Gee, I seem to recall when violent rhetoric was the bane of political rhetoric, at least when the Left was shrieking about the latent, seething violence of Tea Party activists and Sarah Palin’s campaign maps. The media did a dog-pile on the Right when a lunatic in Tucson shot Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, spending the better part of a week scrutinizing Palin’s utterances and campaign artwork when the shooter’s schizophrenia was known well enough within hours of the massacre that killed six and wounded 14. Now one of Giffords’ Democratic caucus colleagues tells a union crowd that they need to go out and “get bloody,” while pointing out Tea Party counterprotesters across the street:
A Democratic Congressman from Massachusetts is raising the stakes in the nation’s fight over the future of public employee unions, saying emails aren’t enough to show support and that it is time to “get a little bloody.”
“I’m proud to be here with people who understand that it’s more than just sending an email to get you going. Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary,” Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Ma.) told a crowd in Boston on Tuesday rallying in solidarity for Wisconsin union members. …
This is not Capuano’s first brush with violent rhetoric. Last month Capuano said, “Politicians, I think are too bland today. I don’t know what they believe in. Nothing wrong with throwing a coffee cup at someone if you’re doing it for human rights.”
But don’t worry. The national media will be certain to highlight Capuano’s remarks and screech about civility in politics, right? Right? Don’t hold your breath, says the Media Research Center:
Last March, as thousands protested on Capitol Hill in the days before the passage of ObamaCare, CBS’s Nancy Cordes slammed it as “a weekend filled with incivility,” while World News anchor Diane Sawyer painted the Tea Party as a violent gang, with “protesters roaming Washington, some of them increasingly emotional, yelling slurs and epithets.” In August 2009, ABC anchor Charles Gibson complainedhow “protesters brought pictures of President Obama with a Hitler-style mustache to a town hall meeting,” failing to mention that the signs were produced by Lyndon LaRouche’s wacky fringe movement, not the Tea Party or conservatives.
Over the past several days, the liberal demonstrations in Wisconsin (bolstered by the national Democratic Party and President Obama’s Organizing for America group) have included signs just as inflammatory as the ones that bothered the networks during the health care debate, including several showing Governor Scott Walker as Adolph Hitler. Others have likened Walker to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin (“Scott Stalin”) and recently deposed Egyptian autocrat Hosni Mubarak (“Walker = Mubarak”).
Another protest sign drew a cross-hairs over a picture of Governor Walker’s head, with the caption “Don’t Retreat, Reload; Repeal Walker” — an obvious parallel to a Facebook map posted by Sarah Palin last year, although that much-criticized graphic placed the target sights on maps of congressional districts, not any politician’s face.
Yet none of these signs in the hands of liberal protesters have drawn the slightest complaint from network journalists. MRC analysts examined all 53 ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news stories, segments and anchor briefs on the Wisconsin protests from Thursday, February 17 (when they first drew major national coverage) through Monday, February 21. While eight of the 53 stories (15%) visually displayed one or more of the signs described above, none elicited a single remark from the network correspondents.
Instead, network journalists actually suggested the “Walker = Mubarak” theme of some of the more inflammatory signs. On Sunday’s This Week, for example, ABC’s Christiane Amanpour linked Wisconsin to the uprisings against oppressive dictatorships: “Populist frustration is boiling over this week, as we’ve said, not just in the Middle East, but in the middle of this country as well.” So did NBC’s Brian Williams on Friday’s Nightly News: “From the Mideast to the American Midwest tonight, people are rising up. Citizens’ uprisings are changing the world.” NBC’s on-screen caption: “The Uprising at Home.”
Unions and the politicians in their pockets using violent rhetoric, and the national media blaming the Right for violence. It’s business as usual The New Civility.
Update: Links and video are down at the moment; will keep trying to see when they’ll be back up.
Update II: A Republican deputy AG in Wisconsin tweeted on February 19th that security forces should use “live ammunition” to clear the capital. His boss promised to review the matter and deal with it accordingly, calling it “unacceptable.” Now, which of these statements using violent rhetoric will be more likely to make the evening news tonight? And when will Nancy Pelosi do what Wisconsin AG Bryan Corbin has started to do?