Rush Limbaugh responded to accusations that hateful right-wing rhetoric was responsible for the carnage in Arizona. His inflammatory quote on the topic is indicative of why we should restore the Fairness Doctrine that would require genuine balance for broadcasters. Thugs like Limbaugh are grossly irresponsible and undeserving of a microphone. The cumulative affect of Limbaugh’s ugly rants is a divided America that pits neighbors against each other. Here is Limbaugh’s divisive, politicized response to accusations that his show leads to potential violence:
“What Mr. Loughner knows is that he has the full support of a major political party in this country. He’s sitting there in jail; he knows what’s going on. He knows that a Democrat [sic] Party — the Democrat [sic] Party — is attempting to find anybody but him to blame.
“He knows if he plays his cards right that he’s just a ‘victim.’ He’s the latest in a never ending parade of victims brought about by the ‘unfairness of America.’ The ‘bigotry, racism, homophobia’ of America. The ‘mean-spiritedness of America.’ [...]
“That smiling mugshot — this guy clearly understands he’s getting all the attention, and he understands he’s got a political party doing everything it can, plus a local sheriff doing everything they can to make sure he’s not convicted of murder.”
Likewise, Sarah Palin circles the wagons and offered a blistering video critique of critics:
“Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own,” she says in the seven-minute web video. “They begin and end with the criminals who commit them. “Especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, she says, “journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.”
As usual, Sarah is just flat out wrong and has little understanding of history. Incidents like the one in Arizona may end with the criminal who commits the crime, but they usually begin with propagandists who use irresponsible rhetoric to incite those who are unstable. Nearly every mass slaughter, eliminationist campaign, or genocide was a deadly consequence of rhetoric that demonized an outside group.
The way that these political and media personalities talk about liberals, gay people, Muslims, immigrants, college professors etc., invites harassment, intimidation and violence. It creates unnecessary anger and causes our great political system to become unstable.
No informed person of good conscience — Republican or Democrat — can honestly say that Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, and others of their ilk have been good for America. They have made this once secure nation a place that is bitterly divided and the result is a weaker country that is sliding from greatness.
The question is — what is the end game for Palin and Limbaugh? Unless they want to lead an armed insurrection to overthrow of the U.S. government, they should immediately end their chest-thumping gun talk, and trashing of federal workers. Because they are creating a hostile and deadly climate. At worst they are responsible for actual deaths, at best they are to be blamed for diminishing America’s strength that is rooted in unity.
Unfortunately, both Limbaugh and Palin appear to be badly damaged individuals incapable of introspection, personal responsibility or examining how their rhetoric impacts society. As a result of their arrogance and denial, there will be additional bloodshed in the future with innocent men, women and children losing their lives.