Giffords Anniversary: It’s Gotten Worse Since Then

On this day in 2011, Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot and seriously injured by a crazed gunman.  As the anniversary that kicked off one of the most vicious media smear campaigns in recent media history, probably unrivaled until 2016 when Donald Trump became “literally Hitler,” it’s worth looking back and just how corrupt the media can be.

The day following the assassination attempt I wrote a post about the absolute insanity that erupted from the left/main stream media in the wake of that shooting.  I went back to read it to see if, 6 years later, it still holds up.  It does.  Just a brief excerpt:

“With the Tucson shooting of Arizona Representative Gabrielle  Giffords, the mainstream media  and the leftie blogosphere wasted no time in drawing conclusions and blame for the shooting:  The Tea Party, Sarah Palin (of course!) and the climate of heated political rhetoric.  Of course, any examples used are borrowed strictly from the right.  Although I heard comparisons to Timothy McVeigh, for a bombing that occurred in 1995, I’ve yet to hear mention of the Discovery channel gunman, who actually credited a left political agenda to his rampage; when that occurred only last September.

But… that’s the nature of our biased news environment.  It’s so ubiquitous that most viewers wouldn’t even question that Tea Party inspired heated political rhetoric is at root of this shooting.  Why should they?  Every Sunday morning news show I watched today asked that same question.  Any soul searching required will be requested of the right, not the left.  Their overheated political rhetoric is just fine.  Of course the new media and the internet make that more difficult to pull off.   Now, there are multiple voices.  People aren’t limited to what the big three networks think are the right questions, and what they think of as newsworthy. 

And the Democrats have been fairly explicit on where they want to put the blame for this shooting:

One veteran Democratic operative, who blames overheated rhetoric for the shooting, said President Barack Obama should carefully but forcefully do what his predecessor did.

 “They need to deftly pin this on the tea partiers,” said the Democrat. “Just like the Clinton White House deftly pinned the Oklahoma City bombing on the militia and anti-government people.””

Of course the whole thing got started off by Paul Krugman’s infamous post at The New York Times:

“A Democratic Congresswoman has been shot in the head; another dozen were also shot.

We don’t have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was. She’s been the target of violence before. And for those wondering why a Blue Dog Democrat, the kind Republicans might be able to work with, might be a target, the answer is that she’s a Democrat who survived what was otherwise a GOP sweep in Arizona, precisely because the Republicans nominated a Tea Party activist. (Her father says that “the whole Tea Party” was her enemy.) And yes, she was on Sarah Palin’s infamous “crosshairs” list.

Just yesterday, Ezra Klein remarked that opposition to health reform was getting scary. Actually, it’s been scary for quite a while, in a way that already reminded many of us of the climate that preceded the Oklahoma City bombing.”

At the time that post and all the subsequent reaction seemed unprecedented, but now of course, particularly after the past election season and current soft coup attempts by the media, it seems business as usual.  We have a new phrase to describe the Jared Loughner-Sarah Palin connection: Fake News.

It was an issue of great personal eye opening disappointment for me as well.  As a long time science fiction fan, I grew up reading the likes of Robert Heinlein, Poul Anderson, Larry Niven, and Jerry Pournelle.  They were generally right leaning libertarian types, with a lot of rugged individualism thrown into their stories, although their stories were nonpolitical. I read of course left leaning science fiction writers as well, such as Isaac Asimov, Kurt Vonnegut, Kim Stanley Robinson, Joe Haldeman, and Fredrick Pohl. These guys told great stories and didn’t let their personal politics get in the way of that.  So I just didn’t expect the world of science fiction to so reflect the utter debasing of our political discourse.  I expected it to be above that.

Well it turns out it isn’t.  Or it least these days it isn’t.  I used to be a regular reader of SF author John Scalzi’s website Whatever.  At the time, I thought it would be fun to be on a site with other science fiction fans, but the Giffords shooting quickly disabused me of that.  The comments from Scalzi on the shooting can best be described as Krugman lite.  In other words: despicable.  I can understand Krugman being Krugman, but I honestly and naively expected Science Fiction writers to be better than that.

