Television and Radio CEOs need to make a choice in the coming days – profits or patriotism....

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is still in critical condition in a Tuscon hospital after suffering a gunshot wound to the brain. The Congresswoman was the main target in a shooting rampage on Saturday morning as she met with constituents at a local Safeway grocery store. Also victimized – a federal judge – John Roll – who was killed along with 5 others – including a 9-yeald-old girl. 14 people were injured in the attack.

When a Member of Congress is targeted for assassination – it’s a big deal. What separates America from more volatile countries in the world is the peaceful transition of power. When one side loses, it doesn’t bring tanks or march troops on to Capitol Hill to reclaim power. Instead, the newly elected majority is granted legitimacy by the minority. But in the years following 2008, coinciding with the rise of the Tea Party, a dangerous notion was propagated within the Conservative community. That notion was that somehow President Obama and this Democratic majority were illegitimate and were a threat to the American way of life. And from that basis, some of the most vitriolic hate speech in decades was hurled across the radio and television. And when a government loses legitimacy, then political violence can seem like not only a rational, but a noble cause to the unbalanced and the obsessive. Sadly, when that notion is taken even further and popularized on a larger scale - it can also incite the sane of mind to violence as well. If things don’t change – this could be where we are headed.

Saturday’s political massacre is not a call for censorship – it’s a renewed call for responsibility within our media. While stoking fear and broadcasting the sensational may be a recipe for high ratings and high profits for our corporate media outlets, it can also breed the violence our country witnessed in Tuscon on Saturday. Television and Radio CEOs need to make a choice in the coming days – profits or patriotism. Our Democracy is at stake.


nordlie1 13 years 23 weeks ago

Attempting to kill Jews and the others around them; spitting on Black Congressmen and calling them the "N" word; Calling a known Homosexual Congressman the "F" word; kicking in and breaking down & entering congressional representative's offices all are the result of what?

nordlie1 13 years 23 weeks ago

Our homegrown domestic terrorist Jared Loughner arrested and charged for the brutal attacks in Arizona should not go down in history as an assassin. To glorify him as an assassin defiles the memory of those others who have died.

Ry_Bread82's picture
Ry_Bread82 13 years 23 weeks ago

Sick Yes, Right Responsible Still Yes! - Look first off, I think we can all agree that this guy is a loon. But that in no way means that the Right isn't responsible. If hate was a virus (which it is) the people that are most venerable to falling ill to that virus are those with weak immune systems. So while the moajority of Fox News viewers, and Tea Party people would NEVER pick up a gun and do what this guy did, there are loons who WILL. Just like the elderly person who can't fight off the flue, the mentally weak can't fight off the RIGHT WING HATE that is coming from the people with the mics.

Redlocks's picture
Redlocks 13 years 23 weeks ago

It is an interesting point about people turning to violence when they perceive that their government has lost its legitimacy. Over the weekend, I saw the results of a poll showing a 18% approval rating of the House of Representatives. Not that I condone violence...I do not. But, maybe this should also be a wake up call for Congress too?

I want to bring up two things:

1. This guy should be brought up on terrorism charges. The FBI framed the guy recently by supplying him with a fake bomb. One man in Oregon, just finished serving six years for setting fire to two SUV's. There are other examples of using terrorism charges where it seems questionable to use these charges. But, it is my understanding that the gunman will only be charged with murder for carrying out an act of terrorism.

