What Palin Needed to Say After Giffords’ Shooting

January 10th, 2011 at 4:30 am David Frum | 240 Comments |

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The shooting in Arizona shocked the nation into grief – and presented Sarah Palin with an immediate political problem: her now-notorious gunsight map.

Palin scrubbed the map from her Palin PAC website, and then issued the following statement on her Facebook page:

My sincere condolences are offered to the family of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of today’s tragic shooting in Arizona.    On behalf of Todd and my family, we all pray for the victims and their families, and for peace and justice.

Then, as Palin came under a barrage of criticism, Palin supporters stepped forward to offer defenses. The gunsights were not really gunsights. The criticism of Palin was unfair, even “obscene.”

And of course, Palin and her supporters had some justice on their side. Obviously, Palin never intended to summon people to harm Representative Giffords. There was no evidence that the shooter was a Palin follower, and in short order it became evident that he was actuated by a serious mental illness. Whatever you think about Palin’s “don’t retreat, reload” rhetoric, it could not be blamed for this crime.

So – argument won? No. Argument lost.

Palin failed to appreciate the question being posed to her. That question was not: “Are you culpable for the shooting?” The question was: “Having put this unfortunate image on the record, can you respond to the shooting in a way that demonstrates your larger humanity? And possibly also your potential to serve as leader of the entire nation?”

Here it seems to me are the elements of such an answer.

(1) Take the accusation seriously. That does not mean you accept the accusation, nor even that you explicitly acknowledge it. But understand why people – not all of them necessarily out to get you – might feel negatively about this past action in light of current events.

(2) Express real grief and sincere compassion. “My condolences are offered” is not the language of someone whose heart is much troubled.

(3) Be visible. They’re laying flowers at the congressional office of Gabrielle Giffords. Any reason you can’t join them?

(4) Join the conversation. You have often complained about out-of-bounds personal comments directed toward you (eg, David Letterman’s). Now try to show toward others the same empathy that you demand from others. Innocent as you feel yourself to be, try to imagine how it must have felt to be Giffords during this past campaign season: guns showing up at her rallies, her offices vandalized, death threats – and your map as the finishing touch. Imagine how her family must feel. Speak to them.

(5) Challenge your opponents. In the past hours, many people have cited President Obama’s (borrowed) line about bringing a knife to a gun fight. They have a point! At the same time as you publicly commit to raise your game, invite your political opponents to raise theirs. Instead of deflecting the blame, share it.

(6) Raise the issue of mental health. Remember how you were going to be an advocate for children with special needs? Can’t more be done to intervene to help potentially dangerous schizophrenics – and to protect society from the risk of violence?  (Read this by Dr. Sally Satel to start your thinking on the subject. ) The best way to underscore that Loughner was not motivated by Tea Party ideology is to remind them of what did impel him.

(7) Think what you would like – not your supporters – but your opponents to say about you. “She was tough, but never a hater.” “No matter how strongly she disagreed, she was always gracious.” “I might not agree with her answer, but I could see she had thought hard about it.” Then, having thought about it, go be that person.

(8) Last: suppose you were president right now. The country would want you to say something about this terrible crime. What is that something? Say it now.

Of course, Palin has yet to give the answer called for by events. Instead, her rapid response operation has focused on pounding home the message that Palin is innocent, that she has been unfairly maligned by hostile critics. Which in this case happened to be a perfectly credible message. And also perfectly inadequate. Palin’s post-shooting message was about Palin, not about Giffords. It was defensive, not inspiring. And it was petty at a moment when Palin had been handed perhaps her last clear chance to show herself presidentially magnanimous.

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240 Comments so far ↓

  • nwahs

    No, Slide. We will have the image of the left wing lunatics politicizing the deaths of innocent people, and that is exactly what you are doing.

  • Slide

    WillP” Is anybody else very frightened by the emerging reaction here? Anybody else feel that maybe the great healer Obama hasn’t done such a great job?”

    Right. This is all Obama’s fault.

    I have always said that one of the tactics of the right wing is to always accuse your opposition of the very thing you are most guilty off, no matter how absurd and ridiculous. It seems to work with their ‘low information’ supporters.

  • armstp

    Anniemargret,

    ” I don’t know why you think that “obviously” these are “sick” people. There is little evidence that they are mentally ill. They are certainly angry–but they are angry about very specific things, and in very specific ways. For example, each one picked targets that suited their political goals. They stockpiled weapons–not tinfoil–and they carried out their acts of political violence. What makes that a sign that they are “sick” in the sense that these actions might be uncontrollable, or the result of mental illness?

