Today's Morning Joe program was a pretty kum-ba-ya affair with painfully self-aware supposed even-handedness about a "wake up call" for overheated political rhetoric on both sides. And while the deliberate appeal to the center did not do particular justice to the facts that unfolded, MoJo at least made some effort at common ground.
Yet, in the midst of this saccharine sweetness and appeal to our better nature, Mark Halperin demonstrated that he wasn't paying the least bit of attention to the tone Scarborough was trying to establish. Rather, he felt the need to denigrate conservatives for doing little other than defending themselves against a baseless attack (via Newsbusters):
You see, Mr. Halperin, we're sick of turning the other cheek. The nutjobs always get blamed on conservatives no matter what their ideology turns out to be, or if they have any at all. Ace-of-Spades listed a number of such instances where conservatives where initially imparted with some or all of the blame: the IRS plane-bomber, the Discovery Channel shooter, the hanged census worker, and the Fort Hood shooter (who according to Chris Matthews was driven by vicarious PTSD). I'd add to that list the Holocaust museum shooter (who was anything but a conservative) and Lee Harvey Oswald (a defector to the USSR and Cuban sympathizer). And we shouldn't forget the apparently fabricated reports of the Tea Party's alleged racist insults at black members of Congress.
Many of these fallacious allocations of blame are still to this day reported as fact. Nobody bothered to report that the census worker actually committed suicide. Nobody bothered to report that the plane bomber quoted the Communist Manifesto in his writings. It is still reported as fact that Tea Partiers shouted the "N-word" at black Congressmen despite an utter lack of evidence and an outstanding $100k reward for the same. We're still stuck with the JFK assassination, for Pete's sake! ("Deep in the hate of Texas!")
So it doesn't exactly wash with me when Mark Halperin tells conservatives to turn the other cheek.
What Scarborough (let alone Halperin) fails to understand is that the media narrative of "overheated rhetoric" is inherently biased against conservatives since, according to the established media perspective, it is conservatives who are pre-supposed to be more guilty of this than the Left. This disingenuous appeal for calm is little more than the "shut-up" tactic we know all too well:
Never mind that there is no evidence whatsoever that political rhetoric played any factor in this shooting. As Halperin's comments confirm, once the topic of popular conversation turns to the tone of our political discourse, the conservative side is already at a disadvantage in the mainstream media.