Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Great Backpedal

With President Obama's eloquent speech at the Tucson shooting memorial, the country has suddenly put a break to the hysterical witch hunt against political rhetoric on the right and is desperately backpedaling with all sorts of reasonable sounding op-eds and editorial pieces. The moralizing continues in subtle ways (Krugman in the NYT), but the partisan politics-Loughner connection is dead. We've moved on to the state of our public mental health services and gun control. For a review of how it all came to be, see the following article in The New Republic.
 
Interestingly, the whole blame-the-tea-party anthem began with a particularly partisan Sheriff who took it upon himself to interpret the motives of the massacre without a shred of evidence. Frank leaves this part out. In trying to sound reasonable Frank (http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/81485/how-the-media-botched-the-arizona-shooting) avoids pointing any real fingers for this circus act, but I will.
 
Did you notice how desperately the media was trying to set up the new conservative majority as obstructionist partisans in the past two weeks? Did you notice how they waxed eloquent about the recent lame-duck session as if it was some sort of paradigm for the future? They are already preparing their "I told you so" speeches for when the new democratically elected Congress actually legislates its campaign platform.
 
People are both angry and desperate over the tea-party insurgence and what better way than to blame conservatives for the Tucson shootings. The media jumped on this news"story" with complete and utter abandon. When someone pointed out that Sarah Palin had put a bulls eye on Congresswoman Giffords during the last election cycle, it was just too good of a story to be true. It was.

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