    We hardly ever accuse even suicide bombers of being “sick” individuals. We recognize that they are a natural and indeed, cultivated part of various political movements that don’t have regular armies or weaponry.

    To my mind calling these guys “sick individuals” is like calling IEDs “accidental explosives.” IEDs are built, armed, and set by people to carry out certain tasks. That they are improved doesn’t really take away from their deadly quality. Similarly, theres a coherence to the life histories of these angry, armed, white males. And the central thread is, of course, right wing hysteria and political goals.

    If we heard the exact same story about non white men pursuing, say, issues of ecological justice (protecting trees, insisting through violence that we all recycle) we wouldn’t hear anything about it being “just one sick individual.” ”

    Calling these people just mentally disturbed or sick is the easy escape-goat for those on the right. They are just sick so that explains it….

  • nwahs

    I’m getting out of this. Its absolutely disgusting. There is no morality left in the blogosphere.

  • sdspringy

    Frum’s obsession with Palin has now caused him to behave similar to Loughner. We are now led to believe by Frum that Palin has some share of the responsibility for a mentally ill individual.

    Not parents, friends, local community but a distant, iconic political figure which is actually a shadowy figure in comparison to those local contacts mention before.

    Listening to individuals who went to school, high school and community college, with Loughner describe an individual who scared them and led them to believe that years before they felt that he would do something violent.

    Yet Frum discovers his own paranoia by declaring Palin as an accomplice. The act which places Palin at the scene of the crime a political map, obscure in nature unless you have your own obsession with Palin, that the current media and Frum in particular has attempted to make the delusional correlation.

    This logic would apply to Frum if someone were to shot Palin. It certainly could be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that Frum himself despises Palin’s influence on the political process. Posts from his own hand, similar to this current one, continue to show Frum’s obsession and his belief that Palin is the Doctor Moriarty of the Republican party.

    Frum is now in the ranks of the mentally ill, obsessive personality which we all should watch for signs of impending violence.

  • armstp

    Palin: “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!”

    Huckabee: Members of Congress “should be tarred and feathered as the original tea partiers would have done.”

    Morris: “Those crazies in Montana who say, ‘We’re going to kill ATF agents because the U.N.’s going to take over’ — well, they’re beginning to have a case.”

    Erickson: “At what point do the people … march down to their state legislator’s house, pull him outside, and beat him to a bloody pulp?”

    Savage: “We’re going to have a revolution in this country”; “These people are pushing the wrong people around.”

    Stossel: “[I have] Barney Frank in effigy” hanging above my sofa.”

    Perry, Newsmax: [Obama] “is inviting a [m]ilitary intervention.”

    [Radio host Jim] Quinn calls for “riots”: “Our country was built on revolution, and it’s about time we took it back.”

    Chuck Norris: “[W]ill history need to record a second American Revolution?”

    Congresswoman Bachmann: “I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax, because we need to fight back,” said Bachmann. “Thomas Jefferson told us, having a revolution every now and then is a good thing. And the people – we the people – are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country,” and, “Where tyranny is enforced upon the people, as Barack Obama is doing, the people suffer and mourn.”

  • balconesfault

    Hey Willie – best I can tell, Vantage Point (which I’d never heard of before) was largely apolitical, focusing not on the ideology behind an assassination attempt but on the mechanics and conspiracies.

    Are we going to start talking about Harrison Ford’s “Air Force One” as reprehensible as well?

    Those types of flicks have been part and parcel of Hollywood for years.

  • Slide

    nwahs // Jan 10, 2011 at 12:36 pm “No, Slide. We will have the image of the left wing lunatics politicizing the deaths of innocent people, and that is exactly what you are doing.”

    No nwahs, we’ll have the right wing trying to slither out from the vile and contempt able rhetoric they have been spewing from the day Obama was elected.

    This is not something that just came up by the way. The left has complained about the over the top rhetoric of the right for some time and the possibility that it might send someone over the edge to real violence. And viola’, here we are. We are not just supposed to keep quiet?

    Lets remember what Nancy Pelosi said back in September of 09 only to be challenged by the current speaker, Mr. Orange.

    WASHINGTON – An emotional Nancy Pelosi fought back tears and warned Thursday that the nation’s angry political climate could inspire deadly violence.

    Pelosi said it reminded her of her San Francisco hometown in 1978, when a disgruntled member of the city Board of Supervisors assassinated Mayor George Moscone and openly gay Supervisor Harvey Milk.

    “I have concerns about some of the language that is being used because I saw this … I saw this myself, in the late ’70s in San Francisco,” Pelosi said, her voice catching as she fought to keep composure.

    “This kind of rhetoric was very frightening, and it created a climate in which violence took place.”

