The Tucson Shootings: Media on Media Crime

By Molly Stark Dean 

The cable opinion shows all came out last night, after Saturday’s events in Tucson, and put the blame for the shooting spree squarely on Jared Lee Loughner — but some also pointed fingers at each other for inflaming harsh political rhetoric that has become the bread and butter of cable news.

On “The O’Reilly Factor” last night, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly called out the left for pointing fingers at the right:

Decent people simply do not ascribe motivation to a psychopath like Loughner unless that motivation is proven beyond a reasonable doubt. I can’t tell you how angry this makes me. Far-left loons have attacked me in vile way for years. I have to have security around the clock. Has the “New York Times” ever said a word about that?

The Fox News personality spent most of his time last night on his usual targets:  New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, the National Organization for Women, and of course, MSNBC:

NBC News allows vicious personal attacks on anyone who doesn’t toe the far-left MSNBC line. The hatred spewed on that cable network is unprecedented in the media.

The #1 story on MSNBC’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” was “denouncing violence,” which was a continuation of his special comment he made over the weekend over the violent hyperbolic rhetoric that has become the staple of cable news reporting — especially in primetime. Olbermann — like O’Reilly — said there were recent threats to his life.

More on the cablers views and video after the jump…

Olbermann gave Glenn Beck credit for putting “we must stand up against all violence”  on his website, but then pointed out that Beck had a picture with him packing heat in the background. The MSNBC anchor then mentioned Fox News CEO Roger Ailes’ conversation with Russell Simmons yesterday — in which Ailes asked his employees to “shut up, tone it down, make your argument intellectually.” The anchor called Ailes’ statement an implicit admittance that “there is indeed a climate of violence” at FNC.

On last night’s Beck, he said that he texted his staff “no statement whatsoever, no speculation…Nothing, wait for the facts.” Then the Fox personality said, “but the rest of the media didn’t understand that.”

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow questioned the media rhetoric, but chose to blame the guns, “in the United States, for every 100 people there are 90 guns.”