If they are so worried...

Karol Collymore

A few months ago, US Homeland Security Director Janet Napalitano put out a report warning against the threat of domestic terrorism. She and the report were written off as hysterics by the left, even those the report itself was commissioned during former President Bush's administration.

Now, what do we have? An abortion provider is murdered at church and now the Holocaust Museum is attacked and a security gaurd killed. Today, Shepard Smith of Fox News blasted folks who email in to his show and asking them to turn down the rhetoric; it's becoming dangerous. It makes me wonder, why does he continue to work there? His colleagues are calling Obama a socialist, a Marxist, abortion probiders baby killers, people of Latin descent "illegals," regardless of their status, and the list could clearly go on.

We all want public discourse, most of us want to hear all sides, but the inflammatory nature of the commentary could (and potentially is) causing irreparable damage. How then, do we turn down the rhetoric?

Watch Smith address the commentary on his show (From Talking Points Memo):

Comments

  • Boats (unverified)
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    The hate rhetoric is thick on this blog as well. Have you had the pleasure of being called a fascist lately?

  • JJ (unverified)
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    Karol..you've got to be kidding. Where were you the last 8 years? Many, many people right here on this site..calling president bush a terrorist, a war criminal..and much, much worse. The level, volume and hateful nature of the rhetoric used against President Bush and Dick Cheney far surpassed what is being said about our current president. If you are so concerned about turning down the rhetoric..where was your outrage about it during the Bush years?? Maybe I'm wrong and maybe you were out there protesting against the anti-bush drivel that flowed like wine around here the past several years..and if that was the case...then I apologize. But since I'm pretty certain that you were part of that very same rhetoric machine, rather than an opponent of it...your post smacks of blatant hypocrisy. Let's be honest..the rhetoric you want to "turn down" is just the rhetoric that attacks your own chosen political ideology....but you are more than happy to join in the chorus when it's used against the other side.

  • mp97303 (unverified)
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    Everyone keeps referring to "sides" I am an American, what side are you?

  • brigid (unverified)
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    Fox News as the propaganda arm of the GOP is the center of hate speech in this country simply doing the bidding of their masters. These two murders by domestic terrorists, one an anti-abortionist, the other an anti-semite, are the impetus for the FBI and the Justice Dept. to crack down on right wing terrorism, and start putting the haters who incite, conspire, and commit violence in prison. The Southern Law Poverty Conference has files on all these groups and individuals. It's time to bring the full weight of federal law enforcement on them and protect our country from domestic terrorism. I remember well the support and praise that the Oregon GOP gave to Shelley Shannon after she shot Dr. Tiller in both arms. That was where their values were.

  • r. james (unverified)
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    Do you guys still have any of those bumper stickers that read, "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism?"

    Or is dissent no longer patriotic?

  • (Show?)

    Or is dissent no longer patriotic?

    Dissent? The kind of speech coming from O'Reilly and Limbaugh isn't "dissent". It's akin to yelling "fire!" in a crowded theatre.

    Let's REALLY be honest...the Department of Homeland Security issued warnings about the potential for rightwing violence. Instead of actually addressing it, rightwing commentators have stoked it.

    Inciting people to violence is not covered under free speech. Nor does it make these same folks immune to criticism.

  • Chris (unverified)
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    Touche' Carla

    So the completly objective rantings from your kin at "Air America Radio" was an acceptable form of dissent? No matter how non-factual it usually was?

    You can't have two standards Carla!!!

  • Mike O'Brien (unverified)
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    If you are concerned about the content and attitude of Fox News, please let them know. You can also contact sponsors--on the Fox News web site, Intel is a major sponsor of O'Reilly Factor and UPS of Glenn Beck.

  • tl (in sw) (unverified)
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    It is true that the left can get histrionic and hateful in its rhetoric as well. That upsets me to see (here on BO and elsewhere) as well primarily because I find it offensive but more so unproductive or counter-productive. I am less likely to be swayed by someone's arguments and points if personal attacks and defamation of character is employed.

    The left has seen some of its extremists driven to violence (e.g. arson, vandalism, etc.). However, unless my memory is selective, we haven't seen any leftist extremists committing assassinations, certainly not on the scale of the right-side extremists for several decades.

    I occassionally attempt to discuss and respectfully disagree on this blog and invite others to do so as well. Don't, however, assume my tone belies lack of passion or emotion on a particular topic. I just don't wanna turn people off from engaging, discussing and thinking by vilifying and pissing them off.

