Past performance is no guarantee of future results:
Sometimes, rumors of violence beget actual violence. Saturday’s mass shooting at a Safeway on North Oracle Road in Tucson, which killed six and left Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and others gravely wounded, may well be one of those occasions.
It’s impossible to know this early what the motivations for the attack were. Was the alleged shooter — who has been identified as 22-year-old Tucsonan Jared Loughner — angry about immigration? Or perhaps another hot-button issue? YouTube videos ascribed to him bore the mark of mental illness — they were conspiratorial, unintelligible, espousing no particular cause — but no matter his mental state, his crime took place in an overheated political environment. Last March, at the height of the health care reform battle, Giffords’ office was vandalized. She mentioned in an MSNBC interview that a Sarah Palin graphic had depicted her district in the crosshair of a gun sight. “They’ve got to realize there are consequences to that,” she said. “The rhetoric is incredibly heated.” The corner next to her office had also become, she said, a popular spot for Tea Party protests.
— “Is Violent Rhetoric Behind Attack on Giffords?”, the metatag of this Time magazine article from January 8th, 2011.
— “Michael Grunwald, Time Magazine Reporter, Sends Out Shocking Tweet About Julian Assange,” the Huffington Post, yesterday:
Grunwald’s employer distanced itself from the substance of his tweet. “Michael Grunwald posted an offensive tweet from his personal Twitter account that is in no way representative of TIME’s views,” a TIME spokesperson said. “He regrets having tweeted it, and he removed it from his feed.”
That’s a curiously passive double-standard if you believe that sometimes, mere rumors of violence begets actual violence. Time-Warner-CNN-HBO should consider the possible consequences to Assange from their reporters issuing such incredibly heated rhetoric.
Update: In a book last year, Grunwald “declared the ARRA stimulus an economic success that had gone unappreciated because of the ‘skewed view’ of the American people,” Jeff Poor adds today at the Daily Caller.
Time-Warner-CNN-HBO certainly did everything they could to skew the view of the American people in the opposite direction, from declaring Mr. Obama in 2008 to be the second coming of FDR (that they meant it as a compliment must have caused Henry Luce, Time’s Republican founder, to perform multiple 360s in his gave) to CNN baking a cake and presenting it on air in early 2010 to celebrate the “success” of the stimulus.