2. America has a long history (even when we were subjects of the British Empire) of being a violent people. I think we should not try to blame each other for this crazy person's act of terrorism. We need to start a conversation for ending violence in this country. We need to reach out to and include each other. We are all in this together. Impossible? probably, but definitely worth standing up for!

brokeneck's picture
brokeneck 13 years 23 weeks ago

I heard someone on an NPR program say that the Tucson shooter (Congresswoman Giffords story) was a "leftie." I am outraged that some are trying to cover their rear ends at this time of tragedy rather than engage in honest introspection and an honest search for an answer as to how to avoid this tragedy from happening to someone else. To that point, I say this: the vitriole, and violent rhetoric filled with images of gunplay, and innuendo about using violent force to "take our country back" is NOT coming from both sides. We in Arizona know which side the hate speech and misinformation is coming from ... the conservatives. I challenge anyone to give me an example as big and broad as the one of a Vice Presidential candidate using a gunsight to target political opponents coming from the liberal progressive side of the political spectrum. Let's get real. The Republicans are the ones who use violent rhetoric against their opponents. Anyone who says differently is probably guilty of using the same hate speech, or is a paid mouthpiece of that guilty one.

LeMoyne's picture
LeMoyne 13 years 23 weeks ago

For a while on the day of the shooting at the Tucson Safeway, the police were looking for a second man seen on security cameras in the store. It turned out the second man was the cab driver who went in the store to get the shooter change for a twenty. Even though he planned to shoot a lot of people (4 clips) Laughner stopped to get change from a $20 for the cab ride.

I think this is significant for two reasons. First, I repeat: Even though he planned to shoot alot of people (4 clips) Laughner stopped to get change from a $20 for the cab ride. To my mind it shows how individual wealth is normally held as more important than other people's lives in the US. Second, I think this will be used by the prosecution against any insanity defense by Mr. Loughner. Get it? Because he stopped to get his change this will be used as proof that Laughner wasn't insane and intended to survive: this overt action where Loughner got his change for a twenty before killing people will be used as proof of sanity.

Thank you Thom for focussing on how the right wing nuts in the media are trying to label the shooter as a liberal(?!?) nut. I am not surprised by this 'spin' from the WND and Fox - they began almost immediately after shooting on the internet [HillBuzz, etc.]: the right once again on offense with the Big Lie. The anti-government, gold standard and English only rhetoric in Loughner's goodbye slideshow was somewhat incoherent but still was almost pure right-wing talking points.

mstaggerlee's picture
mstaggerlee 13 years 23 weeks ago

And so, it seems that we have arrived at the juncture where Ms.Angle's "2nd Amendment Solutions" have come into play - far sooner than I'd anticipated they would. The recommendation came from only one state to the north of Jared Loughner's home.

I guess, however, that I owe the state of Arizona a sort of a vote of thanks in one respect - they showed us who they are, in no uncertain terms, and did so in time to save me from making the mistake of retiring there. My wife and I had been considering that move a couple years ago. But with SB1070, and now this tragedy, I now know that there is no place for the likes of me in Arizona.

"But it's a DRY hate!"

Namaimo's picture
Namaimo 13 years 23 weeks ago

Yes, Thom, the FCC has the power to NOT renew the licenses of the hate mongers, (Rupert Murdoch hate-mongering machine, for instance). Isn't it how Father Loughlin was silenced in the 1950s?

Joyce Kirkvold's picture
Joyce Kirkvold 13 years 23 weeks ago

For profit or patriotism - Guess it depends whether you're Fox News or MSNBC.

aimoos's picture
aimoos 13 years 23 weeks ago

In order to restore sanity to the poltical broadcast arena, all stations that cater to news and opinions must be made to return to the fairness doctrine. When Fox has to provide equal time to opposing views, they will clean up their act. Similarly for MSNBC. Imagine if the left got equal time alongside Rush Limbaugh...

Sarah Palin should bow out of public life. Her constant use of guns as a means of getting her message across became a call to violence. She has no basis to continue in public life as a politician. Perhaps the Supreme Court will now think again about the ability of local and state governments to pass gun control laws.

