Preparing for When Someone Shoots at Obama
A new book by Newsmax Chief Washington Correspondent Ronald Kessler features startling revelations about current and former U.S. presidents, including Barack Obama.Photos from Tea Parties in Modesto .
"In the President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes With Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect," released Tuesday, discloses that threats against the president have increased dramatically — by a staggering 400 percent since Obama entered the White House.
I'm quoting NewsMax, a rightwing news source so I can say, "Even the very conservative publication NewsMax admits the increase in threats to President Obama have increased 400 percent over previous Presidents."
I've been thinking about how to organize our media response for the next violent attack directed at one of our political leaders. Sadly nobody is doing this, and someone should, because the right wing has a strategy after every shooting. What is it?
After ever shooting the right wing media people get on the air and say, "Let's not politicize this!" (as they politicize it).
Then they scream, "The Gun Grabbers are going to try and take our guns!"
They will be quick to point out that all their violent rhetoric directed toward liberals and Democrats means nothing and liberals said the exact same thing about Bush! They will pretend that showing up with a weapon at a Presidential appearance is exactly the same as wearing a t-shirt against the war. They will say, "I don't know what Nancy Pelosi is talking about! Swastikas? At the tea parties?" They will just deny the reality of what they said and work to avoid any responsibility.
And mostly the media will buy it. As my friend David Neiwert from Crooks and Liars and Orcinus said in his excellent essay:
And what we know from experience about volatile, unstable actors like them is that they can be readily induced into violent action by hateful rhetoric that demonizes and dehumanizes other people. And thanks to human nature and those same freedoms, we will certainly always have fearmongering demagogues among us. But the purveyors of such profoundly irresponsible rhetoric need to be called on it -- especially when they hold the nation's media megaphones.
Then last Friday Brian Sussman and "Officer Vic" on KSFO were mocking Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi when she got choked up about violent rhetoric. She said:
"We are a free country, and this balance between freedom and safety is one that we have to carefully balance," Pelosi began. Then out of nowhere, startling the reporters gathered at her weekly press conference, she almost instantly teared up as she recalled the unnamed events long ago in San Francisco.
"I saw this, myself, in the late '70s in San Francisco," she said. This kind of rhetoric was very frightening, and it created a climate in which violence took place."
I told Greg Sargent at the Washington Post for me it's not a question of if, but when someone gets off a shot at the President or a high ranking political figure. And at that point the right wing media in all its forms will do what they always do, pretend that they have nothing to do with it. But they will always bear the moral and ethical culpability involved in their irresponsible speech.