Censorship can’t be mistaken for civility
“Mothers, don’t let your children grow up to be journalists.”
There is a reason. After this week of misreporting, speculation, blame, and in many cases, absolute incompetence and lies, the national journalistic profession took a downward trend that even astounded me, and I believe, set this so-called profession back at least ten years - or until the next crisis.
The shooting in Arizona of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the killing of others was a tragic event perpetrated by a mentally ill person who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. In fact, he was a person well-known by the sheriff’s department and the security office at the community college where he had been enrolled. He did not just show up in the front of Safeway and begin blazing away at innocent people. He had been stalking Congresswoman Giffords since 2007.
When I turned on the news a couple hours after the shooting, I thought Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, and Glen Beck had conspired to assassinate the Congresswoman.
Paul Krugman, a writer for the New York Times, accused conservatives, Republicans, and talk radio hosts for this heinous act only two hours after the tragedy had happened. The Sheriff of Pima County, Sheriff Dupnic, blamed Rush Limbaugh and his “vitriolic language” for the shooting. Dupnic then proceeded to go to every TV station that he could find and blame anyone who disagreed with the Democrat liberal agenda, and all of this blame spouted without one shred of evidence.
When the sheriff was asked what evidence he had that talk radio and Rush Limbaugh were to blame for this crime, he said that he did not have any evidence, but “it is just my opinion.” Because he was the chief investigator in this case, the media picked up the first part of his answer, but left off the second half.
However, a strange thing happened. When the American people were polled, the bad news hit the “hyper- left” like a ton of bricks. The American people properly assigned blame to the shooter, the 22 year old man, Jared Loughner, who suffered from a debilitating mental illness. The American people knew instinctively that Sarah Palin had no more shot Congresswoman Giffords than George Washington. The real culprit had been overpowered by the citizens at the scene of the crime and hauled off to jail.
Instead of blasting conservatives, talk radio, Rush Limbaugh, and Sarah Palin, Mr. Obama had to take a different tact in his memorial speech. He now wants us all to be civil to each other. In political terms, please tell me what this means. If I profoundly disagree with your position, in this case the socialization of this great country, how can I be “civil” and still express my points of view?
Must I agree with Nancy Pelosi to be civil? Must I agree with Barney Frank? What about Harry Reid? How can I say with “civility” that the left’s policies will destroy this country?
Are the liberals civil? Some of these paragons of virtue even wrote books and made movies on how to assassinate President George Bush. Obama himself has stated publicly that “when they bring a knife to a fight, we will bring a gun.” Harry Reid proudly proclaimed that “This war is lost” even as our young men and women were dying in Iraq.
We are a country governed by laws, and violence cannot and will not be tolerated. However, to the left in this country, “civil” is the new word for censorship, and this must not stand. This shooting in Arizona was a tragic event, but the American society had nothing to do with it.
Could a similar incident happen again? Of course. But this should not in anyway curtail elected officials from meeting with their constituents.
Only one Congressman, Leo Ryan, has lost his life in the line of duty.
Unfortunately, this type of risk goes with the job.
Walter Patterson is a guest columnist for The Yazoo Herald.