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Magnus Eisengrim
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From the CBC

The shooting of Democratic congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona on Saturday at the hands of a seemingly deranged gunman has ignited a wide-ranging discussion about the heated tone of U.S. political discourse.

Journalists and media personalities on both ends of the political spectrum have been weighing in on whether vitriol may have motivated accused gunman Jared Loughner, 22, to try to assassinate Giffords.

Below is a sample of some journalists' opinions.

Arizona Daily Star
Thoughts, prayers for shooting victims

In which the editors of Gabrielle Giffords's local paper call for prayers for "the innocents killed":

"There's been a lot of violent language — and some threatening behavior — surrounding political issues in this country over the last few years. … But Giffords has never let vitriol deter her from public service. She works hard to be accessible. She's shown not just willingness, but courage to engage with people who don't agree with her."

The National Review
The Most Cynical Campaign

In which the editors accuse "ghoulish opportunists on the Left" of appropriating Saturday's shooting for political advantage:

"Martial imagery has been central to American politics for more than a century. Why do (former Alaska governor Sarah) Palin's critics think we say 'campaign' or 'rank-and-file'? We all use language of this sort, and no one ever before has thought it constitutes incitement.

"That said, all of us have an obligation to speak with truth and charity in making our political arguments. Not because hateful talk will drive the mentally ill to criminal acts, but because civility is a good in its own right."

New York Times
Climate of Hate, by Paul Krugman

In which Krugman calls on the Republican Party to make political discourse "less toxic":

"The point is that there's room in a democracy for people who ridicule and denounce those who disagree with them; there isn't any place for eliminationist rhetoric, for suggestions that those on the other side of a debate must be removed from that debate by whatever means necessary.

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

Slate.com
In Defense of Inflamed Rhetoric: The awe......shooting, by Jack Snyder

In which Snyder argues that withholding political opinion to prevent "the tiniest handful people" from reacting crazily to it "infantilizes and neuters us":

"Asking us to forever hold our tongues lest we awake their deeper demons infantilizes and neuters us and makes politicians no safer."

"Our spirited political discourse, complete with name-calling, vilification — and, yes, violent imagery — is a good thing. Better that angry people unload their fury in public than let it fester and turn septic in private. The wicked direction the American debate often takes is not a sign of danger but of freedom."

Washington Post
After Giffords tragedy, fingers point to......ontation

In which columnists Jason Horowitz and Lisa DeMoraes offer a survey of U.S. media reaction to the shootings:

"In the media marketplace, vitriol has value. Shows and outlets that emphasize confrontation, histrionics and vehement partisan slants attract ever-larger audiences than traditional news operations. And bemoaning the lack of civility in political discourse is inevitable after the Arizona tragedy, but so is a return to the hyperbole that attracts so many viewers."
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
balducci
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I liked this one ...

DrudgeReport.com:

"BRIT PAPER BLAMES 'RIGHT WING'..."

But if one actually reads the article in the Brit paper that is linked to, one finds that it doesn't. In fact, it reports what groups on both the right and left are saying about themselves, and the other. Smile
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Interesting articles, but seriously LOL @ Krugman.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

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ed rhodes
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Quote:
On 2011-01-10 15:29, balducci wrote:
I liked this one ...

DrudgeReport.com:

"BRIT PAPER BLAMES 'RIGHT WING'..."

But if one actually reads the article in the Brit paper that is linked to, one finds that it doesn't. In fact, it reports what groups on both the right and left are saying about themselves, and the other. Smile


Wha-? You expect Drudge to actually read and comprehend the things he's passing judgment on?
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Woland
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Magnus,

As we now know, the shooter had stalked Representative Giffords for several years, kept a Satanic altar in his backyard (devoid of any rightwing paraphernalia), and apparently the Sheriff's office knew he had been threatening the lives of a number of Tucsonians -- but did nothing about it. There does not seem to be anything "political" about this case at all, other than the fact that the celebrity the shooter chose to target was a politician.

