The Media Can’t Bring Themselves to Detach Palin from Giffords

If I had to write a list of the most bone-headed media indictments of my lifetime, toward the top of the list would be Sarah Palin’s suggested involvement in the Gabrielle Giffords shooting.

As many will recall, almost immediately after Jared Lee Loughner opened fire at a January event put on by the Democratic congresswoman, the media was desperately looking for a connection to the vocal Tea Party movement. Sarah Palin in particular took heat after left-wing bloggers did a Google search on “Sarah Palin” and “Gabrielle Giffords” and found that Giffords’ congressional district had been targeted months earlier on one of Palin’s websites as part of a get out the vote election strategy. Along with several others, Giffords’ district was marked on a map of the United States with a cross-hair icon.

Now, it’s lame enough when the media speculates on influences to murderers based on who authored the books that sat on their shelves at home, or who sang the songs they enjoyed listening to. But this was far more of a stretch. At the time the Palin connection was being suggested, the media knew practically nothing about the shooter. They had absolutely no idea of his political leanings. They had no idea if he even had access to the internet, let alone had ever visited the website of Palin’s political action committee.

And despite the concept of targeting districts being used for decades by numerous political strategists (often accompanied with visual representations off cross-hairs, targets, and bulls-eyes), its metaphorical context was selectively disregarded by many in the mainstream media for the purpose of creating a link to Palin. In their well-documented disdain for the former Alaska governor, many despicably went ahead and suggested that she could have been some sort of spiritual accomplice to the shooter.

In the end of course, Loughner was found to be a complete nut-case who former friends actually described as a “liberal” who regularly welled up in anger at the sight of George W. Bush. His longstanding, dangerous fixation on Congresswoman Giffords predated the Tea Party and Sarah Palin’s introduction onto the national scene. Palin was of no influence on him, nor was any coherent political ideology.

One would have thought that the revelation would have put to rest the reckless and politically-motivated media assault on Palin, but as we’ve found out over the last two weeks, it didn’t.

On November 15th, ABC ran a widely praised special on Giffords’ inspirational recovery. The special featured the congresswoman’s grueling rehabilitation and the strength of her marriage. Gabrielle Giffords’ story was a testament to the human spirit, but host, Diane Sawyer chose to cap off the program with these final comments: “After she [Giffords] voted for healthcare, she faced people in her district calling her a traitor, booing her in townhalls. Someone even fired a gun into her office door. And you may remember Sarah Palin targeted her district with an ad that had a gunsight on it.”

Unbelievable. What relevance did any of that have to what happened to Giffords? Did ABC decide that Giffords’ amazing story of triumph after tragedy couldn’t stand on its own? Did they feel the need to concoct a few more villains? A few more hurdles? The answer is no. They just saw another opportunity to take a few political cheap shots (while they had the attention of a large audience) at the supporters of an ideology they abhor.

But it didn’t end there. On November 23rd, Piers Morgan brought up Palin again in a CNN interview with Gabrielle Giffords’ husband, astronaut Mark Kelly.

“Sarah Palin doesn’t come out of this very well, I don’t think, because there was a woman who at the time had been putting these cross hair things on her website and stuff, including Gabby”, said Morgan. “And in her haste to take responsibility didn’t even bother to pick the phone up, to write, do anything.”

When Kelly confirmed that he and his wife were indeed not contacted by Palin, Morgan responded, “I find that extraordinary.”

Extraordinary? Really? Is it customary for someone falsely accused of a crime to reach out to the victim? If anyone owed the Giffords an apology, wouldn’t it be those in the media who used the horrific tragedy to fuel a witch-hunt against those they see as their political opponents?

Sarah Palin didn’t contact the Giffords for the same reason that I didn’t, Piers Morgan didn’t, and hundreds of millions of other Americans didn’t: We didn’t know her or her family. We kept them in our thoughts and prayers instead. Any notion that it would have been responsible for Palin to contact them is absurd. If she had, fine. But she had no moral responsibility to do so. She had no more to do with the Arizona shootings than the very people who unjustly yanked her into the story in the first place.

I really did have high hopes that the media would have learned something from their knee-jerk reaction to the Gabrielle Giffords shooting. I keep thinking that there has to be some come to God moment in their profession when they finally force themselves to look into the mirror after such an episode and self-evaluate their adherence to a journalistic code of ethics. I know… It’s a foolish dream on my part.

Author Bio:

John Daly couldn't have cared less about world events and politics until the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks changed his perspective. Since then, he's been deeply engaged in the news of the day with a particular interest in how that news is presented. Realizing the importance of the media in a free, democratic society, John has long felt compelled to identify media injustices when he sees them. With a B.S. in Business Administration (Computer Information Systems), and a 16 year background in software and web development, John has found that his real passion is for writing. He is the author of the Sean Coleman Thriller series, which is available through all major retailers. John lives in Northern Colorado with his wife and two children. Like John on Facebook. Follow John on Twitter.
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  • Robert Eugene Simmons jr.

    Excellent article though I am afraid they don’t care.

    No matter how many times communism has failed, no matter how many hundred million people are killed by socialism and communism, some people will continue to fail to get it. The left wants to convert America into a Marxist state and they are willing to vilify, slander and even imprison anyone that gets in their way. As evidence, the leftist comments on this article call Palin a criminal but its not because of Giffords. Its because she represents a fundamental threat to their goals. The constitution and therefore anyone who stands up for it must be destroyed at all costs.