Finally, the killing of Christina Green is the ultimate tragedy here. A girl born on 9/11 dies at the hands of a domestic terriorist. The tragic irony of a 9 year old girl who was interested enough in public service to attend this event to get struck down is horrific. This happens in 3rd World dictatorships. It must not happen here.

wineoslady's picture
wineoslady 13 years 23 weeks ago

Well said Mr. Hartman! I am afraid that things will not change. Fox news, and talk radio hosts were actually trying to paint themselves as innocent victims in all of this. I personally do not believe the young man responsible for these deaths and injuries was motivated directly from any one person or party. I believe he is sick in the head. But with that said I will say that I do believe that the last campaign season could not have helped. There were so many violent comercials played over and over again. It was starting to sound like we had reverted back to the Wild West. It seems that ever since Sara Palin hit the scene things have gotten rather nasty. I feel like Pandora's box has been opened and God help us we need to close it. This is America. Land of the Proud and Free. At least it used to be. Now it seems to be more like Land of Hatred. If last weekends events don't wake up this country nothing will.

stradric's picture
stradric 13 years 23 weeks ago

While this event is incredibly tragic, maybe now the American people will start to wake up to the dangers of the completely irresponsible corporate media and right wing hate radio. It's possibly more tragic that we had to arrive at this juncture in order to get that point across. But if any good can come of this violence, it may be that we see a more progressive future and thus one that promotes reason and logic over violence and fundamentalism.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 13 years 23 weeks ago

The wealthy have been conduction a war on the rest of us for at least the last 30 years..since Reagan. They worked to constantly reduce our wages, reduce their taxes but raise ours, reduce decent safety nets like health care, social security, medi-care, and all the other social programs. Then they began shipping our jobs over seas. They used the FIRE economy to destroy industry in this country...used deceitful practices in all sectors of the finance, insurance, and real estate areas to squeeze us to a state where all we have left is to die or rebel. We have a criminal war that is murdering hundreds of thousands of children, women, and men that did not deserve to die. They set a very bad example for the rest of us who know we are in a civil war, albeit, a financial one right now, and our enemies are the greedy, criminal, connivers and their ability to control congress and our President. They often setup patsies to carry out an action to shock the people into a state of malleability. The one thing that these criminals are afraid of is that the masses can communicate and unify against them..well, maybe eventually. So, what to do? Well, they do own and control the major media and so they can confuse us and get us riled up against each other. By having their hate-mongering commentators rile up some people, increasing the conflict, getting people so upset they go out and kill a Congresswoman, for example, they may just be succeeding in their goal of shutting us all up so that none of us can ever speak out against tyranny. They win by shutting us up. So, the more times someone goes out and does this martyrdom kind of thing it makes everyone point fingers at first, but then they start thinking that we need to clamp down on everyone's ability to express themselves or complain against injustices.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 13 years 23 weeks ago

CIA Manuchurian Candidate anyone? It would help make people think that we need to clamp down on a free exchange of information. They won't clamp down just on Rush Limpballs, you know. They will try to make laws making it illegal for anyone to say anything that is challenging those in power. This is exactly what they want. If they had that, then they wouldn't need Rush Limpballs or the other idiots on the right. You will no longer be able to say anything about 911, the war in Iraq, or anything about the banksters or wall street. This is exactly what they want. With the Wikileaks, and everyone able to see how corrupt and vile our "overlords" are through the free exchange of information and ideas, there are those in power who will do all kinds of deceitful psyops to make us all work against our collective welfare. But they know that they have to scare the people first with a few assassinations or threats or false flag operations of patsies set up to take the fall in some despicable act of violence.

higgmed's picture
higgmed 13 years 23 weeks ago

I would submit that we Americans need to revisit the Constitution of the United States and come to the idea and what I believe is the fact that it is no longer relevant in these times. All to often, Politicians on both sides of the isle have deliberately misinterpreted the Constitution for their own Political advantages and led many uneducated members of the public to believe what they hear from those parties. Thus, we now have the tea party and other wack job ideologies out there wielding guns and looking for targets amongst the innocent to denigrate.

