MSNBC Marches Ahead With Its Own Set of Facts

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Here’s a graphic MSNBC was using yesterday in its coverage of the Tucson shootings:

It’s a powerful image. I saw it at the gym on a number of muted televisions, and it stuck with me.

It’s also complete bullshit. There is zero evidence that political rhetoric had any influence on Jared Loughner. In fact, there’s increasing evidence that he had no interest in politics at all.  So does the truth simply not matter at MSNBC?

This is just an egregious assault on reality. Scarier: It seems to be working. Contrast the poll in that link to this one.

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85 Responses to “MSNBC Marches Ahead With Its Own Set of Facts”

  1. #1 |  Mike T | 

    @Joey Maloney

    Words do matter, so why don’t you focus on his primary media interests: Marx and Nietzsche? His friends called him a nihilist in every sense of the word. Did you ever think it was maybe Nietzsche, not Beck, that got to him?

  2. #2 |  ‘Somebody Has to Stand Up’ : The Other McCain | 

    […] now made a graphic out of its counterfactual guilt-by-association, prompting Radley Balko to say:It’s a powerful image. . . . It’s also complete bullsh*t.And when are people going to start talking about the influence of Zeitgeist on Tucson shooter Jared […]

  3. #3 |  nwerner | 

    From what I’ve read, the guy was influenced by the Alex Jones crowd and the film Zeitgeist. Still words, but not ones that fit into an easy left-right political framework.

    Just curious, if it turns out that he was influenced by them and it’s not really a left/right issue, where does this debate go then? It’s been propelled thus far by a left-right dynamic but it seems possible that could dissolve and offer a common enemy upon which both sides could focus.

  4. #4 |  Lance | 

    Does anybody but political hacks watch MSNBC anyway?

  5. #5 |  Baba o'reilly | 

    The unhinged and paranoid Bush hate of the last decade and Palin hate from the last two years makes any rhetoric coming from the Right look like mild constructive criticism.
    There is no hate to compare with the hate of the Left. It’s the hate that never sleeps.

  6. #6 |  M Shortreed | 

    The President said “If the Republicans bring a knife, we’ll bring a gun”.
    The was a Republican Ninth Circuit judge assassinated at the same time. Why hasn’t the media opined that Obama’s rhetoric caused this murder?
    Oh right, he’s a Democrat.

  7. #7 |  M Shortreed | 

    Witless Chum #33 said:
    “And, yes, rightwingers have been committing a lot more political violence than leftwingers of late.”

    Please link to one shred of evidence for this outrageous statement.

  8. #8 |  LogicalUS | 

    “…rightwingers have been committing a lot more political violence than leftwingers of late.”

    That of course is a lie not backup by any data or any studies.

    Added to that is that every major assassination attempt in the last 50 years has been committed by a Leftist of some sort followed by your usual buddies of the Left attempting to blame conservatives or guns for the fact that one of their fellow nuts went postal. Robert Kennedy just yesterday tried to imply that it was right wing hatred which lead to to the death of his uncle, JFK, and this is nearly 50 years after we KNOW that it was a commie-loving, “marxist freedom fighter” who hated Kennedy for his treatment of Castro. This father, Robert, was killed by a Palistinian who lashed out at Robert for his treatment of Palis.

    In the last two elections nearly two dozen different Leftist perps have been convicted of violence against Republican campaign offices.

    The problem for Leftist is they simply can not accept that Americans once again have rejected their failed and unhealthy ideas, so they try to marginalize the Tea Parties EVEN THOUGH the Tea Party just sent 85 Democrats packing home for good. It will not work because you are the shrinking minority and you can not vilianize the majority of Americans, who oppose your leaders and ideas. This isn’t the USSR and the gulags are not functioning, yet.

  9. #9 |  Radley Balko | 

    Mark Levin has challenged the premium MSNBC gas bag, Chris Matthews to put up or shut up.

    I have no love for Matthews, but Mark Levin is one of the most ridiculous people in politics right now.

  10. #10 |  SDN | 

    Witless Chum: That is a lie, and you are a liar.

  11. #11 |  LogicalUS | 

    And to follow up on the idiot statement about right-wing violence.

    Good Lord, a entire group from DU from across the nation were found to have come to Republican convention in Minneapolis to wreah havoc on the representatives. They THREW CEMENT BLOCKS off the overpasses at buses going to and from the convention. They also roamed the downtown area harassing and intimidating people who they thought might just be Republicans.

    The Leftist at CS-Davis just last year rioted and closed down the student hall because of a planned speech by conservatives on campus.

    So spare us your lies and smears about “right wingers”.

  12. #12 |  LogicalUS | 

    “I have no love for Matthews, but Mark Levin is one of the most ridiculous people in politics right now.”

    Right, when you have people like Olbermann, Maddow, Shultz, ODonnell, and Krugman, Levin is one of the most ridiculous?

    Good lord, Levin would be way, way down the list behind such ill-informed nuts.

