of Sam’s neighbors’ dog.*

    *yeah, I know Berkowitz made up the talking-dog thing for an insanity plea, but I couldn’t think of any other examples

  71. 71
    Thom says:

    Now that they’ve said the guy has a Right Wing library in his house, specifically books by Savage, O’Reilly, and Hannity, do you feel differently about this? I think you should. Anyone understands what you’re saying, but those fuckers do incite violence. They have and they do. That’s the truth.

  72. 72
    Mr Furious says:

    Sinister Eyebrow (gat name!) nails it.

    This guy was fucking whacked and ready to snap. It might jast as well have been a coffee shop or his workplace if he had a job, but this shit was going down one way or the other.

    In his situation, his frustration combined with his imbalance had him looking for an outlet or someone to blame. Right-wing rhetoric supplied him with a handy scapegoat.

    I’d say you can pin some blame on the Rush/Hannity/Coulter crew for his choice of target, but not for his snapping or taking up arms—I believe that was going to happen one way or the other. If it was his elderly mom, his wife and himself, it wouldn’t have been as sensational, but people would still have ended up dead.

    The tragic irony in all of this is that his anger was completely misdirected…food stamps, meds, job assistance—all the things that could have helped him—were liberal in origin. But he was duped into believing they were somehow fucking him over.

  73. 73
    Mr Furious says:

    GREAT name..

    I hate this new flat apple keyboard.

  74. 74
    RJ Eskow says:

    John Cole: “Shorter Eskow- “You used four letter words, so you proved my point.”

    Um, no. You linked to an article that proved my point, so you proved my point.

  75. 75
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    OK, so let me get this straight. Rush is constantly bragging about his huge audience. 20 million give or take, IIRC. And out of that 20 million, how many are going to be dealing with serious mental illnesses of one sort or another? Hundreds? Thousands? More? And how many more are going to be “driving through the neighborhood” even if they aren’t permanent residents, so to speak.

    And in this kind of environment, it is OK for him to repeatedly joke about killing liberals, dehumanizing them, using speech that sounds like something from circa 1924 Germany. Because anybody who might take him seriously and actually do the things that Rush only jokes about, is obviously a wacko, and nobody is responsible for wackos. What’s the problem, it’s only a joke? Only the “joke” here is about as funny as somebody lighting up their Marlboros in the gas station while other people are pumping $4/gallon joy juice into their cars.

    As we used to say when I was kid – it’s all funny until somebody has an eye put out.

    If the shoe were on the other foot, if say some loon went onto Air America radio and said (not just once, but over and over and over again) that we need to kill the GOPers, and then a proven fan of that program actually went and did it, what do you think the reaction would be? Congressional hearings on “domestic terrorism and leftwing extremism”, FBI and local police searching for circumstantial evidence indicating that anybody else who “fits the profile” needs to be proactively dealt with, people calling the police when somebody with Impeach Bush bumper stickers shows up in the church parking lot, and on and on and on…

    Now I don’t want teh Left to react the same way the wingers do. We are better than that, and somebody here has to act like an adult about this. But the double standard needs to be pointed out. And if Rush, Hannity and the other latter day Julius Streicher wanna-be’s of our world have their feelings hurt because they are being unfairly tarred by association, well cry me a fricking river.

  76. 76
    Face says:

    Adkisson is responsible. No excuses. Like when a woman is raped some asswipes try to say sex and lose morals depicted on TV are to blame. Or the rape victim herself because she was “provocatively” dressed.

    Yep. Perfect analogy. Exactly the same. Blaming the victim of rape bullshit is so totally the same as giving some blame to the lies and wanton hate-liberals talk radio.

  77. 77
    Martin says:

    The REAL Barack Obama:

    Is THIS the type of guy you want running America? I Don’t!

    In fact, I’m starting to come to the realization that it may be up to a sole person, acting alone, to make certain this guy is never allowed to hold the most powerful office in the world. Sorry it may have to be that way, but it may.

    That was Hal Turner, radio host and friend of Hannity.

    John, the problem with the right-wing ‘values’ here is that on the one hand, they don’t want the government to interfere with people’s rights to be mentally unstable and own firearms, but they want their own brand of free speech to spread this kind of message. When a crime does happen, they turn right around and do exactly what led to this – blame some segment of the population for not being armed in church to shoot back, and so on.

    When liberals are critical of society, they tend to focus on those in power – the very people that have authority, money, access, and so on to make changes. When conservatives are critical of society, they tend to focus on those out of power – minorities, the poor, immigrants, and so on. The very people who cannot effectively make change. So they rant and rave about these people out of power, who are of course powerless to do the things demanded of them or even respond to the charges leveled against them and when they fail to respond, even more charges are leveled and more action demanded.

    I hate to tempt fate here, but like Hutu Power radio, most of the big humanitarian disasters of the last 20th century went down the same path of “blame our problems on the minorities” with the rise of Nazi influence right at the top of the list – and it’s a pretty long list, too. Do we really want to keep flirting with that list?

    And Jodie Foster never explicitly told Hinkley to kill Reagan – that’s a disingenuous comparison and you know it. There have been more than a few calls to kill liberals and gays from the right-wing punditry for their crimes against society. And for the record, my wife’s U/U church gets fairly regular threats as well because they accept the gheys and such. It’s never translated into anything, but this stuff doesn’t come out of thin air.

  78. 78
    Genine says:

    jrg Says:

    Its my personal philosophy that I think people are fundamentally decent.

    Most people are fundamentally decent. Between 3-5% of the population are sociopaths (they have no concern for anything other than themselves), which is the definition of evil, in my book.

    I don’t like to call people evil. (I slip sometimes. :)) But I know what you mean.

    I agree with those that say words can matter, especially when repeated and said over time. But I think things are changing and such divisive rhetoric won’t have center stage in the not-so-far-off future.

  79. 79
    whocoodanode says:

    Using shrill propaganda to egg on the angry aggressive authoritarians is the black Ace up the fascists’ sleeve.

    Mr. Cole is that rare right-winger who recognizes that the movement he believes in and supported has wrecked his once-beloved nation and destroyed its standing in the world, but sometimes you just can’t burp out all the koolaid. It just doesn’t “seem” to be possible to influence people through media. It doesn’t “seem” to be possible, which is why it is fascism’s Ace of Spades.

    It was the advent of mass media that brought fascism to life in the twenties. Mass media did the same for Communism: these false ideologies are not far apart.

    Of course the wingers say: “This is surely coincidence.” They don’t want to reveal their Ace.

  80. 80
    John Cole says:

    It just doesn’t “seem” to be possible to influence people through media. It doesn’t “seem” to be possible, which is why it is fascism’s Ace of Spades.

    Yes, because there is no difference whatsoever between stating someone may have influenced someone and this nonsense:

    You killed them, Pat Robertson. You killed them, Pastor Hagee. You killed them, Ann Coulter. You killed them, Dick Morris and Sean Hannity and the rest of you at Fox News.

    I am going to go smash my tv so I don’t watch something offensive and go kill someone.

  81. 81
    liberal says:

    Zifnab wrote,

    Everyone likes to tell us how if only we’d get rid of video games or gave everyone a tommy gun or stopped listening to rap music or went to church more often or less often or listened to Keith Olbermann over Bill O’Reily or Bill O’Reily over Larry King, then all the violence in the world would magically disappear.

    You’re mistaken—there’s an empirical difference.

    The empirical link between violence in video games and actual violence is pretty weak (though I doubt it’s zero).

    On the other hand, the empirical link between heads of political groupings (be they political militias as in Iran, or more informal groupings like the followers of Rush and Coulter here in the US) making incendiary statements and their followers then committing violence is pretty strong.

  82. 82
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    most of the big humanitarian disasters of the last 20th century went down the same path of “blame our problems on the minorities”

    Of greater relevance here, IMHO, most of the big humanitarian disasters of the 20th Cen were preceded by often very lengthy and determined campaigns of purely rhetorical violence and dehumanization against the eventual victims. The pattern is almost always the same – the “cold joke”, comparisons to animals and vermin, verbal violence, threats, and then eventually the real thing. The machinery of extreme political violence can’t just start up on its own, the ground has to be prepared first.

    Don’t take my word for it – go read Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century by Jonathan Glover which IMHO is one of the best books written for a general audience on this subject.

  83. 83
    liberal says:

    “Iran” should be “Iraq”

  84. 84
    The Moar You Know says:

    I am going to go smash my tv so I don’t watch something offensive and go kill someone.

    Car commercials have this effect on me, too. You’re not alone.

  85. 85
    rawshark says:

    Or, alternately, you are looking at someone who has spent a decade reading studies about mass media effects who might be a touch hesitant about x causing y behavior blanket statements.

    Still can’t let the little republican go huh? To early to play the blame game? You tried that with Katrina too.
    Just because Tipper Gore said something doesn’t mean that thing is wrong. You still will not accept a premise if it comes from the wrong people. Please get over that.

  86. 86
    Zifnab says:

    And in this kind of environment, it is OK for him to repeatedly joke about killing liberals, dehumanizing them, using speech that sounds like something from circa 1924 Germany. Because anybody who might take him seriously and actually do the things that Rush only jokes about, is obviously a wacko, and nobody is responsible for wackos.

    Yes, that is in fact correct. Rush Limbaugh is not responsible for wackos. If Limbaugh’s rhetoric was truly as terrible as you like to claim, we’d have rivers of blood flowing through the streets and millions of Americans took up their guns and their knives and their radios as they stormed University campuses and community centers in an orgy of violence that would make Nazi prison guards tremble.

    Rush Limbaugh is old white people rap music.

    And Goering, for all his verbal filth and horrible propaganda, wasn’t the only Nazi in Germany. There was this other guy, the one who was actually in charge of the national government, who actually set all the policies of the state. You might know about him. His name gets tossed around a lot.

    If you want to go off and blame someone for Adkisson’s little rampage, blame every Congressman who has ever voted against universal health care. Blame every Governor who has ever vetoed money for mental health counciling. Blame the politicians who obstruct and kill the legislation that would have prevented Adkisson from falling through the cracks. Now you can wend your way back to Limbaugh / Coulter / Savage et al, and you might have a leg to stand on.

  87. 87
    liberal says:

    John Cole wrote,

    Yes, because there is no difference whatsoever between stating someone may have influenced someone and this nonsense…

    Your definition and understanding of “cause” is pretty limited.

  88. 88
    Xanthippas says:

    I wasn’t around here for the Bush years, John, so I missed out on a lot – but I’ll say this, this is the first truly stupid thing you’ve written that I’ve read.

    Not that John needs me or anyone else to defend him, but he’s right. Blaming right-wing pundits for what this guy did is just stupid, and that column is ridiculously overwrought. First of all, no one can credibly connect what this guy believed to anything they said. Two, even if they could, the dude obviously had personal problems of his own already. Crazy people do crazy things all the time, and it’s dumb to try to pin it something disagreeable someone might’ve said. If perfectly sane people were incited to kill people based on what Robertson said, that would be different (and the situation in Rwanda is NOT the same, and it’s historical illiteracy to compare the two.) Lastly, it’s really, really bad form to write such a column in the days following a tragedy like this. I don’t care if Eskow’s beliefs are completely sincere; that column still comes across as the worst sort of political opportunism (and I don’t care that the right-wing does it all the time; we jump on their asses when they do it, don’t we?)

    What happened is this: some crazy guy who believed some crazy things killed some people. It sucks. That’s it.

  89. 89
    liberal says:

    calipygian wrote,

    Ann Coulter has several times explicitly called for the murder of political opponents.

    Exactly.

    And let’s not forget that dude with the website or whatever which has names of abortion doctors, where he crosses each name out after the doctor is murdered (IIRC).

    And on topic, what about the guy who murdered that abortion doctor? I suppose the pro-life movement had nothing to do with that? He was just a lone nut?

  90. 90
    calipygian says:

    Car commercials have this effect on me, too. You’re not alone

    You haven’t seen any of the Eastern Motors car commercials here in the DC area with a bastardized version of Shaggy’s “Sexy Lady” as the jingle.

    You should you tube some of them – they will DEFINITELY drive you to violence.

    At Eastern Motors
    Your job’s your credit.

  91. 91
    liberal says:

    Zifnab wrote,

    If Limbaugh’s rhetoric was truly as terrible as you like to claim, we’d have rivers of blood flowing through the streets and millions of Americans took up their guns and their knives and their radios as they stormed University campuses and community centers in an orgy of violence that would make Nazi prison guards tremble.

    It might not be terrible enough to cause massive bloodletting, but between the extremes of “responsible for zero violence” and “responsible for setting off a massive civil war,” there’s lots of real estate.

  92. 92
    John Cole says:

    Ann Coulter has several times explicitly called for the murder of political opponents.

    So why didn’t this guy go kill the people Coulter named? Since, you know, she is to blame for these murders and this guy is apparently doing whatever she says and isn’t just some lunatic who was off his meds.

  93. 93
    Zifnab says:

    You’re mistaken—-there’s an empirical difference.

    The empirical link between violence in video games and actual violence is pretty weak (though I doubt it’s zero).

    On the other hand, the empirical link between heads of political groupings (be they political militias as in Iran, or more informal groupings like the followers of Rush and Coulter here in the US) making incendiary statements and their followers then committing violence is pretty strong.

    You’ll have to link me to that study.

  94. 94
    liberal says:

    Zifnab wrote,

    The public airwaves aren’t called public because they are reserved for only people saying things you want to hear.

    They’re called “public” because no private party owns the radio spectrum, which is as it should be.

    But given the doctrine you espouse, why shouldn’t I be free to set up my own radio transmitter and pick a frequency and attack Limbaugh, Coulter, etc?

    A better solution would be to bring back the Fairness Doctrine.

    Until that time, I’ve got no problem with someone attacking Limbaugh, Coulter, and the other fascists on the same frequencies they themselves are broadcast on.

  95. 95
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    Zifnab,

    Chronology matters. I didn’t pick the year 1924 out of a hat. Go read Ian Kershaw’s “Hubris” (to pick one example out a voluminous literature) for details. The real violence is almost always preceded by a lot of verbiage. We are not nearly as violent a society as post-WWI Germany (no Freikorps for example), and our political institutions are far deeper and stronger, but the level of actual rhetorical violence against liburls in the right wing media and blogs today is actually not all that different from what was being printed in the newspapers of Weimar era Germany. It really isn’t that much different, as shocking as that sounds.

