‘climate of hate’

Paul Krugman: ….I’ve had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach ever since the final stages of the 2008 campaign. I remembered the upsurge in political hatred after Bill Clinton’s election in 1992 — an upsurge that culminated in the Oklahoma City bombing. And you could see, just by watching the crowds at McCain-Palin rallies, that it was ready to happen again….

…It’s true that the shooter in Arizona appears to have been mentally troubled. But that doesn’t mean that his act can or should be treated as an isolated event, having nothing to do with the national climate….

…Where’s the toxic rhetoric coming from? Let’s not make a false pretense of balance: it’s coming, overwhelmingly, from the right. It’s hard to imagine a Democratic member of Congress urging constituents to be “armed and dangerous” without being ostracized; but Representative Michele Bachmann, who did just that, is a rising star in the G.O.P.

And there’s a huge contrast in the media. Listen to Rachel Maddow or Keith Olbermann, and you’ll hear a lot of caustic remarks and mockery aimed at Republicans. But you won’t hear jokes about shooting government officials or beheading a journalist at The Washington Post. Listen to Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly, and you will.

….efforts by mildly liberal presidents to expand health coverage are met with cries of tyranny and talk of armed resistance. Still, that’s what happens whenever a Democrat occupies the White House, and there’s a market for anyone willing to stoke that anger … but even if hate is what many want to hear, that doesn’t excuse those who pander to that desire. They should be shunned by all decent people…..

Full article here

6 Responses to “‘climate of hate’”

  1. 1 Ladyhawke
    January 10, 2011 at 9:20 am

    I usually avoid reading Paul Krugman because he is one of the first out of the gate to criticize whatever President Obama is doing on any given day. But today, I must say I am in total agreement with his column. A couple a passages really hit home for me:

    1) I’ve had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach ever since the final stages of the 2008 campaign.

    *****(All I can say is, ME TOO. I worry about President Obama everyday.)

    2) And it’s the saturation of our political discourse — and especially our airwaves — with eliminationist rhetoric that lies behind the rising tide of violence.

    And it’s the saturation of our political discourse — and especially our airwaves — with eliminationist rhetoric that lies behind the rising tide of violence.

    *****(The traditional media needs to take a long look in the mirror. Instead of reporting the facts about our political discourse (which invariably will have a liberal bias) they are more concerned with finding “fake balance”. You know both sides do it. Really?)

    3. And there’s not much question what has changed. As Clarence Dupnik, the sheriff responsible for dealing with the Arizona shootings, put it, it’s “the vitriolic rhetoric that we hear day in and day out from people in the radio business and some people in the TV business.” The vast majority of those who listen to that toxic rhetoric stop short of actual violence, but some, inevitably, cross that line.

    *****(That paragraph just about sums it up for me.)

  2. 2 dotster
    January 10, 2011 at 9:50 am

    And about that “false pretense of balance”—–I heard Andrea Mitchell and Tom Brokaw make that case this a.m. on NBC. Both sides are responsible, both sides do it. And I’ve seen many on the right twisting themselves into a pretzel to make the equal blame case. And no one questions or corrects them. The media remains protective of right wing vitriolic hate speech and their frequent gun/shooting/killing references. I just read about the Secret Service placing the blame on Sarah Palin’s heated and inciteful rhetoric for the spike in threats against Obama. I have always said she was the first that made all the racism and violent response ok. She started it with all her “palling around with terrorists” accusations and racist dog whistling etc. and the crowd would respond “Terrorist!” and “Kill him!” every time Obama’s name was mentioned. She has been a real damaging presence in this country.

    • 3 majii
      January 10, 2011 at 4:24 pm

      The only one I’ve heard correct a statement of false equivalence was Josh Marshall on KO’s show last night when KO made one.

  3. 4 Asher in Boston
    January 10, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Dotster, I hear you. I want to pull out my hair every time I hear these people talk abt their own fabricated false sense of balance in regard to the hatred rhetoric. Jeeez, give me a break!!!!!

  4. 5 EDP4BHO
    January 10, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    John McCain should be hanging his head in shame for unloading that freeloading, opportunistic grifter onto the national scene, only to lose in the end. Bad, bad move for him, and definitely going to be a sad part of his legacy.

  5. 6 Theo67
    January 10, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    I recall during the health care debate, the President made a speech (I think it was at a Black Caucus event), and he mentioned that while he was at a UN event, one of the leaders pulled him aside and expressed his astonishment that President Obama was being depicted as a Hitler just because he wanted to bring about health care reform. The President repeated that story a couple of times, and I think it really drummed home to him just how crazy the atmosphere had become, and how no-one at home was standing up for him in the public media.

    It really doesn’t matter whether this killer was motivated by Sarah Palin or not. Several crazy people are cleaning their guns in anticipation of the “revolution” or call for “2nd amendment remedies” that they’ve been promised by their Republican leaders. The Republican party has blood on their hands. No doubt about it. And it’s about time that they be shamed into behaving like normal people. The likes of Palin, Bachman, Joe Wilson, et al need to be ostracized, indeed. In fact, Rush Limbaugh should have been run out of town when he wished that the freshly inaugurated President of the United States fail in his mission to restore the economy and the middle class, and move this country in a positive direction. He should have lost his show. He should have had to buy an island to live out the rest of his days in shame. Instead, it was just the beginning, and now six people have lost their lives.

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