  13. #13 |  jcobble | 

    Radley, telling what you find offensive, by your editing. Quite a few comments on here I find offensive, but apparently, my rather mild comments do not pass muster. I will now depart not to return.

  14. #14 |  “MSNBC Marches Ahead With Its Own Set of Facts” | 

    […] cause of the Tucson murder spree — and will be the cause of future violence, as well. Radley Balko: It’s a powerful image. I saw it at the gym on a number of muted televisions, and it stuck with […]

  15. #15 |  Dakota | 

    @27 Bill–Since the Karma buttons are gone let me give you a full here here.

    It really doesn’t surprise me in the least that media/politicians think that “they” had something to do with this. Of course they had something to do with this shooting. They have something to do with everything. And if you heed their advice you can help them solve every problem! I mean surely if they usher in a new era of calm discussion no one will ever go on a shooting spree at a political even again.

    It’s the height of conceit, and why I don’t vote and try to limit my media intake.

  16. #16 |  Stogie | 

    Radley Balko is a Democrat troll, trying hard (and failing) to cover the asses of the Democrat Smear Machine that shot itself in the foot this week.

    Tell me, Balko, if the principles and policies of the Democratic Party are so wonderful, why does it have to resort to a program of hateful smears, lies and character assassination?

  17. #17 |  Billy Beck | 

    Paula @ #15, this one’s for you:

    “So by saying you’re in favor of magazines that hold no more than X rounds, you’re publicly stating that it’s only X+1 bodies that bother you. If that’s not what you mean to say, then come out and state your real intentions.

    Or are you chicken?”

    Stop being dumb.

  18. #18 |  Abiss | 

    #59 Hahahaha Radley


  19. #19 |  albatross | 

    I think the Slactivist post was mostly derived from Connor Friesdorf’s (IMO much better post).

  20. #20 |  Mattocracy | 

    @#66 | Stogie |

    What the fuck are you talking about?

  21. #21 |  Jay | 

    This event Nothing to do with the political “Right”. Period.

    NPR this morning talked about a Secret Service study on assassinations. The findings based on 92 different events, show that the assassins (or attempted) where “Nobodys” looking to become “Somebody”. i.e. no politics involved even though they wanted to shoot a politician.

    Listen here:

  22. #22 |  Must Reads for January 14 | NetRight Daily | 

    […] MSNBC marches ahead with its own set of facts […]

  23. #23 |  Paula | 

    Billy Beck, Thanks for calling me a chicken and for calling me dumb! Excellent retort. I admit it. I am a dumb chicken, you win. Feel better?

    I believe that there is a public safety question that presents itself when we talk about guns. When I stop and think about the mass murders in recent years, I cannot help but observe that they were committed using automatic guns with extended magazines. Infact in the Tucson tragedy, the reason more people didn’t die was that he was subdued when he had to reload another 30+ round mag. In Omaha’s 2007 tragedy, the shooter’s gun jammed. In both instances, the killer was only stopped by the gun stopping. I shutter to think about how many more people could have died.

    I honestly don’t believe that we, as a society, can keep guns from people that intend to kill people. But we should reflect on ways that we can minimize the deaths of innocent people.

    So I am not a chicken or dumb, I think that ones right to pursue life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness should not be taken so carelessly.

  24. #24 |  M. Steve | 

    @Paula: If the gunman had used a 10-round clip instead of an extended magazine, and only killed 3 people, and wounded another 4, would you have called for banning 10-round clips? Where do you draw the line on the number of lethal projectiles and potential victims allowed in a single magazine?

    @The Field: Does anyone have access to statistics on how often these types of “single gunman, multiple targets/shooting into a crowd” crimes occur? I pay somewhat close attention to the news, and I honestly can’t remember them happening more than a couple times a year. Of course, any time anything like this happens, it’s a tragedy, but these are exceedingly rare events, like terrorist attacks on US soil. The calls for new and sweeping legislation because of very rare and unpredictable events are misguided at best, cynical at middling, and tyrannical at worst.

    We have statistical models for a reason, people. If you’re an average American, you probably aren’t going to die from a crazed gunman’s bullet. You’re probably going to die of heart disease or cancer.

  25. #25 |  MSNBC tragically making stuff up for sensationalism and ratings! – Hammer of Truth | 

    […] take long for the cable news station that asks its viewers to LEAN FORWARD (into the idiot box) got caught outright fabricating news in its sensationalist graphics to try to make themselves oh so cutting edge in the Tucson affair: […]

  26. #26 |  Chris Matthews: What’s with these crackers wanting to see Obama’s birth certificate? « Hot Air | 

    […] and whose network is running graphics of Loughner’s insane mugshot alongside the tagline “Power of Words.” For cripes sake, they won’t even show Republican presidents in the promos they’ve cut […]

  27. #27 |  c andrew | 

    Because disarming the populace and leaving all the weaponry in the hands of the politically connected has worked so well in protecting the innocent citizen in the past.