    Of course the Germans were dealing with the bitter legacy of a failed war and a troubled economy (which would get much, much worse later on). We don’t have any of those things to worry about.

  96. 96
    jamey says:

    Shorter Cole:

    “That fire was out there somewhere. It’s nobody’s fault that someone sprayed a constant stream of gasoline in that direction.”

  97. 97
    Zifnab says:

    And let’s not forget that dude with the website or whatever which has names of abortion doctors, where he crosses each name out after the doctor is murdered (IIRC).

    And on topic, what about the guy who murdered that abortion doctor? I suppose the pro-life movement had nothing to do with that? He was just a lone nut?

    You are correct again. The pro-life movement as a whole is not responsible for the deaths of individual abortion doctors at the hands of a handful of bombers and snipers. If individuals within the pro-life movement are conspiring to bomb or shot people, they are responsible for their own actions. If individuals within the pro-life movement limit their protests to picket lines and 50 foot tall dead baby posters, they are not responsible.

    When Bill O’Reily stands up and declares DailyKos the same thing as the KKK, he’s playing the same game you are. Guilt by even the vaguest thread of association. It’s utter bullshit demagoguery and witch hunting. It pollutes the discourse with fear-mongering (oh noes! My friend / family member / co-worker / grocery store clerk listens to right wing radio – he must be DERANGED!) that we’ve been more than happy to vilify here on a regular basis. And it does nothing to address the actual problems – crazy people with gun ownership rights and a gulf in much needed medical assistance to those in need – that triggered the event.

  98. 98
    The Moar You Know says:

    “That fire was out there somewhere. It’s nobody’s fault that someone sprayed a constant stream of gasoline in that direction.”

    No one could have possibly forseen that spraying gasoline aerosol in a garage full of ignition sources could cause an explosion.

  99. 99
    calipygian says:

    So why didn’t this guy go kill the people Coulter named? Since, you know, she is to blame for these murders and this guy is apparently doing whatever she says and isn’t just some lunatic who was off his meds.

    He did. Here’s one of Chairman Ann’s more notorious quotes:

    “We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed too.” – Anne Coulter

    Like I said – 99.9 percent of people see some pretty vile performance art. A few people see marching orders.

    You can’t shout “fire” in a crowded theater.

  100. 100
    dewar says:

    John, there are plenty of websites for me to read, so I don’t think I will be coming back here regularly any more.

    It is not so much your post — with which I disagree — but your responses to the comments, especially Eskow’s.

    Yes, understanding the relationship between our media environment and individual actions is quite difficult.
    You clearly do not want to think about this any more deeply, listen to other points of view, or maybe even learn something.

  101. 101
    Zifnab says:

    But given the doctrine you espouse, why shouldn’t I be free to set up my own radio transmitter and pick a frequency and attack Limbaugh, Coulter, etc?

    Because while the airwaves are public, they are not free to use. You’ve got to purchase the capital necessary to set up a station and you’ve got to pay the local fee for using that spectrum of transmission.

    But if you want to set up your own radio station and you’ve got the time, the money, and the initiative, you are – in fact – free to do so. Just ask the folks down at Air America Radio. They did exactly what you propose.

    A better solution would be to bring back the Fairness Doctrine.

    Oh yeah. Cause that worked out so well back in the day.

    What we need are stricter media ownership rules. When Clear Channel gets to buy out half the spectrum, then we have a real problem. But diversity of opinion isn’t going to happen because we mandate that different viewpoints get stated in the same venue. If the price of entry is low enough, someone will be happy to set up a pro-liberal or pro-green or pro-libertarian or pro-whatever radio station be it for profit or for politics. If one giant company can hedge everyone else out of the market, however, we’ve got a problem.

    The Media Ownership Rules are the problem, not the Fairness Doctrine – a policy that only embraces the ridiculousness of our two-party government system as though every issue must be divided up into Democrat or Republican.

  102. 102
    John Cole says:

    Yes, understanding the relationship between our media environment and individual actions is quite difficult.
    You clearly do not want to think about this any more deeply, listen to other points of view, or maybe even learn something.

    Yes, because what you all call “thinking” about things “deeply” are childish and sophomoric blanket statements of guilt.

    I am not the one who is refusing to think about this. I am well aware that media can be (and is) an influence, but I am not going to sit back and let you or others guilt me into agreeing with you that Jerry Falwell or Ann Coulter are to blame for murders.

  103. 103
    Zifnab says:

    So why didn’t this guy go kill the people Coulter named? Since, you know, she is to blame for these murders and this guy is apparently doing whatever she says and isn’t just some lunatic who was off his meds.

    He did.

    Which politician that Coulter named did he run off and assassinate? Why is Barry still running for President without getting shot at? Why haven’t we seen a wave of political assassinations straight back to 2002?

    Where are the mind-control rays and why aren’t they making more people slobbering zombie murderphiles?

    Occum’s Razor. The guy wasn’t magically compelled by a book. He was crazy from the get-go. That he killed liberal Unitarians and not conservative Baptists or non-partisan Methodists had to do with the flavor of his kool-aid. Would you have felt better if his victims hadn’t been “liberals”? Would that have made Coulter more or less culpable, all other things the same?

  104. 104
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    John Cole says:

    So why didn’t this guy go kill the people Coulter named?

    John,

    The police found a note in the guy’s house afterwards saying: “that because he could not get to the leaders of the liberal movement he would then target those that had voted them in office“.

    To clarify, before this discussion degenerates into a free-for-all food fight, I don’t think Rush, et. al. are directly responsible for this guy’s actions. Clearly he was a nut. But isn’t there a degree of pretty serious negligence involved in throwing out the rhetoric they use into a large population which is bound to contain some nuts? (note my analogy: smoking in the gas station)

    Is it asking too much not to have incitement to murder on the airwaves (screened behind a defense of “I was only joking, nobody could take it seriously”). Is it too implausible to think that without all the semi-murderous wingnut rhetoric out there this guy might have chosen to shoot his lawnmower on a hot day rather than driving to a church full of strangers, as a way of letting his inner demons go for a jog?

    Or to put in another way – if the hatred being spewed on AM radio right now is OK with you, how much worse would it have to get, before you would say “wait a minute, we have a real problem here”. What would be the line in the sand for you?

    And what about the double standard I raised earlier. If a left-wing nut had done this to a right-wing church, a howling lynch mob would be scouring the nation right now.

  105. 105
    rawshark says:

    When a man claims he committed murder for certain reasons why is it improper to look at the source of his information?

    If you want to go off and blame someone for Adkisson’s little rampage, blame every Congressman who has ever voted against universal health care. Blame every Governor who has ever vetoed money for mental health counciling. Blame the politicians who obstruct and kill the legislation that would have prevented Adkisson from falling through the cracks

    Now that’s beautiful. Blame the politicians who didn’t institute liberals programs, for causing a man to murder people he believed were liberal traitors out to turn his country into a left wing mecca.

  106. 106
    noswald says:

    When you put blockquotes in your post, you should put all the tags inside the

    tag. Otherwise, your blockquotes aren’t formatted properly in some newsreaders, like Google Reader.

  107. 107

    I agree with you John, that the bulk of the blame goes to Jim Adkisson. But, I can’t wash *my* hands of it, let alone Pat Robertson’s or Enrons’. To do so falls back to that old canard of “personal responsibility” that Republicans chant, but don’t really believe in.

    Rightwing religious figures have been great for using liberals as the boogymen of many people’s ills. All that demonization in the wrong hands leads to stuff like this.

    I do my fair share of demonizing repoublicans, though I try to do so with facts, and I avoid the “lets round them up and kill them” kind of rhetoric that seems to be part and parcel with being a “tough on x” Republican.

  108. 108
    noswald says:

    Well that didn’t look like the preview!

    What I meant to say was you should put all p-tags inside the blockquote-tags, otherwise your blockquotes aren’t formatted properly in some newsreaders, like Google Reader.

  109. 109
    Zifnab says:

    (note my analogy: smoking in the gas station)

    Funny that, because cigarettes aren’t hot enough to ignite gasoline.

  110. 110
    KRK says:

    I can understand the impulse, but this post tips over into protests-too-much territory.

    and this…

    John Cole Says:

    PS- Jodie Foster should be in jail.

    Is just stupid.

  111. 111
    jake says:

    This time, however, we are expected to believe that pundits and big mouths are responsible for this massacre.

    How foolish. The intellectual lights who illuminate MM and Cornfederate Yanker made it clear it was a liberal plot to discredit conservatives/kill Christians.

    Seriously, John I’m glad you have time to worry about this crap now. I’m more concerned with the rule of three and feeling far more tense than I ever get from catching a whiff of Michael Chertoff’s fear farts.

  112. 112
    rawshark says:

    Occum’s Razor. The guy wasn’t magically compelled by a book. He was crazy from the get-go. That he killed liberal Unitarians and not conservative Baptists or non-partisan Methodists had to do with the flavor of his kool-aid. Would you have felt better if his victims hadn’t been “liberals”? Would that have made Coulter more or less culpable, all other things the same?

    Occams Razor: would these people be on tv and radio and selling books if they weren’t influential? Maybe he wasn’t ‘compelled by a book’ but where did he get his info? Why isn’t that significant? Why aren’t the people who put that out there responsible, even indirectly, for what people do with the information?

    How is this different than FOX putting ‘Democrats are upset at people calling Michele, Obama’s baby mama’? FOX isn’t saying it they are just mentioning that others are. You can’t say FOX is responsible for that term being used can you? People would probably use it anyway right?
    When a loser shoots up VT we go straight to the blame game. Why is it different now? Do you need a hint?

  113. 113
    John Cole says:

    and this…

    John Cole Says:

    PS- Jodie Foster should be in jail.

    Is just stupid.

    Sometimes I just like tweaking people.

  114. 114
    calipygian says:

    John Cole Says:

    PS- Jodie Foster should be in jail.

    Is just stupid.

    Not if you’ve seen Contact.

  115. 115
    The Populist says:

    Michelle Malkin (Hi, Michelle, we know you read this site) is already saying the guy was a liberal pretending to be a conservative.

    John, I disagree. Radio worked well when the genocide in Rwanda went down. It incited folks to act. Same goes for numerous other situations. This man absorbed this idea that liberalism is evil and felt the need to act. YES, you are right and he is crazy BUT one has to ask Rush and Hannity the next time they use the words evil and immoral when talking about Dems whether they are creating more unhinged assholes like Adkisson.

    If Video Games supposedly can warp minds, then why couldn’t the bile that Rush and Malkin spew?

  116. 116
    The Moar You Know says:

    dewar Says:

    John, there are plenty of websites for me to read, so I don’t think I will be coming back here regularly any more.

    It is not so much your post—with which I disagree—but your responses to the comments, especially Eskow’s.

    Yes, understanding the relationship between our media environment and individual actions is quite difficult.
    You clearly do not want to think about this any more deeply, listen to other points of view, or maybe even learn something.

    BAWWWWWWWWW!

    Christ fucking almighty, grow a spine. I think Cole’s being a fucking idiot about this, but I don’t start pouting and threaten to OMG QUIT THE INTERWEB FOREVAR. Jesus. Stand up and throw a fucking argument or two into his face if you don’t like what he’s saying – don’t sit there and get all butthurt cause you don’t like his tone or lack of agreement. Fight for it if you want it, buddy.

    It’s his right to not think about this more deeply, or to listen to any other points of view. It’s his right to not learn anything. Hell, it’s his right to call in sick to work and sit watching “The Price Is Right” in a diaper full of feces if he wants to.

    You don’t like his response? I don’t either. But your decision to pout, collect all your toys and go elsewhere is worth nothing more than mockery and derision. Which you will get plenty more of, if the history of this site is a reliable indicator.

  117. 117
    Tsulagi says:

    Your definition and understanding of “cause” is pretty limited.

    Ah, another big picture see-er.

    You can’t shout “fire” in a crowded theater.

    Yes, because if you did, everyone would immediately pull out their lighters to start one.

  118. 118
    John Cole says:

    Not if you’ve seen Contact.

    Tim F. is going to be all up in your shit with a nerd fury that will scare veterans of several decades of Apple v. Mac usenet flame wars.

  119. 119
    The Populist says:

    Occams Razor: The only lib I’ve ever heard who talks as nastily as the right is Mike Malloy. Last time I checked, Ed Schultz, Randi Rhodes and Rachel Maddow (to name a few) aren’t on television selling hatred of the right. Their approach is to rebut and call out the craziness of these idiots on the right. When you listen to Limbaugh, Savage, Hannity, Horowitz, Beck and Coulter all they do is say how liberalism is evil, it’s a disease, it needs to be destroyed, blah blah blah.

    Lib radio tries to discuss the issues yet cons spend all their time selling hate. Why is that?

  120. 120
    Rome Again says:

    When a person does something great and they get to stand at a podium and make a speech, they like to thank those who helped them and gave them encouragement to do the wondrous thing. I’m sure, John, that even you could be the recipient of some sort of thanks for influencing at least some of your students into moving in a direction that was one they would not have taken on their own.

    This is no different, influence is not direct action, but it is suggesting changes in course and that is exactly what happened here as well.

    Influence is not direct guilt, but is is a factor.

  121. 121
    The Populist says:

    Oh yes, O’Reilly and Malkin…two more class acts who do whatever it takes to HURT anybody who disagrees with them.

    Malkin sends minions to people’s homes by publishing addresses and personal info.

    O’Reilly sends his freaks to people’s houses and tries to ambush them with nonsense. When it was done to him, he couldn’t handle it. He cried that liberals are evil YET he was the one who sent his interns to ambush people at their homes.

    Sorry, I rest my case as I don’t see Ed Schultz or even that loudmouth Malloy doing such b.s.

  122. 122
    Voice of Reason says:

    Shorter Cole:

    “I’ve staked out my position, and nothing you say can change my mind.”