    A spokesman said Pelosi was not referring to last week’s “You lie!” outburst by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) when President Obama addressed Congress.

    Pelosi is worried about unhinged protesters at town hall meetings, spokesman Drew Hammill said.

    Still, Pelosi sounded as if she were scolding some Republicans who have heatedly accused Obama and Democrats of trying to force socialism on the U.S.

    “I wish that we would all … curb our enthusiasm in some of the statements that are made, so that understanding that some of the people – the ears that it is falling on, are not as balanced as the person making the statement might assume,” she said.

    Minority Leader John Boehner begged to differ, saying people are legitimately angry and worried about the future.

    “They’re scared to death that the country that they grew up in is not going to be the country that their kids and grandkids get to grow up in,” Boehner said.

    “I believe it ought to be civil, but Americans are speaking up, and they ought to speak up.”

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2009/09/17/2009-09-17_house_speaker_nancy_pelosi_warns_of_violence_evolving_out_of_angry_health_care_d.html

  • Joe In NH

    McCain to his credit was willing during the campaign to say Obama was a good American but someone he disagreed with (McCain was booed by his own people for this). I understand he was also unwilling to let his campaign go farther at calling Obama a terrorist. That courage seems to be rare today. The sad fact is that in today’s GOP (far different from my daddy’s GOP) to push back against someone that speaks out with statements how the democrats are traitors/commies/ un-american will guarantee you a primary opponent and quite likely see you lose the primary.

  • TerryF98

    “nwahs // Jan 10, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    I’m getting out of this. Its absolutely disgusting. There is no morality left in the blogosphere”

    Then you are joining WilleyP who left here 2 weeks ago never to return. But wait here he is in this thread spreading his lies.

    See you later.

  • lessadoabouteverything

    One, to state it was produced by Hollywood is to state it was part of the Democratic subculture so it being British completely shows you to be the chump you are.

    “The game you people are playing is truly despicable. He shot a Congresswoman, not because she was a Democrat, but because she was a CONGRESSwoman.” You jackass, I am not playing any Game. For one, you have no idea why he shot her and to assume you do is ridiculous. Would you be offering mea culpas if a letter is shown where he states he is doing it to get rid of all Democrats? Of course not, nor should you. I have never once said anywhere that anyone else is to directly be blamed for this event than the shooter.

    All I have ever said is if you have gone around drawing bulls eyes on members of the other party, label them Nazis (and I unequivocally condemned the assholes who called General Petreaus General Betrayus, or said Bush was a Nazi, otoh calling Cheney Darth Cheney was funny, and even Cheney himself appropriated it and made light of that) and other such incediary language calls for some self reflection. I am a proud centrist, I like Huckabee, Jindal, Romney. I would never use such violent imagery against them, is it so much to ask Republicans not justify the use of it against Democrats?

  • armstp

    WillyP,

    Your statement:

    “something scarier than an isolated shooting”

    is just plain wrong.

    This is no isolated shooting. We have seen nothing but violence directed at our government for the last couple of years and most of those, if not all them, support a far-right ideology. Those perpetrating the violence are not far away from the rhetoric from both the Tea Party and Republican politicians and supporters.

    This shooting in AZ is not an isolated incident as you claim. Far from it. It fits a growing pattern that the Department of Homeland Security warned us about in their famous report:

    “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment”

    http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/rightwing.pdf

    Let me remind you of a few of the events we have witnessed in the last couple of years.

    > Richard Poplawski, a right-wing extremist, allegedly gunned down three police officers in Pittsburgh,
    > Scott Roeder, another right-wing extremist, allegedly assassinated Dr. George Tiller in Kansas,
    > Von Brunn, another right-wing extremist, allegedly opened fire at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum,
    > Jim David Adkisson after he allegedly entered the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church and killed two people and wounded six others during the presentation of a children’s musical. Inside the house, officers found “Liberalism is a Mental Health Disorder” by radio talk show host Michael Savage, “Let Freedom Ring” by talk show host Sean Hannity, and “The O’Reilly Factor,” by television talk show host Bill O’Reilly.
    > a 51 year old man walked into Arkansas Democratic headquarters and shot and killed the state chairman, Bill Gwatney
    > Byron Williams set out to kill people at Tides Foundation and ACLU.
    > Nine members of the “Hutaree militia” were arrested in March and charged with plotting a violent uprising against the U.S. government
    > Joe Stack, an anti-government conspirast, crashed his airplane into an IRS Building.
    > Libertarian and anti-government activist John Bedell shot two Pentagon police officers
    > Florida man, disturbed about Obama’s election, killed two police officers at a gun range

    The pattern is the right in this country is not afraid to use violence to get their way or if they disagree with someone. I get it. Violence is just part of the right-wing/conservative ideology. It makes sense given the obsession with guns, the neocons and war, etc. etc. etc.