    -tl (in sw)

  • Buckman Res (unverified)
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    While you’re noting those killed in recent attacks by hateful extremists lets not forget Pvt. William Long, 23, of Conway Arkansas, killed earlier this month by a Muslim fanatic simply for being a member of the US Army.

    Try not to be so selective in your outrage.

  • (Show?)

    So the completly objective rantings from your kin at "Air America Radio" was an acceptable form of dissent? No matter how non-factual it usually was?

    Chris--are you missing the point on purpose?

    This isn't about someone stating stuff that's "non-factual". It's a no-brainer that this sort of speech is protected. But speech that works to stoke violence is not. And that's the very big and very obvious difference.

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    All of a sudden the American insurgents are getting more and more violent. Rachel Maddow's show highlighted this fact just yesterday (6/10/09). It isn't only the anti-aborts, it's also the anti-Jew and anti-Black fanatics. Obama needs to tell Holder to crack down on these insurgents quietly and swiftly.

    Up to now, the standard used in determining culpability of groups such as the anti-abort organizations for attacks and murders is whether, because of their actions or rhetoric, an attack is "iminent." This is the wrong measure. The proper measure is "proximate cause." If the group rhetoric is a proximate cause of some nut ball going postal and murdering a doctor, it should lose all of its money. Ditto for the racist groups.

  • Boats (unverified)
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    Proximate cause eh? We should then look forward to the legal smashing of the Nation of Islam and other extreme Muslim organizations and mosques by the Obama administration?

    Yeah, that'll happen. Abdulhakid Mujahid Mohammed was a "lone wolf." Apparently no one converted him to Islam. He worships nowhere. And no one supplied him with a rifle.

    Convenient isn't it?

  • anon (unverified)
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    Proximate cause eh? We should then look forward to the legal smashing of Operation Rescue and other extreme anti-abortion organizations by the Obama administration?

    Yeah, that'll happen. Scott Roeder was a "lone wolf." Apparently no one incited him to believe anti-abortion bombings and assassinations were justified. He worships nowhere. And no one supplied him with a rifle.

    Convenient isn't it?

  • Tom Vail (unverified)
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    We all want public discourse, most of us want to hear all sides, but the inflammatory nature of the commentary could (and potentially is) causing irreparable damage. How then, do we turn down the rhetoric?

    Karol raises an important topic. Just from the few comments here, it is easy to see how difficult it will be to keep the discourse civil.

    I don't have a solution, but think it would be a start to require (as do most newspapers) that commenters not be allowed to remain anonymous.

    People don't misbehave as much in small communities because everyone knows their name and their family. In big cities where folks can more easily be unknowns, they tend to do things they would not do if watched by friends and neighbors.

    I monitor comments to my blog (http"//ttoes.wordpress.com) and only delete those that use vile language or hate speech. Unfortunately, I am then the sole censor of what is published. I am not sure that would work here but there is a need to remove both the hate and the vile language from this site, like many others.

  • Mujahid (unverified)
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    Why is it so convenient for people like you (blueoregon) to completely ignore the black convert to Islam who intentionally went to a US Army recruiting center and killed one US Army Private and tried to kill many more but wounding one other - all done for the sake of Allah and in the name of Islam - as the Muslim killer himself told the AP?

    Quite amazing that you pick two acts and ignore the more obvious one that the mass media is also ignoring and that Obama even failed to address nationally...it is people like yourself and Obama who intentionally stoke the flames

    There have been many other attacks by Muslims that the mainstream media has completely ignored like the killing of a pregnant woman in Seattle by a Muslim at a Jewish center where scores of others were injured; or the Bronx jihad plot by more black converts to Islam that was just a few weeks ago that you also ignore - all these left wing extremists...why not mention them?

    Bias that's why. Prejudice that's why. Blatant and overt racism that's why. Hiding behind political correctness that's why. Don't be fooled people.

  • dave (unverified)
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    Who said the shooter was a right wing extremist? Seems he wrote essays hating Bush, the government, Jew, Blacks, and everyone else? Because the SLPC say he was? The SLPC needs to put DHS on the hate list too for targeting white males only, no one writes of the Arkansas killing because the shooter was Black and that's a no-no. Left wingers think it's ok for the Blacks to retaliate for gazillions of years of white oppression. Look at 'down with tyranny' or democrats dot com websites, that is left wing hate and extremism that parallels the Holocaust museum shooter ideals.