    Really, John… these people have repeatedly called for political assassination, and one of their drones snapped. He has stated that, because he couldn’t get to the powerful people that Coulter, Hannity et al. wanted him to go after, he preyed on the weak and defenseless… but the line of causation is bold and unmistakable. The demagogues demanded that he kill, and he killed. The demagogues are culpable. QED.

  123. 123
    binzinerator says:

    While this particular ocmment is over the top, is this all that different than a guy strapping on a bomb and blowing himself up in a mosque in Mosul? That guy is probably a nutcase, too. The problem is that no one talks about this type of terrorism in the US, and how it’s nurtured by the Savages and Coulters that validate such paranoia and legitimize the use of violence.

    This is a great observation. Everything I agree with, except I don’t think it was over the top.

    Don’t we consider bin Laden ultimately responsible for the WTC murders? It’s not over the top to say bin Laden killed those people in the towers and in the pentagon. Is religious fanatcism to the point of suicide and murder the sign of a stable mind? Hell no. Those 20 hijackers weren’t any more stable than Adkisson.

    I think Adkisson’s attack is the kind terrorism we face in the US — and have been facing, in case you haven’t been paying attention for the past two decades. It’s murder carried out by the right wing fanatics. And you goddamn well know this has been fueled by the intolerant hate-filled Robertsons and Hagees of the right, and channeled and shaped by the violence-advocating Coulters and Limbaughs, and repeated and boosted and given credibility by Hannitys and the whole creepy Fox News media machine.

    For chrissakes, John, Coulter gave a keynote hate-filled speech an the Republican Convention with her usual rhetoric of eliminating liberals, real or imaginary. Eliminationism doesn’t get more mainstream into the right than that. It’s a policy that has in effect been given official imprimature of the GOP.

    And the last 8 years have been an incessant exhortation of hanging journalists because the media is liberal, poisoning a Supreme Court justice because he is too liberal, and fantasizing of mutilation and hanging and death to liberals in general.

    Don’t you remember that? And don’t you remember how every goddamn gooper called — still calls — anyone who disagrees with them a liberal and a traitor? (And we all know what is done to traitors).

    Please read this, John:

    Adkisson targeted the church, Still wrote in the document obtained by WBIR-TV, Channel 10, “because of its liberal teachings and his belief that all liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country, and that he felt that the Democrats had tied his country’s hands in the war on terror and they had ruined every institution in America with the aid of media outlets.”

    Where have we heard that stupid shit before? Every common rightwing meme is there, including the liberal media lie. And these lies are still being fed to the public.

    Do you still think people like Pat Robertson and Anne Coulter et al and the eliminationist screechings of the right had nothing to do with it?

    Maybe you think too that the rhetoric of Al Qaeda and the teachings of radical fundamentalist islam have no relationship with terrorist acts. But I doubt it.

    It’s been 20 years now of right-wing sponsored terrorism. What is the assassination of doctors and nurses who perform legal abortions, or the murder of gun control advocates, if not acts of terrorism? And we can’t forget McVeigh, even though the right conveniently forgets he was one of their own.

    And now one of the right’s own dittoheads acts on what every dittohead has heard over and over and over again. Liberals are like cockroaches that ought to be exterminated, and they are to blame for everything that goes wrong, for every hardship suffered, for job loss, for the failed war in Iraq, even for the WTC attacks themselves.

    The main stream rightwing adopted the fringe-right hate group eliminationist talk years ago.

    Dave Neiwert at Orcinus, who has been noting for years the increasingly blatant eliminationist rhetoric coming from the right, had this to say:

    This was a violent attack on liberals. It was inspired by years of wingnuts talking about how much they hate liberals and wish they could do something about them.

    Crazy people do crazy awful things. Yes, they do. But millions of people have been told killing liberals is the thing to do, and it has been repeated in many venues for years.

    Why is it bullshit to connect the dots here? You do it with islamic terrorists and their organizations.

  124. 124
    MBunge says:

    So far in this thread, Cole has admitted that right-wing rhetoric might have influenced to some degree this murderous loser. But he positively throws a hissy fit at anyone who tries to quantify that influence or suggest there should be consequences to the extertion of that influence.

    Mike

  125. 125
    jamey says:

    Funny that, because cigarettes aren’t hot enough to ignite gasoline.

    Zifnab, you might be the one person I encourage to smoke all he wants near a gas pump.

    Just to prove the know-it-all libruls wrong, of course …

  126. 126
    Rome Again says:

    Zifnab, you might be the one person I encourage to smoke all he wants near a gas pump.

    Just to prove the know-it-all libruls wrong, of course …

    Ignore it and realize he can’t help it Zif, he’s been told all of his life that if he just stands next to a gas pump the fumes alone could ignite and blow him up. He has no clue what he’s talking about.

  127. 127
    Li says:

    ” John Cole Says:

    Ann Coulter has several times explicitly called for the murder of political opponents.

    So why didn’t this guy go kill the people Coulter named? Since, you know, she is to blame for these murders and this guy is apparently doing whatever she says and isn’t just some lunatic who was off his meds.”

    Well, he did address that in his ‘suicide note’; he thought that the leaders of the movement were too well protected, so he went after the supporters. He was aiming for a soft target, in other words; more evidence that this man was, strictly speaking, not crazy.

    As a culture we are too quick to label people ‘crazy’ when they do horrible things, without realizing that truly crazy people usually don’t have it together enough to plan the sort of violence we saw here at this church, or at the Virginia Tech campus. Now, I’m not saying that these men were not disturbed, no less than I would claim that Mao or Hitler wasn’t disturbed, but they did have ordered thought processes, and thus it is not a waste of time to ask what the inspiration for their actions was. On a side note, I do believe that the Virginia Tech massacre was due to the “debauchery” Cho saw on campus. Classic ‘culture war’ issues.

    This lack of desire to connect the dots is natural; you don’t want to confront how far down the ‘Mad Max’ rabbit hole we might fall before we get out of this mess of hatred and animosity. But I know that I’m not the only ‘former’ conservative who divorced himself from the movement upon reading one of Coulter’s screeds. She is calling for the death of her enemies on virtually every page, and accusing them as a class of executable crimes on every other. Her (and Weiner’s) rhetoric is one black arm band away from genocide, frankly, and that frightened me. This sort of eliminationist rhetoric leads to murder; it’s a universal truth of history. The unfortunate fact is that we are going to see a lot more Cho’s and Jim’s before this is over

  128. 128
    John Cole says:

    So far in this thread, Cole has admitted that right-wing rhetoric might have influenced to some degree this murderous loser. But he positively throws a hissy fit at anyone who tries to quantify that influence or suggest there should be consequences to the extertion of that influence.

    OHHH! So when he was stating that Pastor Hagee murdered those people, he was just attempting to “quantify” their “influence.”

    And I am the one not thinking here?

  129. 129
    Martin says:

    So why didn’t this guy go kill the people Coulter named? Since, you know, she is to blame for these murders and this guy is apparently doing whatever she says and isn’t just some lunatic who was off his meds.

    Source:

    Adkisson told Still that since “he could not get to the leaders of the liberal movement that he would then target those that had voted them in to office.”

  130. 130
    Tony J says:

    He chose to kill people because he wanted to. He justified it to himself as a patriotic/heroic act through referencing the writings and opinions of people who actually do call for the murder of the people he targetted.

    Seems to me that there’s an ocean of difference between parking this in the “Just like bitching about video games/psycho scumbags can’t be predicted” bin and acknowleging that, something drastic should be done about the level of hate-speech on public radio.

    Especially since, y’know, there’s a half-black muslim Demoncrat winning the race for the Presidency and more than one lone-wolf out there.

  131. 131
    jamey says:

    John,

    The police found a note in the guy’s house afterwards saying: “that because he could not get to the leaders of the liberal movement he would then target those that had voted them in office“.

    Oh, THAT?! That could have meant anything.

  132. 132
    Jane Hamshers of the Left says:

    It’s another War on Semantics! Never change, John.

  133. 133
    binzinerator says:

    Over at that post at Orcinus, a comment by Hume’s Ghost, connecting the dots.

    Another aspect of this to consider, besides the likelihood that this was someone who was mentally disturbed, looking at the reports it looks like he was kind of down-and-out economically and blamed “liberals” for that.

    Apparently, the pseudo-populism of the conservative movement worked on this guy. The dynamic is interesting: the “right-wing” creates or exacerbates the conditions that it then blames on its scapegoat – “the Liberal.”

    That’s a proto-fascist dynamic. Kevin Phillips pointed out in his 1993 book Boiling Point that the supply side economics of the Reagan era had led to an uprising of proto-fascist sentiment in the ’92 election (and which obviously carried over throughout Clinton’s presidency.)
    Hume’s Ghost | 07.28.08 – 11:33 pm | #

    Yup, the eliminationist rhetoric of the conservative movement certainly did work on this guy.

    Which reminds me: Since when did the fascist terror acts of the 30’s become solely the responsibility of the brownshirts who carried out those acts?

    The right wing has spent years blaming liberals and exhorting violence against them. And a nut job who has lapped up every word went and acted on it.

    How is it that these voices of the right who have been calling for exactly this sort of thing for years are blameless?

    It’s bullshit to say otherwise.

  134. 134
    calipygian says:

    I posted a Joseph Goebbels piece at The Victory Caucus where I globally replaced the word “Jew” with the word “liberal”. It was so scarily in keeping with the tenor of the site, that people agreed with it and David Neiwart picked it up as an example of right wing hate.

    I thought it was satire. What I learned from the experience was that you can’t satire what is already over the top.

    Therefore, we must say again and yet again:

    1. The liberals are our destruction. They want to destroy the United States and our people. This plan must be blocked.

    2. There are no distinctions between liberals. Each liberal is a sworn enemy of the American people. If he does not make his hostility plain, it is only from cowardice and slyness, not because he loves us.

    3. The liberals are to blame for each American soldier who falls in this war. They have him on their conscience, and must also pay for it.

    4. If someone pulled the lever for Kerry, Pelosi, et al., he is an enemy of the people. He earns the contempt of the entire people, for he is a craven coward who leaves them in the lurch to stand by the enemy.

    5. The liberals enjoy the approval of our enemies. That is all the proof we need to show how harmful they are for our people.

    6. The liberals are the enemy’s agents among us. He who stands by them aids the enemy.

    7. The liberals have no right to claim that their arguments and opinions equal ours. They should be ignored, not only because their are simply wrong, but because they are liberals who have no right to a voice in the community.

    8. If the liberals appeal to your sentimentality, realize that they are hoping for your forgetfulness, and let them know that you see through them and hold them in contempt.

    9. A decent enemy will deserve our generosity after we have won. The liberal however is not a decent enemy, though he tries to seem so.

    10. The treatment liberals receive from us is hardly unjust. They have deserved it all.

    It is the job of the government to deal with them. No one has the right to act on his own, but each has the duty to support the state’s measures against the liberals, to defend them with others, and to avoid being misled by any liberal tricks.

    The security of our great nation requires that of us all.

    Joseph Goebbels or Michael Savage Weiner?

    You be the judge.

  135. 135
    cain says:

    Of greater relevance here, IMHO, most of the big humanitarian disasters of the 20th Cen were preceded by often very lengthy and determined campaigns of purely rhetorical violence and dehumanization against the eventual victims. The pattern is almost always the same – the “cold joke”, comparisons to animals and vermin, verbal violence, threats, and then eventually the real thing. The machinery of extreme political violence can’t just start up on its own, the ground has to be prepared first.

    Wow, you’ve just described most of Africa. :(

    cain

  136. 136
    jake says:

    If Video Games supposedly can warp minds, then why couldn’t the bile that Rush and Malkin spew?

    If you believe video games (or rock music) can warp minds then your argument is at least consistent.

    There are instances where the law will draw a direct line between the words of one person and the actions of another but the test is really stringent for a good reason.

    People who lived in Bloomington in the 90’s probably remember this guy. The police wanted to tie this to Matt Hale but they couldn’t prove that he’d ever told Smith “Go forth to these places and shoot these people.” Smith went to Hale’s little brown shirt church and probably heard hours of Hale on the need to wipe out the brown folks but the couldn’t pin Smith’s actions on him. With Adkisson you don’t even have direct contact.

    I understand the desire to say the bobbleheads are somehow responsible but if they are, then what? Does it make anyone feel better that a bunch of accomplices to murder are walking around free as birds?

    And the last days of an administration that spied on the god damned Quakers in case they turned out to be terrorists do we really want the government to have more power to determine when speech goes too far?

  137. 137
    MBunge says:

    “OHHH! So when he was stating that Pastor Hagee murdered those people, he was just attempting to “quantify” their “influence.”

    And I am the one not thinking here?”

    Yeah, John, you are. That’s because numerous people have been trying to make a more nuanced argument on the influence of right wing rhetoric and its connection to or degree of responsibility for things like the church murders. Your response to those more nuanced arguments has been both non-responsive and agitated.

    Most of the posters in this thread aren’t drawing a direct line between right wing rhetoric and evil acts, but you clearly don’t want to have any discussion about it even though you acknowledge such a line exists to some extent.

    Think about why you don’t want to think about this.

    Mike

  138. 138
    Martin says:

    Funny that, because cigarettes aren’t hot enough to ignite gasoline.

    That’s not exactly true. A dropped cig isn’t hot enough to ignite a pool of gasoline – which is what is common in movies and what was tested. A cig that you are drawing on *can* be hot enough to ignite gasoline fumes. But that aside, a lighter definitely is hot enough to light those fumes and asking people to distinguish between ‘don’t smoke’ and ‘don’t light a smoke’ is unnecessary when you can pretty easily ban smoking without much inconvenience.

    The risk/reward on allowing people to smoke at the gas station is a no-brainer.

  139. 139
    HyperIon says:

    Zifnab wrote:

    A better solution would be to bring back the Fairness Doctrine.

    Oh yeah. Cause that worked out so well back in the day.

    pray tell, what was so bad about the fairness doctrine?
    how did it not work out so well?

    i know it inconvenienced the schedulers but it was a great antidote to the real-time lies that get broadcast every day on radio and TV. someone was there on the spot to say “that is NOT true.” guess what? when someone spewing BS knows that there will be a rebuttal to the BS, that person is less likely to spew BS.