  • Non-Contributor

    There is one indisputable example of the right using rhetoric and fear to insight violence and that is with the abortion issue. There are many examples of right wing rhetoric used to push the mentally unstable to commit all types of violent acts.

    The right uses the threats of violence and with the abortion issue, in some instances, they have been very effective.

  • anniemargret

    armstp: I do not have enough facts about this young man at this point to determine exactly what was happening to him or where he planned to go.

    Certainly there are elements of politics here. If he just wanted to shoot people, he could have shot hundreds of others inside the mall, or on the streets at random. He most definietely targeted the Congresswoman and anyone near her.

    At the same time, please do not think for a moment that being mentally ill ascribes all there is know about this young man, although recent reports are saying he was obviously mentally ill for a long, long time prior to this incident. So there could be two elements to this horrific tragedy. Or three.

    Mental illness, untreated…coopting with gun-imagery, violence and hate, and easy access to a gun.

    My explanation of what schizophrenia is was simply that. An atttempt to correct some of the more common misconceptions about the illness, especially in the media.

    As far as I’m concerned, this young man is a cold-blooded murderer, mental illness or not. Specific details about his political leanings, or what he did under the fog of mental illness to be persuaded one way or the other, will come out in due time.

    My criticism of Palin and the other gun-violent-image toting political talking heads remains the same. Whether or not this young man had committed this atrocity, what they do in thought and deed to incite and instigate unbalanced, or hateful people to possible violence is laid at the door.

    If I gossip about another person, because I heard it second hand, and that person ended up in a terrible position, am I completely free of moral responsibility, even though I had not originated it?

    Talk is cheap. Responsible talk should be demanded from our politicians and hate-speech taken off the airways. There are boundaries in a decent society. Or if we don’t get ready to see this country continue down into the abyss. Rome fell from within from corruption and vice, before the ‘barbarians’ crushed the Empire.

  • pnumi2

    What we have been getting since Saturday from the Kindergarten Krowd of the Right is a lesson in Machiavelli 101.

    Blame the opposition for your mistakes and egregious behavior, before they and the people blame you. I’m not saying it doesn’t work. I’m saying there are better ways of combating it than answering it point by lying point.

    Point out their strategy, not whose cross-hairs predate each others. Ignore everything they say and just pound them back into the mud out of which they have risen.

    A sh*tstorm of truth will break over the heads of the miscreants who are working Palin and the other marionettes of her movement. And when it does let’s all be as sympathetic to them as they are to the victims of this terrible tragedy.

  • snoble

    The problem is the “this is about violent rhetoric” crowd went instantly to a crazy place and stayed there. Matt Yglesias, Boingboing, Xeni Jardin, etc, who are usually sane people were so far off the map on Saturday that any form of speaking by Palin would have only been seen as engagement which would gave some validity to their craziness.

    As far as I can tell the Palin team mostly stayed silent. It was the “I can’t believe I live on the same planet as Xeni and Yglesias” crowd that came to her defense. Not out of respect for Palin; but because they saw people acting truely terrible in the shadow of depravity and wanted to stop it.

  • WillyP

    nwahs,
    Yup, it’s a sick sad world we live in today. If this guy’s Representative happened to be a Republican we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. He was anti-government because he thought they were brainwashing him and controlling English grammar (sound mainstream?). Using the left’s logic, we should all be decrying Apple because he is reported to been seen walking his dog listening to his iPod. And dogs too, for that matter. But she happened to be a Democrat, so go figure…

    I wonder what the other victims’ political affiliations were? Can we tally them up by party to get some consensus on who this guy hated most, and then assign blame to the opposite party? Sick logic, sick sick sick. Really sick guys.

    There are always violent political events and always will be. It becomes a very serious concern when it is organized and widespread, not the work of a single lunatic. It’s a horrible tragedy that I can’t comprehend or appreciate fully (Thank God). Yet I maintain the scarier part is the reaction. Very telling and sickening.

  • lessadoabouteverything

    Point 4: Now try to show toward others the same empathy that you demand from others. Innocent as you feel yourself to be, try to imagine how it must have felt to be Giffords during this past campaign season: guns showing up at her rallies, her offices vandalized, death threats – and your map as the finishing touch. Imagine how her family must feel. Speak to them.

    Has nwahs, or willyp, or any of the undertherock dwelling denizens of the whackjob right expressed the slightest bit of condolences anywhere? Any acknowledgement that they were Democrats targeted at a Democratic rally? I can’t be bothered to check but I am pretty sure that they have made this all about their hatred of the left and how victimized they feel.