But the press, as you note, did have a field day. They don't always sing this tune, however. As Byron York noted:
Quote:
On November 5, 2009, Maj. Nidal Hasan opened fire at a troop readiness center in Ft. Hood, Texas, killing 13 people. Within hours of the killings, the world knew that Hasan reportedly shouted "Allahu Akbar!" before he began shooting, visited websites associated with Islamist violence, wrote Internet postings justifying Muslim suicide bombings, considered U.S. forces his enemy, opposed American involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan as wars on Islam, and told a neighbor shortly before the shootings that he was going "to do good work for God." There was ample evidence, in other words, that the Ft. Hood attack was an act of Islamist violence.

Nevertheless, public officials, journalists, and commentators were quick to caution that the public should not "jump to conclusions" about Hasan's motive. CNN, in particular, became a forum for repeated warnings that the subject should be discussed with particular care.

"The important thing is for everyone not to jump to conclusions," said retired Gen. Wesley Clark on CNN the night of the shootings.

"We cannot jump to conclusions," said CNN's Jane Velez-Mitchell that same evening. "We have to make sure that we do not jump to any conclusions whatsoever."

"I'm on Pentagon chat room," said former CIA operative Robert Baer on CNN, also the night of the shooting. "Right now, there's messages going back and forth, saying do not jump to the conclusion this had anything to do with Islam."

The next day, President Obama underscored the rapidly-forming conventional wisdom when he told the country, "I would caution against jumping to conclusions until we have all the facts." In the days that followed, CNN jouralists and guests repeatedly echoed the president's remarks.

"We can't jump to conclusions," Army Gen. George Casey said on CNN November 8. The next day, political analyst Mark Halperin urged a "transparent" investigation into the shootings "so the American people don't jump to conclusions." And when Republican Rep. Pete Hoekstra, then the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, suggested that the Ft. Hood attack was terrorism, CNN's John Roberts was quick to intervene. "Now, President Obama has asked people to be very cautious here and to not jump to conclusions," Roberts said to Hoekstra. "By saying that you believe this is an act of terror, are you jumping to a conclusion?"

Fast forward a little more than a year, to January 8, 2011. In Tucson, Arizona, a 22 year-old man named Jared Lee Loughner opened fire at a political event, gravely wounding Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, killing a federal judge and five others, and wounding 18. In the hours after the attack, little was known about Loughner beyond some bizarre and largely incomprehensible YouTube postings that, if anything, suggested he was mentally ill. Yet the network that had shown such caution in discussing the Ft. Hood shootings openly discussed the possibility that Loughner was inspired to violence by…Sarah Palin. Although there is no evidence that Loughner was in any way influenced by Palin, CNN was filled with speculation about the former Alaska governor.

After reporting that Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik had condemned what Dupnik called "the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government," CNN's Wolf Blitzer turned to congressional reporter Jessica Yellin for analysis. The sheriff "singled out some of the political rhetoric, as you point out, in creating the environment that allowed this kind of instance to happen," Yellin told Blitzer. "Even though, as you point out, this suspect is not cooperating with investigators, so we don't know the motive. President Obama also delivered that message, saying it's partly the political rhetoric that led to this.* So that's why we want to bring up one of the themes that's burning up the social media right now. On Twitter and Facebook, there is a lot of talk, in particular, about Sarah Palin. As you might recall, back in March of last year, when the health care vote was coming to the floor of the House and this was all heating up, Palin tweeted out a message on Twitter saying 'common sense conservatives, don't retreat -- instead reload.' And she referred folks to her Facebook page. On that Facebook page was a list of Democratic members she was putting in crosshairs, and Gabrielle Giffords was one of those in the crosshairs."


The press is very quick to jump to conclusions, when the conclusions are the conclusions the press wants to promote.

Woland
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Quote:
"As we now know, the shooter had stalked Representative Giffords for several years, kept a Satanic altar in his backyard (devoid of any rightwing paraphernalia), and apparently the Sheriff's office knew he had been threatening the lives of a number of Tucsonians -- but did nothing about it."