  140. 140
    The Dude Abides says:

    John, are you going to respond to the post that quoted from Adkisson’s manifesto, in which he stated that since the liberal leadership is too well protected, he will instead go after those who put them in office? I’m curious to see your answer to that one. While I agree that Savage, O’Reilly, Hannity, and their ilk should not bear the bulk of the blame relative to the shooter, I do believe they should not be absolved of all responsibility. They are virtually yelling “fire” in a crowded theater, and there are enough nutcases out there to take them literally.

  141. 141
    cain says:

    Lib radio tries to discuss the issues yet cons spend all their time selling hate. Why is that?

    Cuz they are angry and they aren’t going to take this shit anymore!

    cain

  142. 142
    John Cole says:

    Yeah, John, you are. That’s because numerous people have been trying to make a more nuanced argument on the influence of right wing rhetoric and its connection to or degree of responsibility for things like the church murders. Your response to those more nuanced arguments has been both non-responsive and agitated.

    Because what you are trying to do is argue that I am wrong about this being shit analysis:

    You killed them, Pat Robertson. You killed them, Pastor Hagee. You killed them, Ann Coulter. You killed them, Dick Morris and Sean Hannity and the rest of you at Fox News.

    it is simplistic, overwrought, and because of when it was written, offensive.

    I am well aware that obviously there are media influences on individual perceptions and, to some extent, behavior. If you want a little primer, go buy this Glenn Sparks text. I agree with some of the “nuanced” arguments being presented. I do not agree with them as a defense of the bilge I just quoted.

    There is a fundamental difference between stating that someone may have been influenced by something they heard on the media, and claiming that Pat Robertson is responsible for the murders. I agree with the former, I ridicule the latter. There is a difference between saying that exposure to pornography may change our attitudes and perceptions and saying that exposure to pornography makes people rape individuals.

    Additionally, one of the things that drove me from the god damned GOP was the repellent, repugnant, and toxic rhetoric of the GOP. I have widely discussed it, I have linked to Dave Neiwert’s excellent analyses, I have examined how the rhetoric aimed at the gay movement is fundamentally no different from the rhetoric used against the civil right movement in the 60’s.

    You need to ask yourself, why has only this one person acted upon their rhetoric? Does it have anything to do with the other factors involved in this case, per chance? Like that he is crazy and off his meds and suicidal?

    Or are you all going to sit here and, in your “nuanced” arguments, defend the bullshit I have linked above?

  143. 143
    r€nato says:

    Adkisson is responsible. No excuses. Like when a woman is raped some asswipes try to say sex and lose morals depicted on TV are to blame. Or the rape victim herself because she was “provocatively” dressed.

    well actually the correct analogy is, Adkisson:Right-wing hatemongers::Rapist:Douchebags who say it’s OK to rape a woman who is provacatively dressed.

  144. 144
    Randall says:

    Looks like Mr. Cole isn’t quite ready to let go
    of the republican in him.

    Must separate self from crazy left.

    Oh how I miss those days.

  145. 145
    Ken says:

    Zifnab Says:

    (note my analogy: smoking in the gas station)

    Funny that, because cigarettes aren’t hot enough to ignite gasoline.

    Okay, then. Why don’t we just take down all those silly “No Smoking” signs at the gas pumps? Then everyone can pump their gas with a burning Marlboro dangling from their lips.

    Funny that!

    I guarantee that if you were to pull up to a gas pump next to a redneck sitting on the trunk lid of his ’65 Impala puffing on a cancerstick, you’d pull out and head to the next station down the street. I did. I’m not fucking stupid.

    And if you say you wouldn’t, you’re lying.

  146. 146
    Li says:

    I agree with you fully that the article is overwrought.

    But I believe that you are using that poorly written article as an excuse to push the thought out of your mind; that this might become much more common as the economy continues to crash, and eliminationist talk heats up. Bear witness to history, and the fall of nations into civil strife. This is the end of the first stage towards mass violence, and we have to take steps to stop it -now-.

    As is always true, admitting the problem is the first step towards solving it.

  147. 147
    Li says:

    I agree with you fully that the article is overwrought.

    But I believe that you are using that poorly written article as an excuse to push the thought out of your mind; that this might become much more common as the economy continues to crash, and eliminationist talk heats up. Bear witness to history, and the fall of nations into civil strife. The disturbed become more violent as their opportunities for advancement are taken away. The desire to hang the scapegoat gets ever stronger, and if you throw in some real deprivation a nation can rapidly explode with violence. This is the end of the first stage towards mass violence, and we have to take steps to stop it -now-.

    As is always true, admitting the problem is the first step towards solving it.

  148. 148
    Shygetz says:

    I understand the desire to say the bobbleheads are somehow responsible but if they are, then what? Does it make anyone feel better that a bunch of accomplices to murder are walking around free as birds?

    I don’t want Savage, O’Reilly, et al arrested or anything. I just want people to realize that eliminationist rhetoric tends to inspire eliminationist actions. What the f@ck else is the point of saying things like “liberals are traitors who should be shot”? How is a person like Adkisson or any other Kool-Aid drinking True Believer supposed to parse a sentence like that? Why do we (and by “we”, I mean the broadcasters, their sponsors, and the consumers who patronize the sponsors’ businesses) assume that all of those who listen to this eliminationist rhetoric day after day assume that the speaker is kidding, when there is no cues that s/he is anything but sincere? The first post had it right…when you repeatedly call for a group to be killed, don’t feign shock and dismay when someone grants your wish.

    I assume all you jackasses are going to start a petition to ban GTA IV, as no doubt it is causing people to commit crimes and kill people.

    And exactly who does GTAIV call for us to kill, and for what reason? You’d be better off comparing it to “Birth of a Nation”…but wait, that piece of mass media DID inspire quite a bit of nastiness. John Cole, you’re way off base and being quite a dick about it.

  149. 149
    Splitting Image says:

    Every time there is a tragedy, some jackass is out there trying to exploit it, attempting to validate or air their petty political grievances. Usually it is the gun nuts, explaining that if only they had been packing heat in that church/grade school/bar/government building only xxx number of people would have been killed instead of yyyy. This time, however, we are expected to believe that pundits and big mouths are responsible for this massacre

    I agree with you up to a point, John, but we do need to recognize that words can cause actions.

    Where the porn-banners go out of line is not attacking porn for its alleged relation to sexual assault, but being indiscriminate about what porn they attack. If you have a rapist in the dock blaming what’s on his bookshelf for his actions, there may actually be justification for going after the creators of those works. What most porn-banners do is argue that if Book X is like Book Y, and Book Y was owned by the rapist, then Book X is just as responsible as Book Y.

    Some of this gunman’s critics are doing the same thing. If the guy was reading Hannity, there may be a case for holding Hannity to account for his works. There is not a justification for going after every other writer who happens to be similar to Hannity. Which means you can’t simply attack “right-wing” literature in general.

    Overall, I think there is a risk in attacking writers for the actions of people who read them, but there is also a risk in ignoring the obligation writers have to write responsibly and make sure they are saying what they want to be said. The entire reason that Hannity, Coulter, et al. do what they do is that they can do it without bearing any responsibility at all. What makes someone like Coulter say that John Paul Stephens should be poisoned is probably not the fact that she’d like to see him dead, but the sheer joy she feels at being able to say that in public without any repercussions. I don’t think that proving liability in these sorts of things should be easy (and I don’t agree that we can simply say “He was reading Hannity, so it’s Hannity’s fault”), but I do think that there is often a causal link between one person’s words and another’s actions. And I also think that the matter should go to the courts if such a link seems to exist.

    To put it another way, I think the fact that we don’t prosecute writers when circumstances really demand it is one of the main reasons there is a constant push to prosecute them for any reason at all. When there is no good law in place, people will advocate for a bad one.

  150. 150
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    Or are you all going to sit here and, in your “nuanced” arguments, defend the bullshit I have linked above?

    John,

    I think there are two (possibly more) sets of comments here. One set is defending the direct-line-of-guilt argument which you quoted at the top. Another group is taking the occasion of this event to launch a more nuanced discussion of the broader context, posing the question “has right wing commentary gone too far with rhetorical violence?”. You’re having fun mocking the 1st group, but could you please take some time out from your busy day to address the 2nd group? Or is this something that you really just don’t give a schnit about?

    You still haven’t answered my earlier question: if the current level of rhetorical violence and incitement to actual violence isn’t going too far for you, what is? How much worse would still be OK with you?

    Take Germany as an example. Start in the early 1920’s when Weimar society was reasonably stable and the people who were foaming at the mouth with murderous rage regarding their hate objects and enemies were widely regarded as a bunch of nuts. Now walk forward to 1933. At what point would you say: “No more, we’ve reached a line that should not be crossed”. Not in terms in party politics, just the rhetoric.

    ‘Cause from where I sit, the actual language being used by the right in this country is very much in line with that of mid 1920’s Germany. The social and political context is different, but I’m very uncomfortable with the type of language being used. The historical record is very alarming of what tends to happen when openly murderous and dehumanizing language like this is used for a prolonged period of time by a large enough set of commentators with a big enough audience to create a sense of normality and legitimacy for these ideas.

    This isn’t just a few lunatics, it is very widespread in our society right now. I know of a Boy Scout office open to the general public where they have the radio tuned in to this garbage all day long and anybody who needs to come in to purchase a knickknack or drop off some paperwork has to stand and listen to Michael Savage ranting and raving about what we need to do about the traitorous liburls who are enemies of this country. This eliminationist rhetoric is being mainstreamed because of a lack of pushback and people saying “shame on you, how dare you say something so vile”, and this during a period of time when the GOP has been in control of the govt. and the economy was doing very well. What do you think it is going to be like in another year or two when the economy is tanking and the Democrats are in charge?

    The unfortunate fact is that we are going to see a lot more Cho’s and Jim’s before this is over.

    Li is unfortunately correct. We are going to have a serious problem in the next few years with right wing political violence in this country. Some of it will be lone nuts, some of it will be more organized. Get ready for domestic terrorism, because it is coming, and it isn’t the scary brown guys who will be shooting people and blowing stuff up. It will be the angry white guys.

    Not that they have much in the way of guns or anything. I’m sure we won’t have any problems extending our gun control laws to ensure this problem doesn’t get out of hand. If the problem is just lone nuts, all we have to do is prevent them from getting their hands on guns, which shouldn’t be that hard, AMIRIGHT?

  151. 151
    MH says:

    You need to ask yourself, why has only this one person acted upon their rhetoric?

    My first response is to shrug, “Well, someone had to be the first.” But then I remembered something:

    He WASN’T the only one. See McVeigh-comma-Tim, and Rudolph-comma-Eric, and everyone who’s killed an abortion doctor, and plenty more. This guy was simply the first in a while to conduct domestic terrorism based in American right-wing eliminiationism.

    The reason these kinds of attacks subsided in the last few years should be obvious to anyone who was paying attention when they read Neiwert: because the fringe wingers thought they had receptive or friendly ears in positions of power. As it becomes plainer that the Republicans are going to give way to a Democratic-dominated government, expect these things to become more common, as they did from 1992-2000.

    Duh.

  152. 152
    John Cole says:

    One set is defending the direct-line-of-guilt argument which you quoted at the top. Another group is taking the occasion of this event to launch a more nuanced discussion of the broader context, posing the question “has right wing commentary gone too far with rhetorical violence?”. You’re having fun mocking the 1st group, but could you please take some time out from your busy day to address the 2nd group? Or is this something that you really just don’t give a schnit about?

    When the first group stops co-opting the arguments of the second group to defend the piece I linked in this post, I will stop mocking them.

    You still haven’t answered my earlier question: if the current level of rhetorical violence and incitement to actual violence isn’t going too far for you, what is? How much worse would still be OK with you?

    I am not comfortable with much of it, but I do not have a solution. I remember I used to think Ann Coulter was funny, and truth be told, if you are a dick, she still can be funny. This piece on Harriet Miers still is funny:

    The only sexism involved in the Miers nomination is the administration’s claim that once they decided they wanted a woman, Miers was the best they could do. Let me just say, if the top male lawyer in the country is John Roberts and the top female lawyer is Harriet Miers, we may as well stop allowing girls to go to law school.

    Ah, but perhaps you were unaware of Miers’ many other accomplishments. Apparently she was THE FIRST WOMAN in Dallas to have a swimming pool in her back yard! And she was THE FIRST WOMAN with a safety deposit box at the Dallas National Bank! And she was THE FIRST WOMAN to wear pants at her law firm! It’s simply amazing! And did you know she did all this while being a woman?

    I don’t know when Republicans became the party that condescends to women, but I am not at all happy about this development. This isn’t the year 1880. And by the way, even in 1880, Miers would not have been the “most qualified” of all women lawyers in the U.S., of which there were 75.

    But where do you draw the line? If you find direct incitements to violence, the answer is clear. But where do you go from there?

    That is the part I am very uncomfortable with- drawing lines on speech because of what someone crazy might do. I have repeatedly said that the current GOP is a bunch of putrid bastards who need to be jailed and destroyed. Is that eliminationist? Is that hate speech? Could that be construed by a crazy person as a call to violence?

    And I am not trying to be a smartass and am typing hastily and will no doubt make shitty arguments. Regardless, I stand by my original assertion- the folks listed by Eskow are not responsible for the deaths of those poor people.

  153. 153
    MBunge says:

    “Because what you are trying to do is argue that I am wrong about this being shit analysis”

    No, John. That’s not what I and most others on this thread are doing. What we’re responding to is what appeared to be a very heated and unequivocal denial that there’s any connection between hateful, eliminationist right wing rhetoric and stuff like the church murders. And even after you acknowledge their might be some sort of link between then, you continue to either ignore or attack folks who are attempting to quantify that link.

    Your position seems to be…”Yes, people can be influenced. But the people doing the influencing are above or beyond being responsible for their influence.” There’s a pretty obvious conflict between those two things that you clearly don’t want to deal with.

    Do I think some right wing talking heads should be punished for the church murders? Of course not. But the next time someone like Brian Williams opens his mouth to praise Rush Limbaugh or the next time Ted Koppel goes on Sean Hannity’s radio show to promote his next TV special, I absolutely want them to think about the church murders in the context of what Rush and Sean are constantly preaching.