    Nazis are not right wing boys and girls.

  • (Show?)

    "Nazis are not right wing boys and girls."

    White supremacists are. When the official party of the right wing is an unashamedly racist organization, folks like von Brunn fit right in.

  • Tiny Bird (unverified)
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    It's funny. I wouldn't consider an Islamist extremist to be left-wing. I lump them in with the right-wing Christian extremists. Both groups want to control what I believe and how I live my life. Both groups find excuses to justify murder in the name of God.

    As for left-wing rhetoric during the Bush years, anyone who questioned his authority was labeled by the right as antipatriotic at best and a traitor to our country at worst. People suggested trying him for war crimes or impeaching him. That's a far cry different from what I've been hearing since Obama came into office.

  • Huh?! (unverified)
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    Left wingers think it's ok for the Blacks to retaliate for gazillions of years of white oppression.

    Umm... What?

    Care to cite some evidence of that?

  • Sid (unverified)
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    "But since I'm pretty certain that you were part of that very same rhetoric machine, rather than an opponent of it...your post smacks of blatant hypocrisy." - JJ

    You nailed it JJ.

    The left wing will call for the torture death of bush / chenney, the gang rape of Sarah Palin, and daughters...and that's OK. Or considered comedy.

    I think this post by "BO Intellectual" Karol, is just an attempt at writing about something other than Gay Sex, which are her usual spew point.

    The right may have Foxnews, but that pales in comparison to CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, Hollywood and all the other outlets the Left has. How many times did 0bama appear on the cover of Time magazine - 19 times?

  • Stephen Amy (unverified)
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    I think any definition of "Left wing" or "Right wing" has to be defined in terms of economic philosophy and therefore is either tangential or completely unrelated to the issue of terrorism.

    In other words, is Larry Summers "Left wing" by any definition?

    If the Nazis practiced fascism, then they are right wing according to Mussolini's definition, which is an economic definition.

    The definition of "terrorism" also needs to be questioned (I believe the U.S. military defines it as action by an unofficial group, which is a very seff-serving definition for the U.S. or any other national military to forward).

    My favorite definition comes from author William Blum:

    "A terrorist is a guy with a bomb but no air force."

  • (Show?)

    Sid, You seem to know so much about "Gay Sex." What's your preoccupation with it, eh?

  • Vincent (unverified)
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    Well, if we're to take Kari Chisholm's theories of collective conservative responsibility for random acts of violence seriously (that is to say, as something more than a cheap attempt to use corpses as puppets with which to attack political foes), we must make efforts to see von Brunn's views in the same light. With the revelations that von Brunn may have had the Weekly Standard in mind as a target and his well-documented hatred of "the neocons" (according to Ben Smith at Politico, '[i]n one essay, Von Brunn attacked "JEWS-NEOCONS-BILL O’REILLY,"') it's incumbent upon us to take into account the possibility that progressive rhetoric helped drive this man to murder, isn't it?

    After all, we've had eight years of hysterical -- and often hateful -- "rhetoric" about the crimes of the neocons and the blood they have on their hands due to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, both of which von Brunn was opposed to.

    We have the long-time pastor of the President of the United States publicly blaming "the Jews" and AIPAC for estranging him from his longtime friend ("Them Jews ain't going to let him talk to me. I told my baby daughter that he'll talk to me in five years when he's a lame duck, or in eight years when he's out of office...").

    And what of the loud voices on the "progressive" left who routinely decry the control that the "Zionist Lobby" supposedly has over the American government?

    Is it not out of the question that Von Brunn might have listened to some of that "rhetoric" (to say nothing of some of the "9-11 truth" nonsense that he, along with elements of the far-left, evidently subscribed to) and decided to act upon it? After all, if people who buy into Chisholm's thesis -- that the rhetoric of "the right" is sometimes to blame for acts of violence -- consistency demands that they admit to the possibility of "left-wing rhetoric" provoking the same.

    And if consistency is off the table, the "Blue Oregon" can't really be seen as anything more substantial than a somewhat more professional version of "Free Republic", which itself only really exists to launch crazy rhetorical bombs as "the liberals".

    In any case, if you ask me, it's all nonsense. The idea that "rhetoric" -- from the right or the left -- is is to blame for murder is utterly asinine. It may be comforting to think of the world as being composed of groups of undifferentiated collectives that can be held responsible for the purported crimes of members of their "group", but we all know well enough that it doesn't really work that way.

