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…