    I would imagine that the Jim Crow South probably had a lower death rate than, say, modern California. But then, I can “Imagine” anything.

    And speaking of “Imagine” I suppose the fact that the Khmer Rouge had a monopoly on guns had nothing to do with the clean ethnic sweep that they made?

  28. #28 |  NANCY | 

    @#2 Yes, the crazy person did shoot a politician and 18 others who were not politicians!

  29. #29 |  TC | 

    The moon is Full and the bats are flying!

    Full fledged MoonBattery is upon us!

    But alas, Keep yer pecker up Morassy; The sun will shine again!

    The moonbats will return to the belfry.

  30. #30 |  TC |,0,7041106.story

    Somehow this slipped passed the editors of the LA Times.

  31. #31 |  Brenda | 

    Word don’t matter to a person suffering from untreated schizophrenia. All they hear is “god” talking to me. They are not of this world or reality.

  32. #32 |  william Lenneman | 

    “The guy is 22 and he voted. That’s rather unusual in this country. He attended a Gifford Q and A, and asked a question. Seems rather political no?
    Christ man he shot a politician at a political event.
    Your statement that he had no interest in politics is as fact free as you claim MSNBC’ assertions are?

    Actually he is registered as an independent and he didn’t even bother to vote in the last election, so no he’s not into conventional politics.

    He is however into left wing conspiratorial politcs, he was apparently a big fan of the conspiracy film “Zeitgeist”.

    I think it’s your assertions that might be fact free.

    So let’s see… Words or political ideas had no causal effect in the shooting, but left wing conspiratorial politics and a conspiracy film had a causal effect in the shooting. Do I have that right?
    I don’t believe that Palin Beck et al can be implicated in the shooting, but insisting that the political environment and the whack jobs in the conservative political entertainment business have no effect on any of us is just idiotic. Your assertion seems to turn on the supposition the right wing rhetoric has no effect whereas left wing conspiratorial rhetoric does. This is not clear thinking. I think it’s a pretty good example of “Magical Thinking”; something that seems to have a pretty strong grip on a lot of conservatives and libertarians these days.

  33. #33 |  Mad Monica | 

    What Ifind particularly funny about all this is, for eight years those of us who supported Bush listened to some of the nastiest, most vile, rude, repulsive and just plain vicious rhetoric from folks on the left. They let the genie out of the bottle, so to speak. When the right began to fight back a bit, and I do mean “a bit.” Because we have yet to see folks fantasizing on the airwaves about the deaths of leftie leaders and folks in office as we did during the Bush years and as we do now with Sarah Palin. NOW the left is concerned over “dangerous” rhetoric and overheated discourse.

    Sure didn’t bother them when it was directed toward Bush. And it sure doesn’t bother them now when it’s directed at Sarah Palin. And her CHILDREN.

    This whole situation just goes in the column of hypocritical lefty double standards. You’d think they’d grow up a little and realize that eventually it is going to harm their cause.

    As for “magical thinking” and and unclear thinking, I would suggest you take yet another look at just how long it took those on the left who are supposed to be reporting FACTS rather than their own opinion or assertions to start putting the “the shooter was a righty and mighta gotten his ideas from that evil Palin/Rush/Hannity gang.” Because if you’re honest with yourself and do a little lookin’ you’ll see that the reports from news media tying this thing to the rhetoric that scares you oh so much began before law enforcement even had a chance to clear the scene and get all the wounded to the hospital. Now, if a political pundit or blogger is spewing lies, that, technically falls under the free speech rules that should apply to all (even though many on the left do not agree), therefore, their assertions that the shooter must be tied to Palin/Hannity/Limbaugh and/or Beck can slide under the bar. But the folks who claim to be news reporters and journalists… those folks ought to be out on their biased behinds lookin’ for work. Because during MY time as a reporter, the things said, insinuated and asserted before anyone even knew if Rep. Giffords was alive or dead would have gotten me and my co-writers fired on the SPOT had we put them out as news. But then I guess things are a little different on the local level than they are nationwide, aren’t they?

    I guarantee you there was not a lick of “clear thinking” going on at the time. Unless it was of the sort that goes with the ol’ never let a crisis go to waste mantra.

  34. #34 |  Mad Monica | 

    Oh..and before youmake some snide comment aboutmy writing not being up to par and any spelling problems, etc., let me save you some embarrassment. I have Parkinson’s Disease and other medical issues which make it VERY difficult for me to type and put words together properly which is why I no longer work as a reporter. So pick apart my opinion, but keep yer snotty comments regarding the mechanics of said opinion to yourselves.

  35. #35 |  Julian | 

    Every single rant he’s ever wrote is about how the government is controlling, mistreating, and “brainwashing” people. There’s no evidence that any specific rhetoric pushed him to this, though much of what he writes has a distinctly paleocon air to it, but non-political he ain’t.