A week after the tragedy in Tucson, the Left is beginning to realize it made a dreadful mistake immediately trying to tie the event to conservatives.
New York Times columnist Charles Blow summed it up marvelously Saturday:
Immediately after the news broke, the air became thick with conjecture, speculation and innuendo. There was a giddy, almost punch-drunk excitement on the left. The prophecy had been fulfilled: “words have consequences.” And now, the right’s rhetorical chickens had finally come home to roost. [...]
The only problem is that there was no evidence then, and even now, that overheated rhetoric from the right had anything to do with the shooting. (In fact, a couple of people who said they knew him have described him as either apolitical or “quite liberal.”) [...]
The American people know it, too. According to a USA Today/Gallup poll released Wednesday, 42 percent of those asked said that political rhetoric was not a factor at all in the shooting, 22 percent said that it was a minor factor and 20 percent said that it was a major factor. Furthermore, most agreed that focusing on conservative rhetoric as a link in the shooting was “not a legitimate point but mostly an attempt to use the tragedy to make conservatives look bad.” And nearly an equal number of people said that Republicans, the Tea Party and Democrats had all “gone too far in using inflammatory language” to criticize their opponents.
Great. So the left overreacts and overreaches and it only accomplishes two things: fostering sympathy for its opponents and nurturing a false equivalence within the body politic. Well done, Democrats.
Concocting connections to advance an argument actually weakens it. The argument for tonal moderation has been done a tremendous disservice by those who sought to score political points in the absence of proof.
You probably agree with Blow's assessment. However, would he be saying this if Jared Lee Loughner turned out to be a Tea Partying lover of Glenn Beck that had pictures of Sarah Palin on his wall?
Isn't this self-flagellation occurring only because the Left was wrong?
How much different would Obama's speech have been Wednesday if Loughner was everything liberal media members were hoping for?
Don't be fooled: the press got their its hand caught in the proverbial cookie jar this week, and the feelings of regret and remorse are because they got caught and not because of their actions.
What this means is the next time an incident like this happens, they will likely be just as quick to shoot and ask questions later.
If this weren't the case, there'd be calls at the New York Times for apologies from Paul Krugman as well as the Gray Lady's editorial board which both shamefully participated in the premature finger-pointing.
There'd be similar requests made of MSNBC's entire prime time lineup.
As neither appear forthcoming, and were totally missing in Blow's piece, we can chalk this up to a tad of backpedaling that will be all forgotten when the next opportunity arises to blame something on conservative rhetoric.
If Las Vegas books placed odds on such an eventuality, it would be better than even money.