    Mike

  154. 154
    John Cole says:

    He WASN’T the only one. See McVeigh-comma-Tim, and Rudolph-comma-Eric, and everyone who’s killed an abortion doctor, and plenty more. This guy was simply the first in a while to conduct domestic terrorism based in American right-wing eliminiationism.

    OT- My uncle has lived in Atlanta for the past thirty years, was a prominent attorney for Southern Bell, and is named….

    Eric Rudolph (his bio is here, scroll down).

    Unlucky him.

  155. 155
    jake says:

    I don’t want Savage, O’Reilly, et al arrested or anything. I just want people to realize that eliminationist rhetoric tends to inspire eliminationist actions.

    I think you mean you want them to show they care by cutting it out (rather than simply realize). NOT. GONNA. HAPPEN. They may experience private remorse but they’re not paid to exhibit remorse. If they mention Adkisson at all it will be to whine that the liberuls will want to take away their 1st Am. rights.

    As it becomes plainer that the Republicans are going to give way to a Democratic-dominated government, expect these things to become more common, as they did from 1992-2000.

    A craptacular economy doesn’t help either. Wheee!

  156. 156
    Shygetz says:

    Regardless, I stand by my original assertion- the folks listed by Eskow are not responsible for the deaths of those poor people.

    Bullshit. No one is advocating drawing a new line on legal speech (right, guys?); we are advocating drawing a line on acceptable speech. The fact that right-wing eliminationist rhetoric has been considered acceptable for so long has taken people who were undoubtedly unstable to begin with, and given them a rage and a target to focus it on. Michael Savage advocates killing all liberals on national radio, and his sponsors just shrug. Multiple conservative authors and talking heads say liberals are traitors who should be shot, and the country just shrugs. Call someone a reggin, and you’re off the air (and rightly so)…why not the same outrage at what is clearly unacceptable and violent speech directed at liberals?

  157. 157
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    drawing lines on speech

    Just to be clear – I’m not calling for the government to get involved. This is a job for social pressure and shunning.

    The N-word used to be acceptable in polite company. I’m old enough to remember when it was commonly spoken by people who considered themselves pillars of the community and would rarely if ever use four-letter words, and we’re not talking about the heart of Dixie, either. It got to be taboo for a reason. We need to do the same thing with rightwing murder talk.

  158. 158
    Martin says:

    Because what you are trying to do is argue that I am wrong about this being shit analysis:

    I don’t think anyone is arguing that. I think we are arguing that just because it is shit analysis doesn’t automatically make true the polar opposite of what they are saying.

    But the conclusion that is always tossed out is ‘oh, he did something crazy, he must be crazy’. There’s nothing to suggest that Atkinson is crazy – just pissed off. I think that now 7 years after 9/11 it’s pretty clear that suicide bombers in general are not crazy – rather they are simply willing to die for a cause. What evidence is there that Atkinson wasn’t a perfectly rational person doing exactly what the public airwaves were telling him to do? We thought it crazy for normal citizens to participate in the extermination of an entire class of people because of economic anxiety, yet we learned that it happened and we learned that it wasn’t crazy. We would think it crazy that average people off the street would be willing to electrocute someone for failing to answer a question correctly, yet we learned that also happens to be true.

    Atkinson isn’t saying anything different from what we’ve heard constantly the last decade – it’s perfectly on note with Hannity and crew. Perhaps he just reached that point that the cause was worth dying for? But don’t pretend that some otherwise rational, compassionate people can’t rather easily be pushed into doing what appear to be irrational, terrible things because the evidence is well against you there.

  159. 159
    Loviatar says:

    I was asked a few months ago why I was so anti-John Cole/Andrew Sullivan and those ilk, I mean they had turned against the Republicans hadn’t they (John had even registered Democratic, WHOOPEE). This thread is the reason why, John’s conversion away from the Republicans was not because he disagreed with their policies it was because Bush had ineptly implemented them. John is still a Republican through and through and now that he has made his “bonafides” as a Democrat he can mainstream and excuse a lot of rightwing crap without the normal pushback.

    John Cole / Andrew Sullivan is the Republican 2.0, the new version who will ride in after a few years as an Independent / Democrat to save the Republican Party from the Bush debacle. John has convinced many of you he has changed, he hasn’t, whats changed is your perception of him. He is still the same person believing the same things he believed 8 years ago, he has just learned to hide it better.

    .
    It wouldn’t surprise me if this wasn’t a plan of the sane members of the Republican Party for a few members to exile themselves for a few years so they could ride in after awhile to save the party. /conspiracy theory

  160. 160
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    But where do you draw the line? If you find direct incitements to violence, the answer is clear. But where do you go from there?

    That’s a very good question. Legally, yes I don’t think we should go after anything short of direct incitement. Socially and politically, that is another story (see my 2:28pm comment).

    If you haven’t read Glover’s book, you really, really need to. Direct incitement to violence is very rare in the past situations where this sort of thing has gotten out of hand. The hate speech vendors don’t need to go that far – they joke, they mock, they tease, they hint at it, most of all they simply use dehumanizing language – comparing their enemies to animals, vermin, bacteria, cancers, etc. When you start hearing the language of epidemiology and medical intervention, that is a very bad sign.

    The direct incitements to violence only come near the end of the escalation, usually right before the real violence begins in earnest, and sometimes not even then. Even the NSDAP liked to use metaphors and euphemisms (“Resettled to the East”) as much as possible.

  161. 161
    liberal says:

    Zifnab wrote,

    Because while the airwaves are public, they are not free to use. You’ve got to purchase the capital necessary to set up a station and you’ve got to pay the local fee for using that spectrum of transmission.

    But that’s the point—the fee is going to the owner of the spectrum. That would be us, the public. As the owner, we have the right to set up rules for usage. One of which could be the fairness doctrine, or something akin to it.

    Oh yeah. Cause that [the Fairness Doctrine] worked out so well back in the day.

    AFAIK, it worked extremely well—the rise of modern right-wing radio occurred after the demise of the F. D.

    When Clear Channel gets to buy out half the spectrum, then we have a real problem. But diversity of opinion isn’t going to happen because we mandate that different viewpoints get stated in the same venue. If the price of entry is low enough, someone will be happy to set up a pro-liberal or pro-green or pro-libertarian or pro-whatever radio station be it for profit or for politics.

    Nonsensical. If you don’t allow bidding on price, then you have to have some mechanism for choosing among all the bids you’re going to get. What happens, e.g., if you set a low price and pick the “winner” by lottery, and the a handful of non-far-right bids are submitted, and at the same time there’s a flood of right-wing bids?

    The Media Ownership Rules are the problem, not the Fairness Doctrine – a policy that only embraces the ridiculousness of our two-party government system as though every issue must be divided up into Democrat or Republican.

    What in the F.D. embraced (i.e., reflected) the two party system? Looking at the Wikipedia page, I can’t find anything.

  162. 162
    John Cole says:

    Bullshit. No one is advocating drawing a new line on legal speech (right, guys?); we are advocating drawing a line on acceptable speech. The fact that right-wing eliminationist rhetoric has been considered acceptable for so long has taken people who were undoubtedly unstable to begin with, and given them a rage and a target to focus it on. Michael Savage advocates killing all liberals on national radio, and his sponsors just shrug. Multiple conservative authors and talking heads say liberals are traitors who should be shot, and the country just shrugs. Call someone a reggin, and you’re off the air (and rightly so)…why not the same outrage at what is clearly unacceptable and violent speech directed at liberals?

    If all you are talking about is social pressure, I have no pronblem with that and may join you when I find it acceptable.

    I was asked a few months ago why I was so anti-John Cole/Andrew Sullivan and those ilk, I mean they had turned against the Republicans hadn’t they (John had even registered Democratic, WHOOPEE). This thread is the reason why, John’s conversion away from the Republicans was not because he disagreed with their policies it was because Bush had ineptly implemented them.

    Guilty as charged. I am still in favor of efficient government doing as little as needed, taxes as low as possible, government out of your bedroom and private life, balanced budgets, a strong but humble national defense and foreign policy. Bush implemented none of them, I still support them all. I am also still against the death penalty, support gay rights, support abortion rights, and oppose the drug wars and the prison-industrial complex. I am a bona fide right-wing nutjob, Lovatior. While I still believe all those things, what I really learned is that the GOP has never (at least not in the last 20-30 years) believed in them. It is why I left.

    Am I allowed to tell this guy to fuck off yet?

    And regardless of what you all say, I still think Eskow’s piece is crap.

  163. 163
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    It wouldn’t surprise me if this wasn’t a plan of the sane members of the Republican Party for a few members to exile themselves for a few years so they could ride in after awhile to save the party.

    I am intrigued by your ideas and would like to subscr…

    Aw screw it – this is total BS. Sorry Loviatar.

    In case you haven’t noticed, there is a consistent theme to this blog. JOHN HATES CENSORSHIP. That is why even the most mind numbingly stupid comments are allowed to go up here. His take on that issue is entirely consistent with that stand. I suspect he is just reacting to what he perceives as an attempt to limit speech using guilt by association.

  164. 164
    jake says:

    The fact that right-wing eliminationist rhetoric has been considered acceptable for so long has taken people who were undoubtedly unstable to begin with, and given them a rage and a target to focus it on.

    Wait, it is far less acceptable now than it was say, 70 years ago. 70 (or 60 or 50…) years ago it was the norm. People who disagreed with the need to keep the darkies in their place, give the perverts electroshock therapy and take an icepick to the bitches who didn’t do what they were told were regarded as freaks.

    Nothing any of those cretins says is any way new or even that shocking. A large part of their appeal rests on the idea that they piss off the liberals. I would argue that if they didn’t exist, this guy would have found something or someone that reinforced his sick little world view.

    Like the Bible f’rinstance.

  165. 165
    liberal says:

    John Cole wrote,

    That is the part I am very uncomfortable with- drawing lines on speech because of what someone crazy might do. I have repeatedly said that the current GOP is a bunch of putrid bastards who need to be jailed and destroyed. Is that eliminationist? Is that hate speech? Could that be construed by a crazy person as a call to violence?

    No, because “jailed” implies following due process of law, and “destroyed” implies as an organization, not by murdering the people who belong to the organization.

    The contrast with Coulter’s eliminationist rhetoric couldn’t be clearer.

  166. 166
    liberal says:

    ThatLeftTurnInABQ wrote,

    In case you haven’t noticed, there is a consistent theme to this blog. JOHN HATES CENSORSHIP.

    That’s cool, just as long as we’re clear that pressuring advertisers (economically, or morally, though not legally) to pressure media outlets to drop right-wing voices is not censorship.

  167. 167
    Steve says:

    cigarettes aren’t hot enough to ignite gasoline.

    I’m pretty sure they can ignite gasoline, but not diesel.

  168. 168
    Zifnab says:

    Nonsensical. If you don’t allow bidding on price, then you have to have some mechanism for choosing among all the bids you’re going to get. What happens, e.g., if you set a low price and pick the “winner” by lottery, and the a handful of non-far-right bids are submitted, and at the same time there’s a flood of right-wing bids?

    Then you have half a dozen right-wing radio jockeys competing for the same number of right-wing earlobes. And people start going out of business when their ratings tank and their advertising dollars dry up.

    It’s the same reason you don’t see eight different burrito stands on the same street corner, unless the street really, really, really likes burritos.

    Clear Channel is a problem because they buy up a bunch of spectrum space and camp it out. So you only have one wingnut channel that controls 40% of the spectrum and raises the rates so that no one else can get it. Limit how much audio real estate they can own and another right wing company will only step in to fill the gap if it thinks an audience exists for it to turn a profit off of.

    The Fairness Doctrine, on the other hand, has a bunch of bureaucrats arguing over what is “too right wing”. Who appoints those bureaucrats? Why, the various high pumbas of the two biggest parties, that’s who. And then you get another flavor of FCC telling Al Franken he’s got to make time for Glenn Beck and Hugh Hewitt, while every Sean Hannity gets paired up with another Alan Colmes.

    Did you just give “liberals” Joe Klein and David Brooks air time? Better bring in Robert Novak or Karl Rove to “balance” them out.

    Aaaaand, congratulations, we’ve reinvented Crossfire.

    No thank you.

  169. 169
    liberal says:

    John Cole wrote,

    Because what you are trying to do is argue that I am wrong about this being shit analysis:

    It’s not “shit analysis.” It’s polemic.

    You’re free to claim that it’s not good polemic, but what you seem to be implying—that “we” shouldn’t be using polemic, but just cool, dispassionate analysis—is IMHO a mistake. It would be taking on the right with one hand tied behind our backs.

  170. 170
    Genine says:

    There is a fundamental difference between stating that someone may have been influenced by something they heard on the media, and claiming that Pat Robertson is responsible for the murders. I agree with the former, I ridicule the latter.

    I agree with that. Each person is ultimately responsible for their own actions. There are definitely influences, but its up to people to rise above them.

    But this particular individual had issues that just fed into the right-wing noise machine. The right-wing didn’t make him kill anymore.

  171. 171
    The Populist says:

    Zifnab wrote:

    A better solution would be to bring back the Fairness Doctrine.

    Oh yeah. Cause that worked out so well back in the day.

    LOL on you. It worked because it forced an evenhanded, fair DEBATE to be held. If Rush says Liberals are evil, he would then have to have a liberal on to debate that point.

    Nothing wrong with that. Shite, Thom Hartmann gives the right ample opps to defend their points on his liberal show.

  172. 172
    Randall says:

    John Cole / Andrew Sullivan is the Republican 2.0

    I don’t think this is true of John, though you are right on about Sully. It just takes time for all the thought processes to become cohesive when you are making such a huge shift in ideology. The republican ideology is a lazy one prone to knee jerk reactions and the defense of those reactions.

    I went through the same thing in the early 90’s and it took me a couple of years to stop saying stupid shit because that was all I knew.

    Now I spew a whole new kind of stupid shit.

  173. 173
    calipygian says:

    Am I allowed to tell this guy to fuck off yet?

    Your house, JC. Were all just squatters here.