I believe we should rewrite the Constitution in a language that all of us can understand today without changing its meaning, after all that document was written 224 years ago. Also, I would like to add that I am amazed that after all that time we only have 27 amendments made to it-- by now there should have been many more in accordance with changing political attitudes over that time.

dddfaber's picture
dddfaber 13 years 23 weeks ago

I agree that we need to start a conversation - part of which involves condemning the climate of hate which is prompted by the incendiary and vitriolic commentary from the far right. I condemned any hint of violence against George W. Bush, no matter what I thought of him as a leader. I expect the leaders of our country to understand that words have consequences and they need to display cooperation and healthy debate, not bullet ridden rhetoric.

jhhook's picture
jhhook 13 years 23 weeks ago

When building a fire, you don't try to light the logs. You light the kindling, the shredded newspapers, the fringe.

Jason Neumann-Grable 13 years 23 weeks ago

I fear, Thom, that the media will do what makes the shareholders more money. They all love this sort of thing and can be relied upon to fan the flames even further. I used to be pretty optimistic about the direction this country is headed, but not any more. I think we're done for as a world leader.

Have you read the article by Ted Koppel - "The Death of Real News," or something like that. He gets it, I think. And do I understand that he works for the BBC now?

Keep up your good work, Thom, you're one of the few intelligent, not-paid-for voices out there !


making progress's picture
making progress 13 years 23 weeks ago

John Stewart's unique soliloquy about despair from last night 1/10/11. You have to listen to this!

shayshonaywah's picture
shayshonaywah 13 years 23 weeks ago

Conservative VS. Liberal--Defined....Just for the heck of it I looked in Webster's for an official definition of conservative and liberal. For conservative you get: tendng to preserve established traditions or institutions and to "resist or oppose any changes in these". For Liberal you get: belonging to the people, free. Tolerant of views different from one's own: Broad-minded. Favoring reform or progress, favoring political reforms tendng toward democracy and personal freedom. I know many liberals, and some but not as many conservatives and what I notice is this: Conservatives have a rigid inflexible agenda-they say I am right and you are wrong, end of discussion-- Liberals by far say: We are all connected, what happens to one happens to all of us, lets work together, I accept who you are and I realize that the same Sun rises and sets on each of us. Will conservative radio talk show hosts do self examination, reflection, and adjust or change their rhetoric to be tolerant, accepting of others, open minded, non-judgemental, and favor "personal freedom"? Probably not. Will liberal minded progressive media personnel be open minded, listen to and respect others, adapt and reflect on the use of language and ideology to be even more compassionate, uniting all of us together in brotherly love, and standing up for ALL who love freedom? Most likely and I hope so, YES..

bobbler's picture
bobbler 13 years 23 weeks ago

RE: Television and Radio CEOs need to make a choice in the coming days – profits or patriotism. Our Democracy is at stake.

"Profit," for sure (the track record of unregulated big business is clear).. If it puts fear in the hearts of democrats, they probably like this.

I think the correlation is obvious.. There are always mentally ill individuals who will act on webpages, that hint for violence (like con's and palin do).. Yes, there are lots of sick violent movies out there (they call entertainment), but Palin chose to put real life individuals in cross hairs, now one is shot in the head..

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 13 years 22 weeks ago

Vietnam: America's Holocaust
I highly recommend this documentary which is currently playing on Free Speech TV.

bicyclingjroad's picture
bicyclingjroad 13 years 22 weeks ago

Who are "they"? Where do the have "their" meetings? Can anyone join up with "them"? Are the wealthy defined as anyone who has more wealth than you have? Why are you so angry? Why do you hate the wealthy? I don't expect you'll answer my questions, so why would I want to join up with you?

Pretzelogic in Philly PA's picture
Pretzelogic in ... 13 years 22 weeks ago

Reply to Redlocks (comment #4)

It may be an interesting point. Still, my government lost fundamental legitimacy for me for eight years after the Supreme Court "picked" Bush, Jr to play "presidunce". Per the U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 1, Clause 3: "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector." I'll accept the Bush regime's "legitimacy" when someone can explain to me what State or State Legislature the Supreme Court is (i.e. NEVER).

Still, it never even occurred to me to pick up a gun and resort to violence over it. That's really more of a Reich-wing thing at this point.

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