    As I have said repeatedly, this is not a Democrat or Republican tragedy, it is an American one
    and I have only called on people from both sides to reflect on any violent language in campaigns to refrain from doing so in the future. Instead of exhibiting hypersensitivity at having such language called out, own up to it if you have used it and if it is not valid let it roll off your back.

    My conscience is clear, I have never said Bush was a tyrant and Nazi, at the most I have said Sarah Palin is a dipshit but the only threat I have made is if she were somehow elected President I would stay out of the Country, and if possible leave the planet (being that I am just as likely to be rescued by ET as Palin is to be elected President)

    Though my conscience is clear I do grieve for the losses, especially of the little girl. But I always do when a child dies or is murdered.

  • sdspringy

    Assigning violence to a political party is currently in vogue. Well what was the last modern day President to be shot , a Republican.

    The Left created a movie showing how to assassinate a Republican President, Bush. Is that bad, must not be because no one on the LEFT declared it terrible in nature.

    Media stating on air hoping that politicians die from Aids, this was aimed at Republicans.

    With the likes of Liberal talkers such as Mallory, Schultz, Obermann and many others do we really need to Google the web of instances of malicious talk to counter those being posted here by Armstp and others.

    The belief that a mentally ill individual’s actions are driven by political media and not repeated viewing of Saw/(insert horror movie) or any other form of media is as delusional as those making the claim.

  • lessadoabouteverything

    So here is a direct challenge to WillyP or Nwahs, show me a single posting since this happened on any thread where you said something to the effect that you are deeply saddened and horrified by the losses, and that while you are opposed to Democratic policies, violence against any democratic, and Democratic, rally is reprehensible.

    Just one posting in all the shit you wrote.

  • lessadoabouteverything

    sdspringy, my God are you an idiot:

    The Left created a movie showing how to assassinate a Republican President, Bush. Is that bad, must not be because no one on the LEFT declared it terrible in nature.

    Can you not read, it was a British film and it was condemned most vociferously by Hillary Clinton. I illustrated it above in a detailed post. And you yourself could have looked it up in about 3 seconds using Google.
    Do you go out of your way to look stupid?

  • Non-Contributor

    “The belief that a mentally ill individual’s actions are driven by political media…”

    Explain to me how the right has not done this with the abortion issue.

  • TerryF98

    In other news..That great Republican seeker after truth and hero of sdspringy and WillyP Orly Taitz has had her claim rejected in the high court. So you birthers need to re double your efforts to de-legitimize the President. Go to it.

    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a lawyer who has been in the forefront of the challenge to President Barack Obama’s citizenship.

    The high court on Monday did not comment in refusing to hear the appeal filed by California lawyer and dentist Orly Taitz. She was contesting a $20,000 fine for filing what a federal judge determined was a frivolous lawsuit.

    The suit was filed on behalf of Army Capt. Connie Rhodes, who sought to avoid deployment to Iraq by claiming Obama wasn’t born in the United States and thus, is ineligible to be president and commander in chief.

  • Slide

    The Left created a movie showing how to assassinate a Republican President, Bush.

    what an ahole.

  • jg bennet

    This denying the right wing media influence on the situation is a lot like a crowd standing around while a little old lady is getting mugged and doing nothing about it.

    There is a definition to what is happening here…

    Diffusion of responsibility is a social phenomenon which tends to occur in groups of people above a certain critical size when responsibility is not explicitly assigned. This phenomenon rarely ever occurs in small groups. In tests, when in groups of three or fewer, everyone in the group took action. This is as opposed to when in groups of over ten, where in almost every test no one took action. This mindset can be seen in the phrase “No one raindrop thinks it caused the flood”.
    Diffusion of responsibility can manifest itself:

    In a group of people who, through action or inaction, allow events to occur which they would never allow if they were alone. Examples include groupthink and the bystander effect.

    The bystander effect or Genovese syndrome is a social psychological phenomenon that refers to cases where individuals do not offer help in an emergency situation when other people are present. The probability of help has in the past been thought to be inversely related to the number of bystanders; in other words, the greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is that any one of them will help.

    Groupthink is a type of thought within a deeply cohesive in-group whose members try to minimize conflict and reach consensus without critically testing, analyzing, and evaluating ideas. It is a second potential negative consequence of group cohesion.

    IF YOU ARE DEFENDING THE RIGHT WING MEDIA you fall into Diffusion of responsibility category.

    Accept the fact you were successfully propagandized enough to throw rational thinking out the window and jump on the bandwagon.

    There are many many people both conservatives and liberals who did not fall victim to the propaganda of the last 3 years and they are the ones who are the voice of reason on this post.