  174. 174
    The Populist says:

    Jake,

    That’s true. I know some really cool, smart conservatives who are fun as hell until the issue of liberals comes up…that’s when I have to walk away because it’s so hateful without any basis in reality.

    I am a moderate former conservative who couldn’t take the hate and sheep mentality so that is why I rail against them now.

  175. 175
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    to drop right-wing voices

    I’d have no problem with right-wing voices, if that’s all it is. They can yammer on all they like about taxes or regulatory govt. or Milton Friedman or the badness of socialism, as far as I’m concerned.

    It’s the murder talk that has to stop. There’s nothing specifically right-wing about wanting to murder your enemies (see Dzhugashvili, Josef: career of). We are very lucky in this country not to have a murderous extreme Left of any consequence, now let’s broaden that blessing to the other side of the political spectrum.

  176. 176

    One other small point. If repetition doesn’t work, then perhaps all this advertising is for naught?

    Time to tell the ad agencies to go home.

    Still, we are all ultimately responsible for ourselves, though I do find myself being my brothers (sisters) keeper.

  177. 177
    liberal says:

    Zifnab wrote,

    Then you have half a dozen right-wing radio jockeys competing for the same number of right-wing earlobes.

    No, I’m referring to the auction of a single license. In the case I hypothesized, the right-wingers would get the license.

    Limit how much audio real estate they can own and another right wing company will only step in to fill the gap if it thinks an audience exists for it to turn a profit off of.

    LOL! There’s just no good way to do that. What’s to prevent them from setting up shell corporations, etc?

    Furthermore, there are plenty of examples of left-of-center programs with excellent ratings being discontinued, even if there was no clear economic reason to do so. So it’s not a simple matter of a limited amount of right-wing earlobes.

    The Fairness Doctrine, on the other hand, has a bunch of bureaucrats arguing over what is “too right wing”.

    You don’t have any understanding of what the Fairness Doctrine was. For example, in many situations, it forced the station to give right of reply. You don’t need any bureaucrat to make any judgements of ideology for that.

  178. 178
    The Populist says:

    Zifnab,

    If that’s true why does Rush get a record contract for a show that LOSES listeners every month?

    Why is it that Michael Savage is still on the air?

    Why is it that craptastic arsehole Glenn Beck is still on CNN and guesthosting Larry King?

    Interesting…YET whenever radio has a shot to give a good libbie talker a spot, they keep the same ol cons on or give it to some other idiot con because media owners do not like being called liberal.

  179. 179
    The Populist says:

    Liberal,

    We all keep educating righties on what the Fairness DOctrine is YET the same talking point keeps getting sold that it’s bad?!?!?!

  180. 180
    The Moar You Know says:

    Am I allowed to tell this guy to fuck off yet?

    Only if you’re tired of reading “so, John, why DID you vote for Bush twice?” for the 9000th time, like some completely inept cop who’s trying to catch you in a clumsy fabrication.

    I’m tired of it.

    Loviatar, if John doesn’t ban you outright, which I think he’s completely within his rights to do, please come up with another schtick, your old schtick is getting old.

  181. 181
    liberal says:

    Genine wrote,

    Each person is ultimately responsible for their own actions. There are definitely influences, but its up to people to rise above them.

    This discussion has just completely wandered off into BS-land.

    You might as well say, “Bush isn’t responsible for the invasion and occupation of Iraq. The individual soldiers are, but not Bush.”

    It’s fine to argue for personal responsibility, but to say that those wielding influence are not a contributing cause is just stupid.

  182. 182
    liberal says:

    The Populist wrote,

    We all keep educating righties on what the Fairness DOctrine is YET the same talking point keeps getting sold that it’s bad??!

    Zifnab (from his other comments to other posts on this blog) isn’t a righty.

    Rather, he doesn’t understand the political economy of the media. But there are worse things to be guilty of.

  183. 183
    jake says:

    You might as well say, “Bush isn’t responsible for the invasion and occupation of Iraq. The individual soldiers are, but not Bush.”

    And here we have a fine example of Post hoc ergo WTF.

  184. 184
    John Cole says:

    I am not going to ban anyone, but christ, if you are going to troll, at least try something interesting. Be over the top and outrageous and funny, or be subtle and say stupid shit that sounds reasonable and gets me to agree with it when I am reading in a rush, or something clever. This “John just can’t let go of his republican roots” schtick is just so tired and played out.

    Although in fairness, I do read the Corner and K-Lo, so coming up with over-the-top shit compared to them is kind of tough.

  185. 185
    Genine says:

    It’s fine to argue for personal responsibility, but to say that those wielding influence are not a contributing cause is just stupid

    Liberal, I DID say that… several times today. I never said influences do NOT contribute. I would never say that. I just said that its up to people to overcome them.

    Geez!

  186. 186
    rekroc says:

    Right wingers (and, apparently, rehabbed right wingers) have no patience for nuance. Give them black-and-white over nuance every time because it’s just easier, goddammit!

    Guns don’t kill people, right? So, hell, let’s let everybody have nukes! Nukes don’t kill people, either, goddammit!

    Anyone who shoots up a church? He’s just fuckin’ CRAZY, goddammit! Nuff said! He was fuckin’ BORN that way and it was just a matter of TIME before he started shootin’ up people! It’s just not fuckin’ possible that he may have actually been relatively normal at some point in time, but prolonged exposure to violent hate speech at the most depressing, frustrating point in his life when he decided he wanted out of this world helped him to decide he’d make himself a martyr by carrying out some of the things his right-wing heroes SPECIFICALLY WISHED FOR.

    Nah, just not fuckin’ possible. Too complicated. Not black-and-white enough. Besides, censoring hate-mongers from calling for the murder of large segments of our society is a slippery slope. Shit, man, it’s a hell of a lot easier to completely AVOID drawing lines than to make the tough fuckin’ decision of WHERE to draw the line!

  187. 187
    liberal says:

    jake wrote,

    And here we have a fine example of Post hoc ergo WTF.

    Really? Did Bush actually fly any planes on bombing runs, or fire any weaponry in Iraq? No. Just like Coulter didn’t pull the trigger at the church.

    Bush’s causal connection to the invasion of Iraq was one of wielding social power over other human beings, just like Coulter/Limbaugh/etc. You can argue all you want that it’s a different context, blah blah blah, but the fact is that people wielding social power are causal agents, and have moral (if not always legal) responsibility for what they say.

  188. 188
    Grendel72 says:

    So if it’s just one crazy guy, why is it that this kind of thing never happens to conservative groups? It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the fact that nobody, whether liberal or just simply sane enough to disagree with them, goes on and on and fucking on for hours a day on the public airwaves about how they need to be killed?
    It’s just a crazy random coincidence that it’s always churches promoting social justice that get firebombed rather than those who preach hate, gays who get beat rather than homophobes, doctors who perform abortions who are murdered rather than anti-choice protestors?
    And comparing the outright calls for violence that are routine from rightwing hate radio with any form of art is pure idiocy of the highest order. Movies and videogames do not point to real people, blame them for all the ills of the world and suggest they should be murdered. Rightwing pundidts do so routinely. It’s their primary schtick.

  189. 189
    John Cole says:

    Right wingers (and, apparently, rehabbed right wingers) have no patience for nuance. Give them black-and-white over nuance every time because it’s just easier, goddammit!

    Guns don’t kill people, right? So, hell, let’s let everybody have nukes! Nukes don’t kill people, either, goddammit!

    Anyone who shoots up a church? He’s just fuckin’ CRAZY, goddammit! Nuff said! He was fuckin’ BORN that way and it was just a matter of TIME before he started shootin’ up people! It’s just not fuckin’ possible that he may have actually been relatively normal at some point in time, but prolonged exposure to violent hate speech at the most depressing, frustrating point in his life when he decided he wanted out of this world helped him to decide he’d make himself a martyr by carrying out some of the things his right-wing heroes SPECIFICALLY WISHED FOR.

    The war on straw continues unabated. Nuance to some of you clowns is not unsimilar to the media version of balance. When you reject the notion that Falwell is responsible for these murders as Eskow stated, then clearly the ONLY other position possible is that they had NO influence whatsoever.

  190. 190
    jake says:

    Really? Did Bush actually fly any planes on bombing runs, or fire any weaponry in Iraq? No. Just like Coulter didn’t pull the trigger at the church.

    Bush’s causal connection to the invasion of Iraq was one of wielding social power over other human beings, just like Coulter/Limbaugh/etc. You can argue all you want that it’s a different context, blah blah blah, but the fact is that people wielding social power are causal agents, and have moral (if not always legal) responsibility for what they say.

    Hmm. I can argue all I want that members of the armed forces obeying orders passed down by their C-i-C is exactly the opposite of some random dirt bag shooting up a church his wife used to attend but that’s just “context.”

    If you’re not spoofing a lot of natural talent is going to waste.

  191. 191
    liberal says:

    Genine wrote,

    Liberal, I DID say that… several times today. I never said influences do NOT contribute. I would never say that. I just said that its up to people to overcome them.

    OK.

  192. 192
    liberal says:

    jake wrote,

    I can argue all I want that members of the armed forces obeying orders passed down by their C-i-C is exactly the opposite of some random dirt bag shooting up a church his wife used to attend but that’s just “context.”

    It might be a command, but it’s still only a command. There’s no physical causality involved, rather only social.

  193. 193
    Zifnab says:

    No, I’m referring to the auction of a single license. In the case I hypothesized, the right-wingers would get the license.

    The idea is that you don’t have a single given license. You have lots of licenses. As it stands, Clear Channel can buy up one wide spectrum that could encompass a dozen stations and squat it. Under progressive rules, they would not have the right to horde spectrum. If ten smaller right wing radio stations swept in and set up shop, they’d all be competing against each other. If Clear Channel just set up a shell company and funneled money to it by purchasing ad space, it would still have to build and maintain multiple separate radio stations, crews, and programs. Even if they didn’t get called out immediately, this would be prohibitively expensive.

    If that’s true why does Rush get a record contract for a show that LOSES listeners every month?

    Why is it that Michael Savage is still on the air?

    Why is it that craptastic arsehole Glenn Beck is still on CNN and guesthosting Larry King?

    Interesting…YET whenever radio has a shot to give a good libbie talker a spot, they keep the same ol cons on or give it to some other idiot con because media owners do not like being called liberal.

    Firstly, Savage and Limbaugh are still on the air because they camp out the cheaper AM spectrum. Even if they are losing their audience, tens of millions of listeners still ranks them on par with any given major network TV station. Friends racked in about 20 million viewers a night and it was considered wildly successful. Bill O’Reily – considered the titan of the cable news pundits – racks in a measily 2-3 million by comparison.

    They blab for hours on a cheap medium that is largely dominated by a single carrier. So its economics of scale and it is very good business for Clear Channel. No one is losing money on Limbaugh or Savage.

    Beck on CNN is certainly something else. But again, he’s dirt cheap to produce and if he can justify his paycheck CNN will happily stuff him in that slot just because they have nothing better to fill it with. Tucker Carlson, on the other hand, got handed his walking papers a while back and he was doing marginally better than Glenn. Charlie Gibson, on FOX, suffered the same fate. Plenty of shitty guys get canned if they can’t make their numbers.

    Air America, by comparison, has had a hellish time getting off the ground because their business model was bad. Go read up on it and you’ll be presented with a beginner’s guide in how not to start a syndicated radio network. They tried to buck the mold and failed.

    Again, this has nothing to do with Air America being liberal although wingnuts will happily tell you otherwise. This is strictly business. Right wing radio sells big because the audience is very large, very dependable, and very rich. Instituting the Fairness Doctrine won’t change that. At best, you’ll get a farce of a system where big corporate lawyers laugh in the face of enforcement officers and a bunch of entrenched politicians launch meaningless crusades over four letter words and dirty language.

    Besides, what are you complaining about? As you so aptly pointed out, the audience of these gasbags is fading fast. Limbaugh, O’Reily, Hannity, Savage, Beck, and the rest are all dinosaurs. Why do you think Tucker Carlson wears a fucking bow tie? Who do you think their audience is? These guys will be relegated to the dust bin of history via the free market, as nature intended. Who they get replaced by will be determined by who has access to the airwaves. And that access will be granted by licenses sold at the state and local level. If progressives can’t buy licenses – because they are all collectively owned by one massive corporation – all the Fairness Doctrines in the world won’t break the single-handed corporate control of the medium.

  194. 194
    Martin says:

    I just said that its up to people to overcome them.

    Except that we’ve learned that a decent percentage of the population has genuine trouble overcoming them when they happen under certain conditions. We can wish that wasn’t the case all we want – it won’t change anything.

  195. 195
    MBunge says:

    “The war on straw continues unabated. Nuance to some of you clowns is not unsimilar to the media version of balance. When you reject the notion that Falwell is responsible for these murders as Eskow stated, then clearly the ONLY other position possible is that they had NO influence whatsoever.”

    What “nuance” was there in your initial post on this subject? You didn’t say “I’m tired of this bullshit because it makes it impossible to seriously discuss what sort of responsiblity does or does not belong to those who spread hateful, dehumanizing, eliminationist rhetoric”. Your first comment seems more like a complete denial of ANY such responsibility, and you followed that up with post after post that makes it clear you don’t want to take part in any such discussion of responsiblity, even though you’ll admit that there is influence at work.

    Mike

  196. 196
    rekroc says:

    Uh, John…

    The straw is mostly coming out of your ass.

    You’re the one who’s been slamming people in this thread for basically saying that the author of the Huffington Post article has a point.

    As far as I can see, nobody here is completely agreeing with the author, but just as you feel free to make over-the-top comments like “Jody Foster should be in jail” in a weak attempt to make some bizarre point, the Huffington Post writer chose to do the same.

    Sensible people here recognized this and attempted to ignore the over-the-top nature of certain comments in order to have a more intelligent debate, but you locked onto them and refused to let go.

    Yes, the shooter was ultimately responsible for killing and injuring the people in that church. Nobody denies this. However, having easy access to continuous, violent hate speech on the public airwaves telling him precisely who to target certainly helped things along, now didn’t it?

  197. 197
    jake says:

    It might be a command, but it’s still only a command. There’s no physical causality involved, rather only social.