Too busy chasing illegal immigrants.
Woland
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Not that Sheriff, landmark. Sheriff Dupnik is a big fan of open borders, and in his attempts to throw sand in the eyes of the public, even opined that the shooter might have been motivated by a reaction against what he perceived were anti-immigration sentiments.

Woland
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Woland,

You're absolutely correct.

Carrie
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Magnus Eisengrim
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Turns out "Dupnik" is a funny insult in Polish. (If you don't have a Polish friend, go to a translating dictionary and look up "dupa".)

"When I grow up I want to be a little boy"--Joseph Heller in one of his less famous books (Something Happened, I think)


John
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
Woland
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Magnus,

That's odd, because unless I am mistaken, Sheriff Dupnik, when pointing out the right way to pronounce Loughner's name correctly, indicated it was a Polish name.

Woland
Magnus Eisengrim
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Quote:
On 2011-01-11 15:30, Woland wrote:
Magnus,

That's odd, because unless I am mistaken, Sheriff Dupnik, when pointing out the right way to pronounce Loughner's name correctly, indicated it was a Polish name.

Woland


I asked a Polish friend; he thinks that Dupnik was being a dupnik when he said that. Smile

I am not qualified to determine Loughner's ethnicity.

John
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
Scott Cram
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Long story short: The shooting was caused partially by Loughner's insane belief that the government is controlling people's minds by controlling grammar. In response, the Democrats are introducing a bill to control grammar.
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Scott, I agree that free speech should be protected. OTOH, weasel of the week award has to be given to the Palin aide who insisted that the gun sights were surveyors' symbols.

Woland, Has Dupnik actually endorsed open borders or is that an interpretation based on his position that local police should not be immigration officers.


John, Something Happened is my favorite Heller book. Really overlooked.
Woland
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Well, landmark, Sheriff Dupnik advanced the theory that frustration over border enforcement might be one of the shooter's motives in an interview he gave to Megyn Kelly, in which he also admitted he had no evidence for a single one of his stated theories about the case. his general feelings on the border were summed up here:

Quote:
Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik called the state’s new sweeping immigration law a “national embarrassment” and said he’ll only enforce it if he’s forced to.

“This law is unwise, this law is stupid, and it’s racist,” Dupnik said on Wednesday. “It’s a national embarrassment. . . If I were a Hispanic person in the state, I would be humiliated and angered. From that point of view, I think it’s morally wrong.”


He's been called Arizona's anti-Arpaio, for what it's worth.

Woland
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To return to the subject of press coverage of the Tucson shooting, James Taranto in the Wall Street Journal......ve seen:

Quote:
After the horrific shooting spree, the editorial board of New York Times offered a voice of reasoned circumspection: "In the aftermath of this unforgivable attack, it will be important to avoid drawing prejudicial conclusions . . .," the paper counseled.

Here's how the sentence continued: ". . . from the fact that Major Hasan is an American Muslim whose parents came from the Middle East."

The Tucson Safeway massacre prompted exactly the opposite reaction. What was once known as the paper of record egged on its readers to draw invidious conclusions that are not only prejudicial but contrary to fact. In doing so, the Times has crossed a moral line.

Here is an excerpt from yesterday's editorial:

Quote:
It is facile and mistaken to attribute this particular madman's act directly to Republicans or Tea Party members. But it is legitimate to hold Republicans and particularly their most virulent supporters in the media responsible for the gale of anger that has produced the vast majority of these threats, setting the nation on edge. Many on the right have exploited the arguments of division, reaping political power by demonizing immigrants, or welfare recipients, or bureaucrats. They seem to have persuaded many Americans that the government is not just misguided, but the enemy of the people.

That whirlwind has touched down most forcefully in Arizona, which Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik described after the shooting as the capital of "the anger, the hatred and the bigotry that goes on in this country." Anti-immigrant sentiment in the state, firmly opposed by Ms. Giffords, has reached the point where Latino studies programs that advocate ethnic solidarity have actually been made illegal. . . .

Now, having seen first hand the horror of political violence, Arizona should lead the nation in quieting the voices of intolerance, demanding an end to the temptations of bloodshed, and imposing sensible controls on its instruments.


