The following column appeared in the Fort Myers News-Press on 1/13/11.http://www.news-press.com/article/20110113/OPINION/110112052/1015/opinion/Jeff-Kottkamp--The-media-s-selective-memory---dishonors-massacre-victims---
Recently, the Miami Herald Opinion Page headline read “Was Gunman's Rampage Prompted by Heated Political Rhetoric?”
In the body of the editorial under the headline the Herald correctly pointed out that the recent tragedy in Arizona “has one culprit: the accused shooter, Jared Lee Loughner.”
Unfortunately, the Herald then furthers the factless assertion that the shooting is somehow connected to the ongoing political debate between the Left and the Right in this country by stating that the debate “will keep Americans forever embroiled in a war of words that can lead some deranged souls into putting those words into the most indescribable evil.”
The recent St. Pete Times headline “A time for Reflection and Calmer Words” suggests outright that the shooting is related to political rhetoric even though they say in their editorial: “It is premature to blame these shootings directly on the coarse political culture fanned by some politicians, high-profile commentators and anonymous bloggers.”
Unfortunately, the Times goes on to make subtle (and not-so-subtle) slaps at the political Right for their rhetoric and even uses the tragedy as an excuse to push for gun control.
The Times also states “much of the discussion in the coming days will center on the impact of violent imagery and inflammatory political rhetoric.”
That is only true because the Left — including the Times — is using this horrible tragedy as an excuse to attack those with whom they disagree. They are perpetuating the myth of a link between the shooting and conservative political rhetoric for their own political purposes.
To demonstrate the disingenuous message of some media outlets look no further than their omission of the President's 2008 quote about dealing with Republicans: “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun...”
That statement is a pretty glaring example of rhetoric that might encourage violence. It is an example absent from the Herald and Times editorials. Nor was mention made of the Democratic candidate who said on Facebook that we would all be better off if Sarah Palin had died in the plane crash that took the like of former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens.
©Copyright 2011 Jeff Kottkamp. All rights reserved.