13 Jan 2011

Jon Stewart, David Brooks and Jonathon Chait: Voices of Reason on the Arizona Shooting

A testament to John Stewart’s popularity… much of it must not only be because he is highly entertaining, but also because his analysis is as balanced as you can find anywhere at times. Much like posts I’ve written over the last few days, Stewart avoided attacking those who he clearly thinks are damaging forces in our politics, and makes it clear that there is in no way evidence that any of even the most hyperbolic talking heads are responsible for the acts of one very mentally disturbed man.

He truly hit the nail on the head. Worth the watch:

(apologies: the video has since been taken down)

David Brooks’ op-ed in the The New York Times is another example of some of the best commentary on the shooting. His column focuses the way many in the media chose to focus on the potential political angle, while ignoring the overwhelming evidence of mental illness:

Other themes from Loughner’s life fit the rampage-killer profile. He saw himself in world historical terms. He appeared to have a poor sense of his own illness (part of a condition known as anosognosia). He had increasingly frequent run-ins with the police. In short, the evidence before us suggests that Loughner was locked in a world far removed from politics as we normally understand it.

Yet the early coverage and commentary of the Tucson massacre suppressed this evidence. The coverage and commentary shifted to an entirely different explanation: Loughner unleashed his rampage because he was incited by the violent rhetoric of the Tea Party, the anti-immigrant movement and Sarah Palin.

Brooks conveniently left out the part where many on the right were trying to paint Loughner as a left winger, but admittedly that did get less attention. He’s right in pointing out the fetish the media has with beating up Palin, and that it seems to have clouded their judgement in some cases, and moved their attention to the more accurate story in more cases.

Lastly, Jonathon Chait, senior editor as moderate liberal magazine The New Republic, has just as much of a penchant of going after Palin, but let reason prevail:

What’s happening is that Palin has come to represent unhinged grassroots conservatism, and people in the media immediately (and incorrectly) associated Loughner with the far right. Moreover, the Republican establishment understands her potential candidacy as a liability and is looking to snuff it out. So you have this weird moment where Palin is on trial for something she has no connection with at all.

These are all people who, for different reasons, go after Palin regularly. They could have piled on with so many others, but did not lose their heads in the hate storm that followed the very natural outpouring of emotional in reaction to the shooting.

Would that this were more of the norm…

Author Details
After a few years of blogging on other sites, Solomon launched ‘Rise of the Center’ – the precursor to Uniters.org, leading to a number of interviews and freelance opportunities, most notably covering the 2012 election cycle on WNYC.org – the website for the largest NPR station in the country, in New York City – and reported from the floor of the 2012 Democratic & Republican National Conventions. After a hiatus from politics, the horrific circus of the 2016 election, and more generally increasing extremism and corruption, brought him back to this project.
×
After a few years of blogging on other sites, Solomon launched ‘Rise of the Center’ – the precursor to Uniters.org, leading to a number of interviews and freelance opportunities, most notably covering the 2012 election cycle on WNYC.org – the website for the largest NPR station in the country, in New York City – and reported from the floor of the 2012 Democratic & Republican National Conventions. After a hiatus from politics, the horrific circus of the 2016 election, and more generally increasing extremism and corruption, brought him back to this project.
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

8 thoughts on “Jon Stewart, David Brooks and Jonathon Chait: Voices of Reason on the Arizona Shooting”

  1. That her name has come up at all in the context of the shooting is appalling. She wasn't there, she hasn't said much of anything about Giffords, and she certainly doesn't believe in using actual violence to achieve political ends. Hell, her rhetoric is tame compared to some of what we heard from others on the campaign trail. But it was a mistake for her to be baited into perpetuating a discussion that shouldn't be taking place. Thin skin has always been a problem for her and it doesn't appear to have improved.

    A personal friend of mine has a history of making outlandish political claims, i.e. that 9/11 was an inside job or that swine flu was engineered in a lab to make Big Pharma richer. He also has a history of manic depression and has been known to get even more paranoid when off his meds. If deadly weapons were available to him, I would be worried about him going out to shoot something up. Has anyone closely studied the links between this psychological problems and politics? Because in my experience, it seems completely removed from anything anyone says in the mainstream.

    1. Yeah… it cheapens the attacks on her, and gives her more cred to those on her side, to be attacked for such stupid reasons that are clearly not her fault. There are pleeeeenty of things she deserves to be attacked for… generally it would be better if people just paid less attention to her. I try not to post anything here that is specifically about her, but its tough not to use her as an example when talking about extremism on the right sometimes.

  2. I saw John Stewart making fun of Palin for defending herself. So he gets docked 10 paragon of virtue points.

    Anyone else see the irony in complaining that Palin is making this about her, when so many folks spent all weekend trying their best to make it about her?

    I’ve gotten over “attacking her for things she deserves to be attacked for.” It’s a pointless exercise. For one, she’s cast herself as THE conservative cheerleader, and is laughing all the way to the bank. Why feed that beast?

    For another, she’s not going to run. She’s just playing “will she, won’t she” to extend beneficial attention for as long as possible. She’ll find a plausible pretense for staying out when the time comes. Bet on it.

    In my opinion, the best way get past the “all about Palin” era is to avoid saying anything at all about her when the subject comes up except for maybe “She seems like a nice enough woman, but I just don’t feel she’s quite up to being the President. And you can see that whether you’re a liberal, a conservative, or something else.”

    1. Palin is good as a cheerleader but not as a leader. Her response video after the shootings clearly shoe a woman who only thinks to defend herself instead of rising above the occasion to come up with a vision for America. Palin clearly offers no leadership at all and the USA needs a commanding leader, now more than ever.

  3. I am going to piss people off with reality here but sorry. Since 9/11 we have had over 140,000 murders in the US and no one gives a shit. Since Jan 1 there have been almost 600. Why are the ones in Arizona so special? They aren’t! Yet we only care about these 6?

    I am not saying no one cares. But as a nation? No. No one freaking cares and it is a bunch of bullshit. There will be another 14,000 murders this year before the clock strikes 2012 and you are going to hear barely a peep out of anyone. And 11,000 to 12,000 will be from guns and we won’t hear a peep on Gun Control.

    I love Jon Stewart but he fucked up this time missing a huge opportunity to have a real discussion vs focusing on Politics and what happened in Tucson.

    1. Boy are you out in left field on this or what?

       

      What rock are you living under if you don’t think there is a peep about gun control?

      The way I like to say it is, I’m for gun rights, but not machine gun rights, and the right to bear arms is something that people who have a history of being a danger to others should lose.

      This guy clearly shouldn’t have been able to purchase a gun, with his history of mental illness… and this has been said all over the place.

      This talk has been all over the news… you must either be selectively listening, or only listen to some fringe media to have missed it.

      Unlike hyper partisans, who often look for a way to use tragedy to the advantage of their views (which you illustrate nicely by saying Stewart missed an opportunity to use this tragedy), Stewart focused on the core of it… that a crazy person committed a horrendous act.

      And this is noteworthy because she is a respected public figure, and because there were so many victims. Either one would have garnered a ton of attention, but put both together and that obviously explains why this is such big news.

Leave a Reply