    This concludes today’s edition of “The Dictionary is a Tool of the Oppressor.”

    Tune in next week when we’ll learn how keeping five cheerleaders locked in your basement is the same as the police locking up criminals and so those prigs who made such a fuss don’t understand context.

  198. 198
    John Cole says:

    Onward the thread goes:

    What “nuance” was there in your initial post on this subject? You didn’t say “I’m tired of this bullshit because it makes it impossible to seriously discuss what sort of responsiblity does or does not belong to those who spread hateful, dehumanizing, eliminationist rhetoric”. Your first comment seems more like a complete denial of ANY such responsibility, and you followed that up with post after post that makes it clear you don’t want to take part in any such discussion of responsiblity, even though you’ll admit that there is influence at work.

    It means exactly what I said. I am sick and tired of people coming out after tragedies like this and throwing out a bunch of absolutes. Again, where is the “nuance” in this:

    You killed them, Pat Robertson. You killed them, Pastor Hagee. You killed them, Ann Coulter. You killed them, Dick Morris and Sean Hannity and the rest of you at Fox News.

    That is simplistic, tacky, and well, bullshit. it smacks to me of the same kind of crap when someone murders a kid and some jackass on the right says “You see- it is because liberals support a culture of death!”

    Sort of related… If anyone can figure out what the fuck this means, fill me in.

  199. 199
    MBunge says:

    “It means exactly what I said. I am sick and tired of people coming out after tragedies like this and throwing out a bunch of absolutes.”

    John, did it ever occur to you that your obvious unwillingness to think about what sort of responsibility SHOULD be attatched to hateful, extreme rhetoric is one of the things that pushes people to throw out absolutes in the wake of such tragedies? If you can’t bring up the subject of right wing eliminationist rhetoric in the wake of a massacre committed by a consumer of that rhetoric, who apparently explicitly stated that he was going to kill people because he believed in that rhetoric…when exactly is the issue going to be discussed?

    The point is, John, that all you really want to do is rail against the excessiveness of making a direct link between right wing rhetoric and violent acts. You’re completely uninterested in considering the subject beyond that, even as you admit that such rhetoric can influence people.

    Mike

  200. 200
    jrg says:

    Right wing radio sells big because the audience is very large, very dependable, and very rich.

    Link, please? I know a number of rich people – most of them do not spend their days listening to talk radio. Everyone I know that listens to right-wing talk radio either have jobs that require so little thought that they can have the radio playing while they work, or they are unemployed fools like the nut that shot up the church.

    Rich people, generally speaking, are not the sort of people that need constant affirmation for their own existence, or a never-ending stream of excuses for failure.

  201. 201
    garyb50 says:

    EARTHQUAKE ! ! ! !

  202. 202
    Voice of Reason says:

    it smacks to me of the same kind of crap when someone murders a kid and some jackass on the right says “You see- it is because liberals support a culture of death!”

    Well, your arguments are becoming increasingly deranged. The jackasses on the right are going to continue to say this even when no causality can be demonstrated and none exists. Since the is no such “culture of death,” theirs is a patently specious argument. However, the right-wing culture of hate does exist, it is demonstrable, and it was a part of the causation for this event. Specious comparisons to what they say don’t make you look like you’ve “thought about this.” They make you look like an absolutist, and not a bright one.

  203. 203
    John Cole says:

    John, did it ever occur to you that your obvious unwillingness to think about what sort of responsibility SHOULD be attatched to hateful, extreme rhetoric is one of the things that pushes people to throw out absolutes in the wake of such tragedies?

    You have the order of events reversed, and are dissolving into farce now. Eskow’s ridiculous absolute is not in response to my “unwillingness to think” about this issue. The only reason I posted this is in response to his absolute.

  204. 204
    Genine says:

    Sort of related… If anyone can figure out what the fuck this means, fill me in.

    I kind of admire twisting logic to that extent. I mean its a stretch, but its admirable. I can see some of my conservative friends using that argument now! Its like a pretzel!

    Basically, those that blame those books for his actions, do not want to blame to Koran for the actions of terrorists and that’s wrong.

    Wow

  205. 205
    jake says:

    Again? I hope the Cali-Juicers are all right.

    And if some lack wit blames this on teh ghey we can stop bickering about Mr. Bitter & Clinging 2 His Guns.

  206. 206
    scarshapedstar says:

    Why do you think this son of a bitch is so sick and crazy? For christ’s sake, read the unhinged emails from your right-wing relatives lately? I could fabricate a “speech” by Obama in which he praises Hitler, write it up in Comic Sans, and email it to my grandpa and my uncle, and within a month 30 million Americans would have read it and believed it wholeheartedly.

    There is a very real mass psychosis in this country and you know damn well who’s responsible. Millions of people listen to Rush Limbaugh every morning so that they can feel pissed off. It is Orwell’s “Two Minutes Hate”. Granted, I must confess I often read lefty blogs for the same reason, but there is one key difference:

    Lefty blogs bear at least some semblance to reality.

  207. 207
    The Moar You Know says:

    Eskow’s absolutism is silly, but it got your attention, did it not? I suspect that is why he used it.

    Now, to say that the folks Eskow cites literally killed the poor people in that church is silly. I think we can all agree on that. Ann Coulter was not in that church. Neither was Bill O’Reilly.

    To say that the creep squad that Eskow cites are in some measure responsible for it is not silly, rather it strikes me as eminently reasonable and logical. I think in another year, after a Democratic landslide and further tipping into recession (which will lead to further increases in the eliminationist rhetoric), we’re going to look back on this and see Adkisson as the tip of a brand-new and very ugly spear.

    It’s an unfortunate fact that few left-wing extremists murder, but a lot of right-wing ones do. They’ve been held in abeyance solely by virtue that, for the last seven years, they’ve essentially gotten their way. That’s going to change very soon, and as we saw back in the mid-90s, we can expect to see a new crop of domestic Taliban terrorists killing health-care providers, law-ernforcement officers, talk show hosts, innocent civilians, and anyone who happens to get in between them and their targets.

    I hope that Congress increases funding for the Secret Service. They’re going to need it.

  208. 208
    The Moar You Know says:

    scarshapedstar Says:

    Why do you think this son of a bitch is so sick and crazy? For christ’s sake, read the unhinged emails from your right-wing relatives lately? I could fabricate a “speech” by Obama in which he praises Hitler, write it up in Comic Sans, and email it to my grandpa and my uncle, and within a month 30 million Americans would have read it and believed it wholeheartedly.

    There is a very real mass psychosis in this country and you know damn well who’s responsible. Millions of people listen to Rush Limbaugh every morning so that they can feel pissed off. It is Orwell’s “Two Minutes Hate”.

    Try Michael Weiner or Sean Hannity, it’s far worse.

    Oh yeah: every word of this is true. Save that it wouldn’t take a month. Maybe a week.

  209. 209
    The Populist says:

    Some idiots on a few far right blogs are saying that Obama will be rounding them up with his secret police. Sure, libs call Bush a fascist and evil, etc, but I don’t read any of these blog members posting the shit I see elsewhere.

    Hmmmm…Bush = Fascist or Obama needs to be destroyed because he has a secret police department that wants to shut us all down and round us up!

    Funny, if I read that without seeing Obama, I’d think they were worried about Bush. HE has shown he is more than willing to trample individual freedoms than Obama ever could.

  210. 210
    The Moar You Know says:

    Some idiots on a few far right blogs are saying that Obama will be rounding them up with his secret police. Sure, libs call Bush a fascist and evil, etc, but I don’t read any of these blog members posting the shit I see elsewhere.

    You should have been reading over at Daily Kos circa 2004 and 2005. Quite a few people believed Bush was building death camps for liberals.

    That’s one of the reasons that I don’t hang out over there any more. I’m a leftist, not a lunatic.

  211. 211
    binzinerator says:

    The historical record is very alarming of what tends to happen when openly murderous and dehumanizing language like this is used for a prolonged period of time by a large enough set of commentators with a big enough audience to create a sense of normality and legitimacy for these ideas.

    It’s the normality and legitimacy that has already taken place that makes this so disturbing. Perhaps then I ought not to be so surprised that people refuse to see a connection between those people who advocate killing, maiming or terrorizing into silence their political opponents and those who act on those exhortations.

    If I’m understanding John’s position, he thinks there is no connection between the church murders and the rightwing mainstream eliminationist rhetoric, and that the people responsible for that murderous rhetoric bear no responsibility whatsoever.

    Liberals — and that label is applied to anyone who disagrees with these modern conservatives — are not seen by the Right as political opponents to be persuaded or debated with or make compromises with; instead we are declared subhuman enemies of America who seek to undermine the nation’s institutions. Therefore we must be destroyed. It has been described as a patriotic duty to do so.

    Why is it we understand this kind of rhetoric and the line of culpability to those employing it when, as a commenter did, “liberal” is substituted for “jew”?

    The unfortunate fact is that we are going to see a lot more Cho’s and Jim’s before this is over.

    I, too, think Li is unfortunately correct.

  212. 212
    The Populist says:

    The difference between right and left bloggers and posters…

    A rightie group sends out an email saying Obama is a muslim and when elected will take your bibles and institute Sharia law. They also perpetuate a myth (to a country that has NO CLUE how it’s own guvmint works for gosh sakes!) that Obama took his oath on a Koran when that couldn’t happen!

    A rightie blogger takes Bush talking points and spins them in a way that makes the left look like the enemy of all that is good.

    A rightie talking head on a “news” show will slip in that Kerry may have shot himself in order to get his purple heart.

    A leftie poster/group may send out a request to donate money to stop Bush. They back up the post with refutable facts about being spied upon, an unnecessary war for oil, etc.

    A leftie blogger will post points from the likes of Malkin and Limbaugh to rebut them. Sure a few posters go overboard BUT NONE OF THEM wish death on others.

    A leftie talkshow guest will call McCain a war monger or another jokingly calls him grandpa. None of these people would ever question McCain’s service.

    The difference is startling and shows why nut jobs like this guy are running around armed with misinformation.

  213. 213
    jrg says:

    It’s an unfortunate fact that few left-wing extremists murder, but a lot of right-wing ones do.

    I’d say that this is fortunate in the sense that it creates a huge backlash. It’s very unfortunate that good people had to die.

  214. 214
    Martin says:

    It means exactly what I said. I am sick and tired of people coming out after tragedies like this and throwing out a bunch of absolutes.

    But you did the same thing.

    You dismissed this as the random act of a crazy person. I don’t see any evidence that it is. You also miss that this is a common right-wing attitude toward these things. Conservatives will rail against insanity defenses as merely being escape clauses from punishment but will quickly run to ‘crazy’ or ‘evil’ as categorical labels to apply to those that fail their own system. See, all of the forces pushing this guy to blame not himself, not the administration, not the authors of the policies that caused him whatever grieved him, not the corporation that laid him off or what have you but rather to blame gays, blacks, liberals for his woes won’t reflect that they might have had a contributing role here. Not that they are criminal, rather they used poor judgement and now there is a consequence of that. So rather than look at what actually led to this act, you dismissed it as ‘crazy’. Gone. Done. No investigation or social role needed because crazy is as crazy does. (Muslims usually get the evil rather than crazy label, but they’re largely interchangable.)

    See, there are no social problems when you can just tag the offending agents as something that goes beyond explanation. Yes, it’s painful as hell to think that anyone in our society, being of sound mind, might have done something like this, or even that people can be pushed into such acts, but Americans aren’t genetically different from the people that choose to fly planes into buildings because some fast talking guy in a cave says to do it. There’s no reason whatsoever that we couldn’t swap out individuals and have a bunch of Americans fly a plane into the Burj Dubai because Hannity or whoever tells them to do it. The only thing missing are the social variables that allow people to cross that line – and authoritarian speech is one of those variables. It is quite rare in the US, but let’s not pretend that it is impossible – and let’s not dismiss all acts of violence as only belonging to the crazy set – because that’s far from the case.

    From what we can tell right now, this guy seemed to know exactly what he was doing, what the consequences of it would be, and read from the right-wing noise machine script word-for-word that liberals were to blame for the downfall of America and sought to protect what he valued, even at his own expense. He wasn’t offered appropriate remedies – political acts, etc. but rather violent ones. If we can all recognize the before, during, and after of this event and see how they are connected, what part of it is crazy? What part of it isn’t perfectly repeatable given someone who is susceptible to authoritarianism and with similar social variables (loss of job, etc)?

  215. 215
    The Populist says:

    You should have been reading over at Daily Kos circa 2004 and 2005. Quite a few people believed Bush was building death camps for liberals.

    True but they didn’t go off and form militias or bomb abortion clinics to make their points now did they? It was just a bunch of tin foil hat wearing libs talking about things that sites like Prison Planet perpetuate.

    These militias tended to be stocked with people who claim Clinton was spying on them in black helicopters. They usually espoused secession from the USA OR threatened Clinton’s well being. They tended to have folks that were racist, anti-semitic and despised anybody different from them.

    So the difference here is I don’t get angry when Mike Malloy says dumb shit. I laugh at his silly opinions but somebody like Ed Schultz doesn’t make me want to hurt McCain because he called him a war monger.

    Funny yet is I’ve NEVER heard a leftie talker or blogger say mean things about the Bush twins that they didn’t do to themselves (Jenna changing her bikini bottoms in public and showing her cooch, Barb’s naked parties, they both liked to drink at bars while underage). I heard Limbaugh once call Chelsea Clinton (all of maybe 12?) the family dog!?!?!?!

    Tell me that’s not hate talk?

  216. 216
    scarshapedstar says:

    I’ve actually batted around the idea of creating a “bullshit email” filter, like my Thunderbird junk filter, except instead of checking keywords and subjects against a black list it would check them against Snopes.com articles. If an email bears a substantial similarity to a known piece of disinformation, it will flag it with “Thunderbird thinks this email is a steaming pile of crap” and a little picture of, well, a steaming pile of crap.

    The only difficulty would be getting it into the hands of people who need it. My grandpa has actually expressed concern about the rate (roughly 90%) at which I return his emails with “Snopes says this is another email hoax. Love, scar.” Maybe he would be a good test subject.

  217. 217
    rawshark says:

    This “John just can’t let go of his republican roots” schtick is just so tired and played out.