    If you deny the influence of media on this situation you have been propagandized.

    Don’t hold it against yourself just think more rationally, change the channel, read opposing arguments with an open mind. In other words accept the fact that you have been duped and choose to rise above it.

    It is clear to us who see the propaganda and how the methods work that that is what is going on.

    It is frustrating when someone as intelligent as willyp is so blinded by ideology and “rhetoric” that his brilliance is squandered due to simple propaganda tactics. If he or those like him were aware of the methods the bs would bounce off them like a bb on a tank and they could become great “born again” activists against propaganda.

    We really should put this situation to the Brandenburg test.

  • WillyP

    lessado,
    Here’s a direct challenge to you – Can you point to place on this thread where you’ve given your political opponents the benefit of the doubt that we’re not in favor of mass murder?

    I’ve said about 3 or 4 times this is a horrible tragedy. Do you want me to lay flowers?

    I’ve always believed that people have a hard time accepting senseless violence and horrific tragedies. Hopefully this spectacle of blaming Republicans is merely a feeble minded attempt to make sense of madness, which you people can’t seem to comprehend.

    Although I suspect it’s not… I suspect it’s an effort to discredit your opponents who kicked your party out of power. And lemme say again, this is a dangerous game and very short sighted.

  • jg bennet

    This denying the right wing media influence on the situation is a lot like a crowd standing around while a little old lady is getting mugged and doing nothing about it.

    There is a definition to what is happening here…

    Diffusion of responsibility is a social phenomenon which tends to occur in groups of people above a certain critical size when responsibility is not explicitly assigned. This phenomenon rarely ever occurs in small groups. In tests, when in groups of three or fewer, everyone in the group took action. This is as opposed to when in groups of over ten, where in almost every test no one took action. This mindset can be seen in the phrase “No one raindrop thinks it caused the flood”.
    Diffusion of responsibility can manifest itself:

    In a group of people who, through action or inaction, allow events to occur which they would never allow if they were alone. Examples include groupthink and the bystander effect.

    The bystander effect or Genovese syndrome is a social psychological phenomenon that refers to cases where individuals do not offer help in an emergency situation when other people are present. The probability of help has in the past been thought to be inversely related to the number of bystanders; in other words, the greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is that any one of them will help.

    Groupthink is a type of thought within a deeply cohesive in-group whose members try to minimize conflict and reach consensus without critically testing, analyzing, and evaluating ideas. It is a second potential negative consequence of group cohesion.

    IF YOU ARE DEFENDING THE RIGHT WING MEDIA you fall into Diffusion of responsibility category.

    Accept the fact you were successfully propagandized enough to throw rational thinking out the window and jump on the bandwagon.

    There are many many people both conservatives and liberals who did not fall victim to the propaganda of the last 3 years and they are the ones who are the voice of reason on this post.

    If you deny the influence of media on this situation you have been propagandized.

    Don’t hold it against yourself just think more rationally, change the channel, read opposing arguments with an open mind. In other words accept the fact that you have been duped and choose to rise above it.

    It is clear to us who see the propaganda and how the methods work that that is what is going on.

    It is frustrating when someone as intelligent as willyp is so blinded by ideology and “rhetoric” that his brilliance is squandered due to simple propaganda tactics. If he or those like him were aware of the methods the bs would bounce off them like a bb on a tank and they could become great “born again” activists against propaganda.

    We really should put this situation to the Brandenburg test.

  • Slide

    The right keeps bringing up a movie made in ENGLAND about the assassination of Bush. What that has to do with American politics is beyond me but let me tell what someone from the American Left had to say about the move:

    Hillary Clinton, then junior United States Senator from New York, told The Journal News of Rockland, Westchester, and Putnam counties at the annual New Castle Community Day in Chappaqua that, “I think it’s despicable. I think it’s absolutely outrageous. That anyone would even attempt to profit on such a horrible scenario makes me sick.”

    Now show me all the Republicans that have come out against the violent talk and rhetoric of the right. Anyone?

  • Joe In NH

    William Buckley in 1962 in the National Review denounced the John Birch Society. Anyone in the GOP have the balls Buckley had? Doesn’t seem so. Easier to stand silently and let the hate flow so long as you think it benefits you

  • jg bennet

    blast from the past, in case you missed it earlier willyp

    I remembered telling willyp someone would get shot. Here is that post and followed is my ad nausem list and maybe now you naysayers will pay a little more attention to it.

