The vitriol has hit the fan. And the fanbase. Toxic rhetoric on both sides of the political spectrum is under scrutiny at last. The cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz satirizes the reaction of Sarah Palin (the self-dubbed Mama Grisly, aka Snow Snooki or Caribou Barbie) to the shooting of 20 people at a Tucson Safeway, including the Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was blasted point blank in the brain and now lies in a coma. Chillingly, given the circumstances, the Arizonan Democrat had earlier drawn attention to the graphic rifle sight aimed at her district on a Palin website and had cautioned against such graphic symbols.
Giffords told MSNBC in March 2010: "We're on Sarah Palin's targeted list. But the thing is the way that she has it depicted has the cross hairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they've got to realize there are consequences to that action." And so it goes.
There has been hasty backspin in which gun sights magically transmogrify into surveyors symbols. Huffpo reports:
SarahPAC staffer Rebecca Mansour, who has been tweeting in defense of her boss since the tragedy took place, is stating that the crosshairs were never intended to be gun sights. (Way to refudiate, Becky!)
"We never ever, ever intended it to be gun sights," she said in an interview with talk radio host Tammy Bruce Saturday. "It was simply crosshairs like you'd see on maps." Bruce suggested that they could, in fact, be seen as "surveyor's symbols." Mansour added that "it never occurred to us that anybody would consider it violent" and called any attempts to politicize the Arizona tragedy "repulsive." The suggestion that the symbols were related to guns seemed to come, however, from Palin herself. On March 23, Palin tweeted to her supporters a note about the aforementioned Facebook message, writing, "Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: 'Don't Retreat, Instead - RELOAD!' Pls see my Facebook page." And as Politico's Jonathan Martin points out, in November Palin boasted about defeating 18 of the 20 members on her "bullseye" list.
On the left, Keith Olbermann urges pols and pundits, hacks and flacks to "recognize the insidiousness of violent imagery."
(tip of the sombrero to Teresa Puente for the link to the cartoon.)