Bob Schieffer: Giffords Shooter Motivated By 'Dangerous, Inflammatory Words'

24 hours after the senseless killings in Tucson, Arizona, liberal media members are still convinced Jared Lee Loughner was somehow motivated by inflammatory comments he recently heard or read.

Despite there still being absolutely no evidence that this is the case, CBS's Bob Schieffer concluded Sunday's "Face the Nation" making the same silly point (video follows with transcript and commentary):

BOB SCHIEFFER, HOST: Finally today, we live, as we were reminded yesterday, in a dangerous, hair-trigger time when tempers always seem near the boiling point and patience seems a lost trait. Democracy’s arguments have never been pretty, but technology has changed the American dialogue. Because we can now know of problems instantly, we expect answers immediately. And when we don’t get them, we let everyone know in no uncertain terms. We scream and shout, hurl charges without proof.

Those on the other side of the argument become not opponents but enemies. Dangerous, inflammatory words are used with no thought of consequence. All is fair if it makes a point. Worse, some make great profit just fanning the flames.

Which wouldn’t amount to much if the words reached only the sane and the rational, but the new technology ensures a larger audience. Those with sick and twisted minds hear us too, and are sometimes inflamed by what the rest of us often discard as hollow and silly rhetoric. And so violence becomes part of the argument.

In an eloquent statement, the new Republican House Speaker John Boehner said yesterday’s attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve. But it is much more. It is an attack on each and every one of us and our way of life. If elected officials cannot meet with those who have elected them without fear of being shot, if the rest of us allow such a situation to exist, then we are no longer the America that those who came before us fought and died to protect and defend. We must change the atmosphere in which this happened, and we can begin by remembering that words have consequence. Like all powerful things, they must be used carefully. More and more, we seem to have forgotten that.

In a segment about the meaning of words, Schieffer sure seemed not to understand many.

Exactly what definitive connection has been made to what happened Saturday and dangerous, inflammatory words? As there has yet to be one categorically factual and legally relevant revelation concerning Loughner's real motive, how does Schieffer or anyone else know he was incited by anything anyone said?

As Howard Kurtz observed on Sunday's "Reliable Sources," the man that shot President Reagan in 1981 was trying to impress actress Jodie Foster.

For all we know at this point, Loughner might have been trying to get Lady Gaga's attention. Or maybe he's despondent that Simon Cowell isn't returning to "American Idol."

Either of these possibilities at this point are just as likely as the reasons being offered by America's press the past 24 hours.

But somehow, despite there currently being absolutely nothing that has surfaced regarding what really drove Loughner to this heinous act, media members like Schieffer are convinced it had to be something to do with either a midterm elections strategy by Sarah Palin, or a comment made by a conservative talk show host.

Is this the state of journalism today? And how do these folks complaining about people being "inflamed by what the rest of us often discard as hollow and silly rhetoric" not understand that their wild, unfounded speculations concerning what set Loughner off fall into the very same category?

"We scream and shout, hurl charges without proof."

You indeed do, Bob.

And with what Americans have witnessed on their television screens since the first shot was fired Saturday morning, folks have to be thinking all of these networks have been suddenly taken over by either the National Enquirer or TMZ.

On second thought, those tabloids would likely have done a far better job of presenting the facts concerning this horrible tragedy than what the so-called serious media have.

With this in mind, to all those using inflammatory rhetoric to discourage inflammatory rhetoric I say, "Physician, heal thyself."

Face the Nation CBS Sarah Palin Gabrielle Giffords
Noel Sheppard's picture