    My post
    jg bennet // Aug 9, 2010 at 12:19 am
    An enlightened citizenry is indispensable for the proper functioning of a republic. Self-government is not possible unless the citizens are educated sufficiently to enable them to exercise oversight. It is therefore imperative that the nation see to it that a suitable education be provided for all its citizens.

    i think the 24 hour news cycle and the media companies need for ratings and profits have damaged our civil dialogue.
    what if pbs had foxnews money but didn’t have to worry about ratings? would there be less propaganda/name calling?

    are you familiar with the brandenburg test or brandenburg v ohio? it may not be long until someone starts to mention it…
    Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444 (1969), was a United States Supreme Court case based on the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It held that government cannot punish inflammatory speech unless it is directed to inciting and likely to incite imminent lawless action.

    all of this screaming socialism is getting to the point where somebody is going to get shot.

    The Response
    WillyP // Aug 9, 2010 at 9:17 am

    jg,
    i am not really worried about “somebody” getting “shot” from the use of the word socialist. bush was called a nazi for most of his first term and all of his second. there was even a movie made about assassinating a u.s. president in the middle east. also remember that somebody hurled a grenade on stage at him that luckily did not explode.

    it’s awfully hypocritical for the left to start complaining about the relatively innocuous term that the tea party protest movement has attached to obama. for ~6 years bush accused of being satan himself.

    jg bennet // Aug 9, 2010 at 11:06 am

    willyp

    you must not live in texas, around here you hear the shooting crap all the time. why is it that arms sales have gone off the scale?

    the GOP was once an intelligent respectable party but it has become the party of the gullible, the party of the divisive, the party of no, the party of bigots, the party of the white uneducated class, the party whose loudest voices are all ex disc jockey’s and worst of all the party of jesus.

    goldwater would be glad he is pushing daisies if he could see what has become of his beloved GOP.
    you call yourself a goldwater man? how can you even vote for these guys?

  • Chris Balsz

    I declare that each adult may assert their rights.

    By the way at least two district courts HAVE ruled it unconstitutional; probably the Supreme Court will hand down a ruling within six years.

    The federal government cannot order an end to interstate commerce in a commodity – but then order each state to regulate its own commerce according to federal guidelines.
    Even allowing that, I cannot be ordered by government to buy services I won’t use – I won’t ever get pregnant or have ovarian cancer – at a price set by the government, so that the provider banks more profit than pays out in services.
    Even allowing that, I cannot be ordered to swear under oath that I did not purchase the required services so that the government may punish me immediately for my failure.
    Even allowing that, I cannot be punished for my failure administratively, without hearing, by application of laws regarding tax debt.
    Even allowing that, the government cannot waive punishment for some citizens because of their income, and punish others because they can afford it.

    I also assert we can have this discussion without anybody getting riled up to start shooting.

  • WillyP

    jg,
    A pot smoking anti-government liberal lunatic (note: key word = lunatic), whose favorite books included Mein Kampf and the Communist Manifesto kills 6 people, and now it’s the word “Socialist” we are to blame? Uh, no. We should start wondering things like… where were his parents? Or, where were his friends? Or, where were the authorities?

    Not asking if whether accurately describing the political orientation of our current president made for this. How stupid… come on.

  • midcon

    Chris,

    I agree that we could have that discussion vigorously and non-violently but not as a battle in the current war between Republicans and Democrats, whose only purpose is defeat one another, not to govern. That discussion needs to take place between American citizens. Not Democrat Americans or Republican Americans. Our hyphenated society has done nothing but create tribal warfare. The Dems and Repubs are just like the Shiites and the Sunnis who self identify as a members of the tribe rather than first self identifying as an Iraqi. If only we would identify ourselves and each other as members of the American tribe first.

  • TerryF98

    Guys, Arguing with birthers like WillyP and Sdspringy is a complete waste of time.

    It like having a discussion with your dog. He seems to understand what you are saying but really is only interested in words like “walkies”,”Chicken” and ” food”.

    The level of understanding is just not there folks.

  • Slide

    WillyP struggling mightily once again makes a fool of himself: “A pot smoking anti-government liberal lunatic (note: key word = lunatic), whose favorite books included Mein Kampf and the Communist Manifesto kills 6 people”

    liberal? lol. What is that saying in the South, “That dog won’t hunt”? Something like that but in NY we would just say, “what are yiy f****** crazy?” We’re a bit more direct.

    Mein Kamp and the Communist Manifesto make him a “liberal”? Why is that? He also had a lesser known work of Ayn Rand on his favorites list. Can you please find me a liberal with an Ayn Rand book on his favorites list.

    He also complained deeply about the government.
    He also called a fellow student who had an abortion a “terrorists” that kills the unborn.
    He is deeply concerned that our currency is not backed by gold.

