Jesse Walker at Reason has written one of those articles that explains and provides a context for a phenomenon we are already well-aware of: The way the progressive left uses isolated incidents of violence to indict and discredit the right.
The (Holocaust Museum) killer was soon identified as James Wenneker von Brunn, an 88-year-old neo-Nazi. Von Brunn acted alone, but there was no shortage of voices eager to spread the blame for his crime. The murder was quickly linked, in a free-associative way, to the assassination 10 days earlier of the Kansas abortionist George Tiller. This, we were told, was a “pattern” of “rising right-wing violence.”
More imaginative pundits tried to tie the two slayings to a smattering of other crimes, from an April shootout in Pittsburgh that killed three cops to a year-old double murder at a Knoxville Unitarian church. The longest such list, assembled by the liberal blogger Sara Robinson, included nine diverse incidents linked only by the fact that the criminals all hailed from one corner or another of the paranoid right. One of the episodes involved a mentally disturbed anti-Semite who had stalked a former classmate for two years before killing her in May. “This is how terrorism begins,” Robinson warned.
The left refuses to let a shooting at the Holocaust museum, or the murder of an abortionist be the work of an isolated nutjob. Even though the shooting of the abortionist was condemned universally among pro-life organizations, the left still smelled a conspiracy in which Bill O’Reilly inflamed the rhetoric and Sarah Palin handed the gun to the shooter.
The goal is, of course, to stifle debate. The left can’t defend ObamaCare on the merits (it has none), so they accuse opponents of being “brownshirts” or “Un-American.” The left would rather accuse the right of wanting to assassinate Obama than actually try to defend his policies.
Does the right do this, too? Yeah, sort of and sometimes. But the big differences are 1.) we don’t have a media apparatus to propagandize on our behalf. And, 2.) on the whole, we are more eager to engage in substantive debate. The right is more likely to say, “Obama’s policies are Marxist because they enhance state power in the following ways…” The left is more likely to shout, “Racist! Dick Cheney eats babies!”
This is why the dominant right-wing media format is talk radio, where callers can challenge the host. The left prefers the MSM format where an anointed elite reads the talking points and the audience is expected to sit and listen.