    As such it's disheartening to see people at Blue Oregon repeatedly deploying the cheap device of "collective guilt" as a way of bludgeoning their political opponents whenever a fresher pile of corpses becomes convenient.

    To claim that "conservative rhetoric" is in any way to blame for this tragedy (or the assassination of Tiller, etc.) is as absurd and childish as blaming DOOM and Marilyn Manson for Columbine or violent rap lyrics for gang violence.

    I know you guys know better, and you ought to feel ashamed of yourselves for trying to capitalize on dead people to score political points. Because that's what this is about. It's not about grieving for the dead, commemorating a tragedy, or re-evaluating the wisdom of some months-old controversial government report.

    It's about Blue Oregon writers making damned sure their readers think of "Republicans" and "conservatives" every time the name "von Brunn" is mentioned.

  • (Show?)

    Boy, this is getting to be a scary thread. First, Karol misrepresents Shepard Smith's comment about viewer's e-mails as representing the views of his colleagues then Carla declares, "The kind of speech coming from O'Reilly and Limbaugh isn't "dissent". It's akin to yelling "fire!" in a crowded theatre."

    Lest we forget, the latter phrase refers to the classic example of speech that is not constitutionally protected.

    These horrific acts--and I include the Muslim wacko who killed the Army recruiter--were the isolated acts of crazy people. They didn't need Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Relly or Jeremiah Wright ("The Jews around Obama won't let him talk to me!") to stir them up.

    Obama and McCain both campaigned on the principle that we can defend our country without sacrificing our values. I'd suggest we can defend ourselves on the same terms.

  • Rusty Shackleford (unverified)
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    The left wing will call for the torture death of bush / chenney, the gang rape of Sarah Palin, and daughters...

    Ok... I see what the problem is. What you've referred to is happening in your IMAGINATION.

    But when the right has websites and blog comment actively calling for the murder of more abortion providers... that's something that's happening in REALITY.

    When James Von Brauun left a note in his car suggesting that his small rampage was the result of a firearms policy that he imagined was going to happen... that's REALITY.

    And if you can't tell the difference between liberals calling for Bush and Cheney to be PUT ON TRIAL... vs Conservatives calling for abortion providers to be SHOT... Well then frankly, that's just disturbing.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    Karol, Carla and all of the rest of you wringing your hands in faux worry...

    Until you also include the religious zeolot who attacked a recruiting station and murdered a member of our military you have no credence.

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    Kurt, Firstly, Carla and I are two different people.

    Second, I will include anyone who does nutso things in the name of God. The guy who shot up the Armed Services Center? F-ing nuts, I don't disagree. All three of these men are wack jobs and are riled up by rhetoric, religious, political or otherwise.

    Blanket attack about whether or not I have credence on this or any other topic is subjective, but thanks for your opinion.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    Karol, I appreciate your answer. I know that you and carla are two separate people. I would agree wholeheartedly with your statement that all three individuals (I refuse to them as "men") are serious wack jobs. Collectively and individually their acts are repugmant and worhty of derision.

  • Chris (unverified)
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    So Carla, when the anti-logging nuts regularly speak and advocate spiking tree's, putting bombs on timber company gate locks and advocate burning up cars, lumber company offices and timber company trucks, that is OK because it doent hurt people?

    Having seen over the years all the warning to fellow woods workers to be careful with any activity around logging infrastructure and equipment, it does cause direct injury to people. As well as risks to the Firefighters and others who have to respond to these incidents and worry about the secondary device potential.

    But by your litmus test that would be OK because its something that someone morally opposes?

    That doesn't stoke up violence?

  • J Loewen (unverified)
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    I for one am glad Smith said what he said on FOX because that is the chosen media of that group of extremists. I think it's high time for both the left and right to tone done the rhetoric

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    We must defend the right of people, of ourselves, to speak freely. But we should never forget that our words can turn a smoldering flame into a raging fire. We have a right to free speech; with that right comes a responsibility that our words do not become the spark that ignites a tragedy.

    The above is the closing paragraph from today's excellent opinion piece in the Medford Mail Tribune. It speaks volumes to all if we will only listen. The link:

    http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090612/OPINION/906120333

    Rachel Maddow's smirking monologues are no less damaging than O'Reilly's diatribe. However it is fun to flip between the two at night.

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