    He’s a liberal? lol

  • WillyP

    Terry,
    Normally I don’t ingratiate you with a response, but …

    I am not nor have I ever been a “birther.” I have wondered whether there was any truth to it, especially given the statements of Michelle Obama at times, but hardly made a stink about this.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2010/05/is_michelle_obama_a_birther.html

  • TerryF98

    Midcon, that;s fine in theory but don’t you know there are “real” Americans and “fake” Americans. And as long as Republican national figures insist on dividing the country for political advantage, and deliberately using fear as a political weapon in order to keep the RW masses riled up it’s a pipe dream I am afraid.

    What are Liberals to do just lie down and be walked over?

  • midcon

    Terry98,

    “It like having a discussion with your dog. He seems to understand what you are saying but really is only interested in words like “walkies”,”Chicken” and ” food”.”

    Well said!!

  • TerryF98

    WillyP.

    Then you have changed your mind, a bit like when you said you were leaving!

  • lhvent

    Dave,

    We all have to come together. People like Palin used divisive language to target good people. It needs to stop and the Republican Party needs to tone down the hatred already. What happened to the Howard Baker’s and Everett Dirkson’s of the party. There must be some Republican’s out there that are responsible. Enough already.

  • WillyP

    Slide,
    “A classmate of the man accused of shooting Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords this morning describes him as “left wing” and a “pot head” in a series of posts on Twitter this afternoon.”

    http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/valleyfever/2011/01/jared_loughner_alleged_shooter.php

    The truly is a spectacle. The 22 year old murderer isn’t a political operative. He is sick in the head, completely paranoid, as anybody who bothered to read his rambling would quickly realize. Unless you’re a far left Palin hater, in which case the death of 6 people and injuring of 13 more becomes an opportunity to attack the right.

    That’s pretty sick guys. What would your mothers say?

  • Slide

    well… thats it. A classmate that knew the shooter back in 2007 said he was left wing. Must be so. Your analytical skills are awe inspiring WillyP

  • Poiks

    Except, of course, that Palin minus vitriol is irrelevant to the exact group of people to whom she’s relevant today.

  • JimBob

    Bottom line, as Clinton pollster Mark Penn recently said, Obama needs an Oklahoma bombing incident to revive his Presidency. That’s why the left and their allies in the lamestream media are trying put this on Palin and the Tea Party. But in 1995 the internet was in its infant stages and there was no Fox News. Clinton was able to get away with it back then. ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, and CNN all promoted the line that somehow Rush Limbaugh was responsible. Sorry lefties, but it ain’t gonna work this time. Conservatives and libertarians dominate the web.

  • sdspringy

    Teabag Terry and others continue to promote the Democratic talking point direct from Politico and Dem strategist that Loughner was driven by political rhetoric that was mean spirited and directly caused the violent act.

    Demanding that everyone, but themselves, now adhere to a political discourse standard of “no mean words” or imagery or thought pattern or blogging or which excludes their own brand of stupidity.

    Yet true to form their hypocrisy is exemplified by their posting.

    Teabag you have attempted for years now to appear intelligent on this blog yet have consistently failed on all occasions. Now your feeble attempts to capitalize on the deaths of innocent people to promote your version of politics is at once disgusting and yet sooo typical.

    You continue to be disgusting, ignorant, and a wonderful example of the buffoonery of liberal politics.

  • Slide

    JimBob it’s always about Obama with you guys isn’t it?

  • Slide

    sdspringy // Jan 10, 2011 at 2:06 pm:

    Teabag you have attempted for years now to appear intelligent on this blog yet have consistently failed on all occasions. Now your feeble attempts to capitalize on the deaths of innocent people to promote your version of politics is at once disgusting and yet sooo typical.

    You continue to be disgusting, ignorant, and a wonderful example of the buffoonery of liberal politics.

    Damn, you showed him springy who is more smarter.

  • Joe In NH

    I just heard a news clip where the talk show host Savage had a call in to his show where someone was having the Mayor of NYC set up a secret police force to be ready to take control. Did Savage tell the guy to take his tin hat off? NO! Savage told him how upset he was to hear of this. It is not legitimate disagreement that is upsetting but rather this garbage.

  • TerryF98

    sdspringy // Jan 10, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Hey Birther, how’s things in paranoia land today.

  • Dex

    WillyP, JimBob, nwahs, and the rest:

    Who was the very first person to make a connection between Sarah Palin’s rhetoric and consequences for Rep. Giffords?

    Rep. Giffords herself, way back in March.

    And there are no number of red herrings or strawmen arguments you can invent in order to detract from this fact.

    And that is why the rest of the country is going to have this conversation about our political culture, even if you refuse to take part in it.