Friday, June 26, 2009

The Right Wing Media as Iago

Over the course of just the last year there have been 3 high profile massacres/attempted massacres/murders committed by persons having extreme right wing views. Let us give each a cursory look and see what we can divine from them.

July 27, 2008 - “...a politically motivated[1][2](emphasis added) fatal shooting took place at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, United States. Motivated by a desire to kill liberals and Democrats, gunman Jim David Adkisson fired a shotgun at members of the congregation during a youth performance of a musical, killing two people and wounding seven others.” Wikipedia entry “Knoxville Unitarian Universalist church shooting”. When the right wing media were accused by some of having had some part in motivating Adkisson, they howled most vehemently that they were in no wise to blame. Those denials became strangely muted when, during his interview and the rambling letter he left behind specifically stated that his was a hate crime. During the police search of his home the police found:

1.Liberalism is a Mental Disorder by radio talk show host Michael Savage
2.Let Freedom Ring: Winning the War of Liberty over Liberalism by talk show host Sean Hannity
3.The O'Reilly Factor: The Good, the Bad, and the Completely Ridiculous in American Life by television talk show host Bill O'Reilly Wikipedia

Additionally, he specifically stated that on his wished for hit list were the Democratic members of the House and Senate as well as “100 People Who Are Screwing Up America” by Bernard Goldberg Wikipedia This hardly seems to comport with the protestations of the vehement, violent right wing talkers who say that they are innocent.

May 31, 2009 – Scott Roeder, a long time violent anti-abortion activist assassinated Dr. George Tiller at Dr. Tiller's church. Roeder had a long history of anti-government (Freemen) and anti-abortion extremism (Army of God). Roeder had already been convicted in 1996 on explosives charges (which begs the question, “How was he in possession of a handgun?”). Roeder had been reported to the FBI the day previous to the assassination attempting to glue the locks to Dr. Tiller's clinic shut. Roeder had ties (there is debate as to how close) to Operation Rescue. Wikipedia

Following the assassination of Dr. Tiller, Operation Rescue's founder, Randall Terry, had this to say (“distancing” Operations Rescue from Roeder):

“Terry: The point that must be emphasized over, and over, and over again: pro-life leaders and the pro-life movement are not responsible for George Tiller's death. George Tiller was a mass-murder and, horrifically, he reaped what he sowed.

Q: So who is responsible ...

Terry: The man who shot him is responsible ...

Q: ... because that makes it sound like you were saying that he [Tiller] is responsible.

Terry: The man who shot him is responsible.

Q: What did you mean by "he reaped what he sowed"?

Terry: He was a mass-murder. He sowed death. And then he reaped death in a horrifying way.”
“Terry Declares That Tiller "Reaped What He Sowed

June 10, 2009 – James von Brunn walked into the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. with a .22 caliber rifle and shot and killed a security guard. Again, as in the case of Scott Roeder, von Brunn was a convicted felon so the question must be asked, “How was he able to be in possession of a firearm?” Von Brunn had, in 1981, entered the Federal Reserve building in Washington, D.C. and taken people hostage at gunpoint. He was tried, convicted and imprisoned for that crime. Von Brunn had a long history (after all, he was 88 years old) of violent anti-social, anti-Semitic, anti-racial activity. He was motivated by the likes of George Lincoln Rockwell, founder of the American Nazi Party.

Please be advised, the above is merely a cursory glance at the information available on all these incidents. I urge each of you who read this to bestir themselves to do some surfing of the net to get more details on all the above.

The main point of this piece is this: “Does the violent right wing Wurlitzer (Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, etc. ad nauseam) bear any responsibility for these and similar acts?” Let me put it this way, was Iago responsible for Othello's murder of Desdemona? If you are asking, “Did Iago murder Desdemona?” of course the answer is “No”. However, if you frame the question as “Did the act of whispering vile calumnies about Desdemona into Othello's ear cause the death of Desdemona?” the answer would have to be an unequivocal “Yes!”

Were the depraved howlings of the right wing Wurlitzer the proximate cause of the deaths above? No. Did their invective laden scream fests, broadcast to millions of people, many on the very knife edge of sanity, lead to those deaths? I ask, you decide!


T said...

Excellent piece!
No one holds these mouthpieces responsible for anything!

The association with Iago was brilliant. One of English Lit. most devious characters.

sophie said...

Good article. Always find something interesting to read when I drop by your site. Keep up the fight!

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