    But true.

    If you can’t bring up the subject of right wing eliminationist rhetoric in the wake of a massacre committed by a consumer of that rhetoric, who apparently explicitly stated that he was going to kill people because he believed in that rhetoric…when exactly is the issue going to be discussed?

    It’s too early to play the blame game. Right John?

    John Cole Says:

    John, did it ever occur to you that your obvious unwillingness to think about what sort of responsibility SHOULD be attatched to hateful, extreme rhetoric is one of the things that pushes people to throw out absolutes in the wake of such tragedies?

    You have the order of events reversed, and are dissolving into farce now. Eskow’s ridiculous absolute is not in response to my “unwillingness to think” about this issue. The only reason I posted this is in response to his absolute.

    There’s farce here all right. And reading miscomprehensionism. Possibly deliberate? We don’t know.

  218. 218
    John Cole says:

    You dismissed this as the random act of a crazy person. I don’t see any evidence that it is.

    He shot up a god damned church during a presentation of a musical, intent on shooting and killing as many people as possible until the cops killed him, all because he was despondent about losing his food stamps and because he hated liberals based on some of the shit he read from scum like Hannity and Coulter.

    I don’t think you are looking very hard for evidence of the crazy.

  219. 219
    Martin says:

    I’d say that this is fortunate in the sense that it creates a huge backlash

    What backlash? They were ‘crazy’ just like Adkisson, remember?

    There is no backlash against crazy.

  220. 220
    The Populist says:

    I have pretty liberal social views. I don’t LIKE abortion but I don’t believe it’s my position to tell a woman what to do with HER body. I believe in legalizing pot. I believe that welfare is okay AS LONG AS that person isn’t using it as a crutch and refusing to find work.

    I believe that the roads, parks and beaches should be PUBLICLY OWNED. I believe in Social Security. I believe in limited regulation of industries such as banking, mortgage loans, electricity, water and Internet (in terms of keeping corporations from making it impossible to use). I don’t believe government is evil if it’s there to propagate the public good. No shoving religious beliefs or morals down anybody’s throat at all.

    With that being said, I have many conservative POVs as well but the minute one of those opinions gets into a conversation with somebody who MAY be conservative, they either engage my opinions or politely walk away. I get more who walk away than stay and discuss. THAT is alarming.

  221. 221
    scarshapedstar says:

    John, I think Martin’s point was that this was entirely premeditated and quite logical from the standpoint of someone who actually believes the eliminationist (“Deliver us from Evil”) rhetoric of Hannity and Friends.

    I’m confident that the court-appointed psychiatrist will find him mentally fit to stand trial.

  222. 222
    The Populist says:

    Saddest part of this story? He hates liberals but has no problem with receiving FOOD STAMPS. Argh.

  223. 223
    scarshapedstar says:

    And, yes, I’m sure you will respond that listening to Sean Hannity is de facto evidence of teh crazy. Two thoughts:

    1) There are a shitload of crazy people out there, then. This will come as no surprise to anyone who’s stood awestruck at the rantings and ravings of Atlanta vagrants, but we’re talking about people who own cars with radios.

    2) You and Martin are talking about two completely different kinds of crazy. I’m not helping with my descriptions of a “mass psychosis” but there is my grandpa’s crazy and then there is Wesley Willis’s / Emperor Norton’s crazy. This guy is decidedly the former.

  224. 224
    garyb50 says:

    Don’t you get it, Populist? He’s cRaZy. iNsAnE. Alone in this world with no connection to anything. With a gun. And totally, all his own, crazy ideas.

  225. 225
    garyb50 says:

    oops

    And with totally, all his own, crazy ideas.

  226. 226
    Martin says:

    He shot up a god damned church during a presentation of a musical, intent on shooting and killing as many people as possible until the cops killed him, all because he was despondent about losing his food stamps and because he hated liberals based on some of the shit he read from scum like Hannity and Coulter.

    I don’t think you are looking very hard for evidence of the crazy.

    But he knew he was shooting up a church because he was despondent about losing his food stamps – and he knew who he was targeting and why. The only thing about it that stands out is that he took Hannity and Coulter more seriously than most – but there are millions that still take them seriously as they expect to be taken seriously. What he did was no more crazy than killing people in office buildings because of military bases in foreign countries or shooting your wife for winning custody of your kids, but they are all rational acts with a clear (if horribly misguided) motive.

    That’s not crazy. That’s an inappropriate solution to a problem, but these people knew what they were doing when they did it. It might be ‘crazy’ that people seek out that solution relative to what we expect socially, but that doesn’t mean that individually there was anything mentally wrong with the guy. Calling him crazy is a cop-out. There’s more behind that act than you want to admit.

  227. 227
    The Populist says:

    Uhhh, Gary…he left a note that sounded pretty lucid to me.

    He got his ideas from others. Now I am not advocating censorship but if this doesn’t demand the return of the fairness doctrine, I don’t know what will.

  228. 228
    The Populist says:

    Okay, pop quiz…what about that fella in Atlanta who bombed Abortion Clinics. I assure you he is NOT crazy.

    What about members of the KKK who relish the thought of lynching black folks? Not crazy.

    Tom Metzger and his band of Nazis? Not crazy.

    Crazy is Charles Manson (or maybe not if you dig deep enough…he is acting I believe).

    Osama Bin Laden is not crazy though some say he is.

    Saddam was crazy. Nero was crazy. George Bush is crazy. But this guy is not.

  229. 229
    The Populist says:

    Martin, human beings at their lowest are most dangerous either to themselves or others.

    This guy went beyond low and decided it was time to act.

  230. 230
    jrg says:

    What backlash? They were ‘crazy’ just like Adkisson, remember?

    Right… This story is not over by a long shot. I’d be willing to bet that some or all of his would-be suicide note was lifted from the conservative hate crap he’d been reading and listening to.

    I’d also be willing to bet that the contents of these books will be a part of his legal defense.

    Either way: if and when this loon’s “GBCW” note hits the press, it will be subject to scrutiny.

  231. 231
    Sherrell says:

    So does this same “hate speech” isn’t responsible for violence crap apply to hate america rhetoric spewed by radical groups?

  232. 232
    JWW says:

    Hey John,

    Can I enter the fray. I do agree with your responses. If you read each of them carefully you might find that some of the responders would not need but a nudge to find the edge of a cliff. Each sane man determines his actions in mind and heart, right or wrong. When the mind is less than perfect and the heart empty only the situation determines what will be done.

  233. 233
    Sherrell says:

    So does this same “hate speech” isn’t responsible for violence crap apply to hate america rhetoric spewed by radical groups?

  234. 234
    calipygian says:

    Either way: if and when this loon’s “GBCW” note hits the press, it will be subject to scrutiny.

    You know, I almost forgot that this insane person didn’t off themselves in the process.

    That seems awfully rare.

  235. 235
    The Moar You Know says:

    Anecdote: I work in a field and in an office that is predominated by right-wingers, and a fair number of them would meet the definition of “Christian Conservative”. They know not only that I am a Democrat, but an atheist as well.

    Had this been “just some guy” shooting up a church, I would have been hearing about how this was the “liberals” fault all day. Had Adkisson been a self-identified liberal, I’d have had a line outside my office door when I got in today of people just waiting to give me shit.

    Today?

    Not one of them would even look me in the eye.

    They know.

  236. 236
    gil mann says:

    So does this same “hate speech” isn’t responsible for violence crap apply to hate america rhetoric spewed by radical groups?

    Yeah, are it?

  237. 237
    LiberalTarian says:

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: you call for blood long enough, someone will give it to you.

    Did Rush pull the trigger in Knoxville? Of course not.

    Is Rush responsible for dittoheads who shout down liberals in coffee shops and cause people to take bumper stickers off their cars for fear of being attacked? Of course not.

    But, pray tell, what are they responsible for? Preying on the base instincts of their listeners? Should we be having a pity party for the purveyors of the hateful, caustic, murder-seeking (but only in jest of course), eliminationist rhetoric of the right? After all, they said liberals should die, but they didn’t say shoot them, right?

    You are right. Whatever changed Adkisson from rhetorical liberal hater to actual liberal murderer is buried somewhere in his head.

    You are wrong to say that eliminationist rhetoric “did not kill those people.” Adkisson sought them out because his heroes told him they were the ones responsible for his problems. Left to his own devices, maybe he would have killed his ex, or his last boss, or someone else in his desire to avenge himself on the world. He chose those particular people because those are the people Hannity, Rush, O’Reilly, Coulter, Savage, et al. told him needed to be eliminated.

    Why don’t we go around telling kids that murder is good and reasonable? Or that they can grab some girl’s ass as she walks down the street? Or that they can steal whatever toy they want from the store? Because they don’t have the discretion to know better for themselves.

    Why should decent civil society run Rush, et al. off the air? Because there are too many people in our society who do not have the capacity to reason for themselves that Rush et al. are entertainers, voicing opinions that sell airtime, not apostles preaching the Lord’s gospel.

    Interesting that you would diminish the power of opinion and words, since although you have a “real life” you are deeply involved in the blogsphere, built on the words we say to and about each other. For you to deny that words have power, the power to even incite violence and murder, seems odd to me.

  238. 238
    zoe from pittsburgh says:

    I would usually agree that blaiming the left-hating bloviators (Rush, Robertson, Coulter, etc.) is as lame as it is specious– BUT in this case there is a far more direct connection.

    The killer had O’Reilly, Hannity and Michael Savage’s books IN HIS FUCKING HOUSE. These are people who regularly characterize liberals as the GREATEST threat to America, as scum, as EVILDOERS.

    I wonder if any of them feel remotely responsible for stoking this guy’s hatered of liberals to such a degree that shooting up a liberal church seemed like a justifiable act.

    What am I saying, that would require that any of them have feelings of responsibility for anything.

  239. 239
    Rome Again says:

    He shot up a god damned church during a presentation of a musical, intent on shooting and killing as many people as possible until the cops killed him, all because he was despondent about losing his food stamps and because he hated liberals based on some of the shit he read from scum like Hannity and Coulter.

    Ummm, John? The guy didn’t die, he was apprehended. He may have perhaps intended to off himself at the end of his 70 some odd rounds, but he only shot off a few (three I think I read?) and he was subdued by unarmed men who held him until the cops arrived.

  240. 240
    Martin says:

    Rome-

    He intended to keep shooting until the cops shot him. John has it right. He never planned on killing himself. He stated that quite specifically.

  241. 241
    littlebird says:

    John,

    Before you dismiss the shooting as the act of a lone wackjob, you should probably know that the Freepers are already blaming it on the Unitarians for “not being a real [read: Conservative] church.”

    This isn’t an isolated incident. It’s not just one nut against the world. There is a significant chunk of the population who actually believe that people deserve to die for being liberal.

    It’s unwise for you to write this off as overwrought and hysterical.

    Among other things, as far as they’re concerned, you’re one of us now.

  242. 242
    The Populist says:

    Zoe,

    I want to make clear that I am not advocating that these idiots should not have the right to hate liberals as part of their schtick. I agree with you that if you continually push this idea that liberalism is a threat (funny, last time I checked this country was FOUNDED on liberal values) and you don’t explain why outside of “they are bad, evil and need to be cast aside!” then it will result in more unnecessary pain and suffering.

    If this economy deflates, this kind of thinking will be the biggest threat we’ve seen in this country in quite some time. Again, unlike these blowhards I can debate and defend my POV without calling conservatives “evil.” I can call them a threat and will continue to call them out for their hate speech.

  243. 243
    MH says:

    John,

    Imagine they had opened up this guy’s house and found a stack of letters written to him by his friend which advised him that liberals were scum, liberals deserved to die, someone ought to “do something” about their “liberal problem.” And bear in mind that the shooter’s note expressly and explicitly echoed all these sentiments as justification for his actions.

    Don’t you think the police just might want to bring that friend in for questioning? Don’t you think we’d all be asking what role this friend played in these deaths? What responsibility that friend has for the shootings?

  244. 244

    Well, here’s my take on it.

    You can preach all the venom you want, but, if something happens to the object of your diatribes, you should be able to say, with a straight face, that it was clear that you never wanted this to happen. Otherwise, you’re an asshole, and helping create an atmosphere of hatred.

    Note: the key is not that you “didn’t want this to happen”. The key is that it was clear that you didn’t. That you made double damn sure that no one could use your words as an excuse to hurt someone else, unless they took them out of context.

    “Folks, I know that the antiwar protesters just want what’s best for America, but they are wrong, and if they have their way, more people will die!” is acceptable. Yes, someone can take “if they have their way, more people will die!” out of context, and use it, but you made it clear that protesters were decent folks who want what’s best for America.

    “Antiwar protesters are traitors!” is not acceptable. People who say stuff like that should be considered toxic in the extreme. But they’re not.

    Now, I don’t blame Coulter, Robertson, et al, for what happened. But I do blame them, and the rest of the right wing, for creating a situation in which killing liberals seems more reasonable. I say that such folks can’t say, with a straight face, “I made it clear that such a thing should never happen”. (Well, they probably can, but then, they’re such bullshit artists that it’s probably easier for them than for ordinary folks.)

  245. 245
    The Populist says:

    Remember the venomous talk show host from Denver who was gunned down in the 70s (80s?)?

    Words CAN inflame if repeated and used in such negative ways.

  246. 246

    Why should decent civil society run Rush, et al. off the air? Because there are too many people in our society who do not have the capacity to reason for themselves that Rush et al. are entertainers, voicing opinions that sell airtime, not apostles preaching the Lord’s gospel.

    I love how liberalism, which allegedly depends on treating everyone else with dignity, allowing everyone to speak, and tolerating every opinion, is always the first to call for suppression of contrary viewpoints because other people are stupid and might be unduly influenced.

    The reason this guy cannot simply be a kook is simple; if he is, then Rush et al. can’t be blamed, and if they can’t be blamed, then there’s no political advantage for the left. What good are corpses if they can’t be used to Obama’s advantage?

  247. 247
    Rome Again says:

    He never planned on killing himself.

    Intending for cops to shoot him does not mean he planned to off himself? I disagree, he planned to off himself by proxy. He was committing suicide in a roundabout way.

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