To describe the Tucson massacre as an act of "political violence" is, quite simply, a lie. It is as if, two days after the Columbine massacre, a conservative newspaper of the Times's stature had described that atrocious crime as an act of "educational violence" and used it as an occasion to denounce teachers unions. Such an editorial would be shameful and indecent even if the arguments it made were meritorious.


The New York Times has seized on a madman's act of wanton violence as an excuse to instigate a witch hunt against those it regards as its domestic foes. "Instigate" is not too strong a word here: As we noted yesterday, one of the first to point an accusatory finger at the Tea Party movement and Sarah Palin was the Times's star columnist, Paul Krugman. Less than two hours after the news of the shooting broke, he opined on the Times website: "We don't have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was."

This was speculative fantasy, irresponsible but perhaps forgivable had Krugman walked it back when the facts proved contrary to his prejudices. He did not. His Monday column evinced the same ***-the-facts attitude as the editorial did.

In the column, Krugman blames the massacre on "eliminationist rhetoric," which he defines as "suggestions that those on the other side of a debate must be removed from that debate by whatever means necessary." He rightly asserts that "there isn't any place" for such rhetoric. But he falsely asserts that it is "coming, overwhelmingly, from the right."

He provides exactly one example: Rep. Michele Bachmann, a Minnesota Republican, "urging constituents to be 'armed and dangerous.' " Such a statement does seem problematic, although in the absence of context, and given what former Times public editor Daniel Okrent has described as Krugman's "disturbing habit of shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers in a fashion that pleases his acolytes but leaves him open to substantive assaults"--an observation that surely applies to nonnumeric facts as well--we are disinclined to trust Krugman's interpretation of Bachmann's statement.

In any case, the evidence Krugman offers is insufficient to establish even the existence of "eliminationist rhetoric" on the right. To be sure, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Such rhetoric does exist on the right, and we join Krugman in deploring it.

But Krugman's assertion that such rhetoric comes "overwhelmingly from the right" is at best wilfully ignorant. National Review's Jay Nordlinger runs down some examples on the left:

Quote:
Even before [George W.] Bush was elected president, the kill-Bush talk and imagery started. When Governor Bush was delivering his 2000 convention speech, Craig Kilborn, a CBS talk-show host, showed him on the screen with the words "SNIPERS WANTED." Six years later, Bill Maher, the comedian-pundit, was having a conversation with John Kerry. He asked the senator what he had gotten his wife for her birthday. Kerry answered that he had taken her to Vermont. Maher said, "You could have went to New Hampshire and killed two birds with one stone." (New Hampshire is an early primary state, of course.) Kerry said, "Or I could have gone to 1600 Pennsylvania and killed the real bird with one stone." (This is the same Kerry who joked in 1988, "Somebody told me the other day that the Secret Service has orders that if George Bush is shot, they're to shoot Quayle.") Also in 2006, the New York comptroller, Alan Hevesi, spoke to graduating students at Queens College. He said that his fellow Democrat, Sen. Charles Schumer, would "put a bullet between the president's eyes if he could get away with it."


One example Nordlinger misses: Just this past October, then-Rep. Paul Kanjorski of Pennsylvania told the Times-Tribune of Scranton: "That [Rick] Scott down there that's running for governor of Florida. Instead of running for governor of Florida, they ought to have him and shoot him. Put him against the wall and shoot him." Kanjorski was defeated for re-election the following month, but he turns up today on the op-ed page of--oh, yes--the New York Times:

Quote:
The House speaker, John Boehner, spoke for everyone who has been in Congress when he said that an attack against one of us is an attack against all who serve. It is also an attack against all Americans.


Does that include Gov. Rick Scott, Mr. Kanjorski?

Left-wing eliminationist rhetoric has occasionally made its way into the very pages of the Times. Here are the jaunty opening paragraphs of a news story dated Dec. 26, 1995:

Quote:
As the Rev. Al Sharpton strode through Harlem toward Sylvia's restaurant and a meeting with the boxing promoter Don King last week, the greetings of passers-by followed him down Lenox Avenue.

