Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Did Inflammatory Rhetoric on the Right Inspire the Colorado Planned Parenthood Attack (and Others)?

Carly lied, people died.

(Update. Katha Pollitt of The Nation weighs in at the NYTimes.)

I've taken flak from a few people for suggesting inflammatory statements by the GOP candidates, notably Carly Fiorina, and GOP voices in Congress played a key role in creating the climate in which attacks have been unleashed on Planned Parenthood clinics around the country, most notably the recent one in Colorado Springs, which took the lives of three people while wounding nine others.

I'm not alone. There's a growing consensus.

Atrios of Eschaton made the connection.

Dana Milbank of the WaPo made the connection.

The Center for American Progress made the connection.

The Colorado Springs Police Department and NBC report that the suspect, Robert Lewis Dear, said "no more baby parts."

CNN echoed the report.

Washingtion Times carries news that Former Texas senator and gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis has made the connection.

Mild-mannered Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders has made the connection.

Even GOP candidate Ted Cruz has made the connection. Otherwise, why would he make such a preposterous suggestion as this?
When a reporter asked him at an Iowa campaign stop Sunday evening about suspect Robert Lewis Dear saying he was motivated by “no more baby parts,” Cruz countered that he’s also been reported to be a “transgendered [sic] leftist activist.”
Cruz explained, “We know that he was a man registered to vote as a woman.” This discrepancy on Dear’s voter registration was first reported by The Gateway Pundit, a self-described “right-of-center news website,” under the claim that he “identifies as [a] woman.” Conservatives have since run with the claim that Dear is transgender.
There is actually no evidence to suggest that he is transgender, nor a “leftist,” nor any kind of activist. In fact, all of the available information suggests he was none of those things.
The Huffington Post has pointed out the inflammatory things Republicans have said about Planned Parenthood, abortion, and rape.

I could search for a while longer and find dozens of journalists and commentators that have made the connection. In fact, it's difficult not to read more examples. But if you want a final reminder, again, watch Carly Fiorina at the September 16th CNN debate:

Dahlia Lithwick of Slate puts in best:
The enormity of the fabrication surprised me; the fact that nobody had ever seen this extraordinary smoking gun before stunned me; the fact that not one of the journalists moderating the debate followed up on her claim surprised me. The fact that contemporaneous mainstream media reports of the debate—more theater criticism than journalism—failed to fact-check it surprised me. The people who did fact-check it all immediately agreed that it wasn’t true, and yet Fiorina’s word-picture was touted for days as the emotional zenith of the debate. This all surprised me: the notion that journalism and fact-finding are demonstrably unrelated enterprises.
I’m a chump that way.
We're all chumps if we let a major political party -- and a dysfunctional press -- off the hook for this one.

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