Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Bonus Quote of the Day
"Greg frequently gets in with a group of people that have really radical ideas and that are not consistent with myself or the rest of the family, which gets him into problems. I say Fox News, or all of those that are really radical, and he, that's where he comes from."
-- 83-year-old Eleanor Giusti, whose son, Gregory, was recently arrested for threatening Nancy Pelosi
I've said it before but it bears repeating: No, you can't hold a person or organization responsible for the occasional unhinged nutjob who misinterprets -- or simply filters through the voices in his own head -- a particular message, even a controversial one. But when you spout inflammatory, dog-whistle rhetoric through a bullhorn 24/7, and you do it knowing full well that there is in fact a segment of your audience that might be prone to take matters into their own hands in the most extremely prejudicial way possible, if you get my drift, there's no way in hell you should be able to hide behind the First Amendment or a claim of innocent ignorance. Although it's never a good idea to allow the potential misbehavior of the lowest common denominator to curb the right to free speech, it's equally inadvisable, not to mention irresponsible, to act as though you're operating in a vacuum -- as if what you say can't possibly have a negative impact, despite its incendiary nature.
Fox News and the far-right constantly beat the drum of an America that's vanishing right before the eyes of patriotic, often well-armed citizens; sorry, but they don't get to act shocked when somebody actually listens carefully and responds accordingly.
That said, it's gonna be a hoot to hear the Fox talking heads take the traditionally liberal stance of shifting the blame from TV to the parents. Can't you already hear Hannity shrieking, "And where were you when your son was making 48 threatening phone calls to Pelosi's office, Mrs. Giusti? Well?"
Related: DXM: Revolutionary Goad/4.7.09