"Hey, Reverend Al, you going to kill Giuliani?" one man shouted, in a joking reference to the latest confrontation between Mr. Sharpton and the Mayor. Mr. Sharpton waved silently and walked on.

Giuliani," he said, "is the best press agent I ever had."


The next paragraph puts this eliminationist rhetoric into context:

Quote:
Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and others have accused Mr. Sharpton of using racially charged language that contributed to the emotional pitch of a dispute between a Jewish clothing store owner and the black owner of a record shop. They have suggested he had a responsibility to defuse the tensions that rose until a gunman set Freddy's clothing store afire Dec. 8, killing himself and seven others.


(As an aside, it is no credit to our colleagues at Fox News Channel that Sharpton is a frequent guest on their programs.)

Another bit of eliminationist rhetoric appeared as the lead sentence of an article on the Times op-ed page in December 2009: "A message to progressives: By all means, hang Senator Joe Lieberman in effigy." The author: Paul Krugman.

A March 2010 profile of Krugman in The New Yorker featured this related detail:

Quote:
Once Obama won the primary, Krugman supported him. Obviously, any Democrat was better than John McCain.

"I was nervous until they finally called it on Election Night," Krugman says. "We had an Election Night party at our house, thirty or forty people."

"The econ department, the finance department, the Woodrow Wilson school," [Robin] Wells [Krugman's wife] says. "They were all very nervous, so they were grateful we were having the party, because they didn't want to be alone. We had two or three TVs set up and we had a little portable outside fire pit and we let people throw in an effigy or whatever they wanted to get rid of for the past eight years."

"One of our Italian colleagues threw in an effigy of Berlusconi."


Burning an effigy, like burning an American flag, is constitutionally protected symbolic speech. It is also about as eliminationist as speech can get, short of a true threat or incitement. To Krugman, it is a fun party activity. It is shockingly hypocritical for such a man to deliver a pious lecture about the dangers of eliminationist rhetoric.

The Times is far from alone in responding to the Tucson massacre with false accusations and inflammatory innuendoes against its foes. We focus on the Times because it is the leader--the most authoritative voice of the left-liberal media, or what used to be called the "mainstream" media.

What accounts for this descent into madness? We think the key lies in this sentence from yesterday's Times editorial: "But it is legitimate to hold Republicans and particularly their most virulent supporters in the media responsible . . ."

Particularly their supporters in the media. This echoes a comment House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer made on CBS's "Face the Nation" Sunday:

Quote:
One of the things that you and I have discussed, Bob [Schieffer, the host], when--when you and I grew up, we grew up listening to a set of three major news outlets--NBC, ABC, and, of course, CBS. Most of the people like Walter Cronkite and Eric Sevareid, Huntley-Brinkley and they saw their job as to inform us of the facts and we would make a conclusion. Far too many broadcasts now and so many outlets have the intent of inciting--of inciting people to opposition, to anger, to thinking the other side is less than moral.


The campaign of vilification against the right, led by the New York Times, is really about competition in the media industry--not commercial competition but competition for authority. When Bob Schieffer and Steny Hoyer were growing up, the New York Times had unrivaled authority to set the media's agenda, with the three major TV networks following its lead.

The ensuing decades have seen a proliferation of alternative media outlets, most notably talk radio and Fox News Channel, and a corresponding diminution of the so-called mainstream media's ability to set the boundaries of political debate.

Its authority dwindling, the New York Times is resorting to authoritarian tactics--slandering its competitors in the hope of tearing them down. Hoyer is right. Too many news outlets are busy "inciting people . . . to anger, to thinking the other side is less than moral." The worst offender, because it is the leader, is the New York Times. Decent people of whatever political stripe must say enough is enough.
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Quote:
On 2011-01-11 19:33, balducci wrote:
Well, here's a good one: "Fox News and the poisoning of American political debate"


Keith Olberman's identifying anyone as playing a significant role in "raising the volume of vitriol" and singling people out as being responsible for "the level of extremism in partisan political argument" is, in fact, a REALLY good one.