They’re not.

Now days Scalzi gets a lot of mockery from the Alt Right on their sites.  It’s richly deserved.  And Scalzi, Krugman, and the media in general have only gotten worse.  So far, there is no bottom.

A Reckoning

When it comes to anti white racism, I admit I’ve been pretty tolerant of it.  Mostly because anti white racism can be pretty funny so it’s hard to take seriously.  As anyone who has perused Salon, the website for white people who hate white people; can tell you, it’s sometimes hard not to get a good laugh out of it.  It’s hard to remember now, but at one time Salon used to be a legitimate and respectable magazine. But with stories like, White Men Must be Stopped, White Guys are Killing Us, America’s Angriest White Men, GOP base is still white and aging, and Time to Profile White Men; even the parody twitter account “Salon.com” has had difficulty topping the real articles and has often resorted to re-tweeting Salon’s real tweets.

Of course when real journalists do it, it’s slightly less funny, such as Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank, whose article, On a Welcome End to American Whiteness, cheers for the day of demographic apocalypse for white people in America.  Milbank sees the declining white population as an opportunity to redo American culture, to get rid of an “excess of individualism, short-term thinking and prioritizing of rights over duties.

Yeah, we wouldn’t want too many rights gumming up the works.

So I suppose I do fundamentally view a major difference between the comic anti white hatred of Salon, ranting Black Nationalists on Youtube, or various SJW’s on college campuses, and legitimate journalists positing their anti white racism in the public sphere without any backlash at all.

anand-giridharadas

That’s why I found myself someone shocked by the comments of New York Times columnist Anand Giridharadas on Morning Joe this week. Giridharadas is one of those semi regular guests to the set of the MSNBC show that doesn’t, to my view, seem to offer anything particularly compelling in the way of opinion other than the mouthing of whatever the latest conventional wisdom is.  In the case of Giridharadas he also brings some sort of incomprehensible thing going on with his hair.  It’s like he’s stacked a couple of bird’s nests up there.  I guess that’s his gimmick.

So check out the video at this link of Giridharadas.

Or I’ll just transcribe the relevant comments.  When co-host and white male Willie Geist asked Giridharadas a question about what happens to the frustrations of the people who supported Trump post election, he responded thusly:

“I don’t want to wait for a leader to deal with this energy because I think how badly we went when we don’t deal with each other as human beings. I think every institution needs to do this. I would say to your point, this needs to be a two-way reconciliation, and here’s my suggestion for kind of each side. I think the elites we’re talking about who relate to understanding this pain, who didn’t see the roots of Trump, need to see it–need to re-engage with What American needs to understand what’s doing on.

I think the people who went that way and that Trump movement and perhaps supported things about women they don’t actually support or supported things about bashing Muslims that they don’t in their deepest of hearts support, need to think about the fact that globalization and all of that was hard on everybody. It wasn’t just hard on White guys. For some reason, women lost their jobs in globalization, Black and Brown people lost their jobs in globalization, and managed not to lash out. I think there needs to be a reckoning, frankly, with white manhood in this country.”

Geist’s reply?  “Interesting.”

Putting aside the idea that if globalization is so hard on everyone, why are we doing it, I thought the real take away was, I realized that these guys, the establishment elite types like Milbank and Giridharadas were serious.  They really do regard whites as some sort of problem, like an atavistic hold over that’s harshing everyone’s buzz.  It’s pretty blatantly racist, but it’s not a racism that anyone particularly cares about.

I’ve been writing about the increase in tribalism and identity politics for years, but it looks like it’s going for a new level.  Nothing good will come out of this of course, but now it’s not just that nothing good will come out of this in a general way, but now I feel like I’m being targeted personally.  Unfortunately Joe Scarborough recognized the rabbit hole Giridharadas was going down and sidetracked the conversation into one of “reconciliation,” I would have much rather heard Giridharadas elaborate on his point and find out just what exactly he had in mind with his reckoning “with white manhood.”

Although I think I’ll eventually find out.