It's also kind of funny to quote Olberman in an article citing a bias at Fox, what with Olberman (A) being Olberman, and (B) hailing from MSNBC, home of Chris Matthews, who said that his job as a journalist is to make the Obama presidency a success.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

"...as we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
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Quote:
On 2011-01-11 20:28, LobowolfXXX wrote:
Quote:
On 2011-01-11 19:33, balducci wrote:
Well, here's a good one: "Fox News and the poisoning of American political debate"


Keith Olberman's identifying anyone as playing a significant role in "raising the volume of vitriol" and singling people out as being responsible for "the level of extremism in partisan political argument" is, in fact, a REALLY good one.

It's also kind of funny to quote Olberman in an article citing a bias at Fox, what with Olberman (A) being Olberman, and (B) hailing from MSNBC, home of Chris Matthews, who said that his job as a journalist is to make the Obama presidency a success.

What's funny about it? Olberman and others like him are central to the point of the article. The article is making the case that Fox News took things to a new level in 1996, and paved the way for people like Olberman and Chris Matthews down the road at other networks. If Doyle couldn't give at least one example of such people at places other than Fox, there would have been no article to write.
Make America Great Again! - Trump in 2020 ... "We're a capitalistic society. I go into business, I don't make it, I go bankrupt. They're not going to bail me out. I've been on welfare and food stamps. Did anyone help me? No." - Craig T. Nelson, actor.
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Quote:
On 2011-01-11 20:41, balducci wrote:
Quote:
On 2011-01-11 20:28, LobowolfXXX wrote:
Quote:
On 2011-01-11 19:33, balducci wrote:
Well, here's a good one: "Fox News and the poisoning of American political debate"


Keith Olberman's identifying anyone as playing a significant role in "raising the volume of vitriol" and singling people out as being responsible for "the level of extremism in partisan political argument" is, in fact, a REALLY good one.

It's also kind of funny to quote Olberman in an article citing a bias at Fox, what with Olberman (A) being Olberman, and (B) hailing from MSNBC, home of Chris Matthews, who said that his job as a journalist is to make the Obama presidency a success.

What's funny about it? Olberman and others like him are central to the point of the article. The article is making the case that Fox News took things to a new level in 1996, and paved the way for people like Olberman and Chris Matthews down the road at other networks. If Doyle couldn't give at least one example of such people at places other than Fox, there would have been no article to write.


I don't see anything in that story identifying MSNBC or Olberman as being biased. The citation to Olberman is he pointed a finger at Fox for FOX'S bias, and the next paragraph explains that that's true, too. It's Fox's fault when biased Fox hosts do it, and it's even Fox's fault when other networks do it. O'Reilly has a "blithe disregard for facts," but there's nothing remotely comparable to suggest any bias that any other media outlet has; left-wing biased is merely "alleged." It's funny, and it's funny that you don't see how it's funny.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

"...as we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
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Lobo, I really think you missed the point of the article, or misread it. Nowhere does it indicate that left-wing bias is merely alleged. It does not say that. Quite the opposite. Perhaps if you had the opportunity to read more of Doyle's articles over the years you would see that, or it would be plainer.

It is making the point that all of the other all-news channels are following in Fox News' steps and uses this as an example of it:

"As the news of the shootings sank in on Saturday, there was a numbness to the TV coverage – the reporting of the plain facts of what happened. Then the story evolved into something else. That happened as soon MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann took to the air to allege that Sarah Palin played a significant role in raising the volume of vitriol in the U.S. and to blame Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck of Fox News for the level of extremism in partisan political argument."

[First MSNBC was reporting facts ... then it segued into reporting (biased) allegations.]

However, the article does argue that Fox News, as the most popular and influential channel, is close to the root of the problem, and is the network that originally raised the level of vitriol out there. I mean, to the level it is nowadays.
Make America Great Again! - Trump in 2020 ... "We're a capitalistic society. I go into business, I don't make it, I go bankrupt. They're not going to bail me out. I've been on welfare and food stamps. Did anyone help me? No." - Craig T. Nelson, actor.
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