    This cost 18 million lives in 1930’s and 40’s germany with the National Socialist German Workers Party. It cost 60 million lives in Stalin’s Russia, over 130 million lives (and no one knows reall how many) in Mao’s china and the list goes on. And still the left clings to the idea that a disarmed populace dependent on the state for every need is a good idea.

    Trying to convince them is hopeless. They are committed to that ideology and nothing, not even if you had a time machine and could show them this all happening before, nothing will convince them.

    • Drew Page

      There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.

  • Jonathon Sart

    While I do not believe that palin was directly responsible for the tragedy it seems prudent to analyze the effect her rhetoric has on those of a mental condition bordering on unstable. To whit the several posters on this board, many directly connected to and their unwavering adherence to a cause that was ridiculous in it’s essence and dismal in it’s failure. Palin is not a ‘God sent Savior’, she is a grifter, a con-artist and an utter and complete failure as a public persona. She is not to be feared but rather given a nod of disdain and disgust that any human could so lower themselves to the level of reprehensible behavior she regularly engages in. What is to be feared are the unstable of mind that worship her, they are truly unpredictable and compulsive and should be monitored closely.

    • John Daly

      Jonathon, The mentally unstable John Hinkley shot president Reagan and several others as a way to impress actress Jodie Foster, who he obsessed over. Would you recommend that Jodie Foster’s effect on the mentally unstable be analyzed?

      Now, consider that unlike with Hinkley and Foster, not even Palin’s mere existence was a motivation for Jared Lee Loughner. Any such connection was 100% media-driven and was in no way grounded in fact or reality. Loughner wasn’t obsessed with Palin. He seemed to hate all politicians. But since he DID have a long-time obsession with Gabby Giffords, would you suggest that Giffords’ effect on the mentally unstable be analyzed?

      Of course not, yet that’s the logic you’re subscribing to when you recommend that a study be done on how crazy people react to someone who you don’t like.

      Another example: If some mentally unstable guy killed several Jewish people, would you say that Rosanne Barr (who has joked about the holocaust and verbally assaulted Jews) had an impact on that crime and that she should be “analyzed”? And if your answer is no, why not?

      Believe me, Jonathan… I don’t worship Sarah Palin, and I wouldn’t vote for her in a primary. Recognizing common sense and blatant injustice has nothing to do with partisanship.

      • Robert Eugene Simmons jr.


        I am an ardent supporter of Sarah Palin because of what her record is, what her principles are and the fact that she has shown a disdain to a system that I disdain. American governance has become a corrupt aristocracy and only someone like Palin would be willing to knock it down a notch. The current GOP nominees are part of the system. But then Id rather her run on a third party ticket and bury both parties. Both parties are so corrupted that they are pretty much unsavable.

        • John Daly

          A little off-topic, but if you’d rather have Palin run as a third-party, you’re endorsing Obama for a second term.

          Luckily, Palin won’t run.

          • Robert Eugene Simmons jr.

            Well, it is off topic but in today’s climate I think Palin’s anti-washington, anti-cronyism message would beat both parties. But the fact is that with Romney as nominee, grass roots conservatives wont show up to the polls in great numbers to vote for him and Obama will be re-elected by a narrow margin.

    • Robert Eugene Simmons jr.

      And you think that by slinging accusations they must be true? Sorry, guilty until proven innocent went out of this country in 1776.

      Constantly anti-palin people repeat the same lines of text almost word for word and never back it up with fact? What has she said -specifically- to incite violence? What has she done -specifically- to incite violence. Why is there a difference in Palin using cross hairs on targeted districts and the Democratic National Comittee doing the same thing? And how is that different than both Democrats and Republicans doing that for the last 200 odd years?

      Palin is who she says she is. She did not con anyone out of anything. People willingly purchased her books, bought tickets to her speaches and so on. She has committed no fraud on anyone. No one was forced to any of this.

      In my opinion Palin isnt running because of the constant death threats against her children by unhinged leftists. Where she is wrong is that leftists wont stop the threats just because she isnt running.

  • David

    Pathetic people still try to blame the acts of lunatics on public figures who have no ties too these sick acts what so ever.I guess Robert Redford is guilty of bank robbery you know he robbed banks in a movie or 2.I guess anyone who has ever said the word target or sights or crosshairs in political speech is also an accomplice to this mad man.
    Palin has as much responsibility for this mad mans sick crime as any of you who are sick enough to try and tie this to her.I support by the way the reelection of Obama,(after looking at the choices who wouldn’t?) to bad this nonsense is still going on it makes people on the left look pathetic and desperate.Smarten up people Palin is not in this fight,she is off the playing field except to those idiots who watch fox news. A whopping .03% of the population ha ha.

    • Glen Stambaugh

      David, true Palin is off the playing field, but what has that got to do with Fox News? Fox is not Palin’s personal tool, nor do their opinion people support a Palin candidacy. And by the way, Fox enjoys a larger audience crossing the political spectrum than their competitors put together. Get the facts, THEN have an opinion.

      • Talon’s Point

        You say “Smarten up” and “I support…the re-election of Obama…”

        Do yourself a great favor and dust off a copy of the U.S. Constitution before telling someone else to “Smarten up.”

        Just today your benevolent leader has decided U.S. citizens can be picked up on the streets of America and dragged before military panels. If a Republican suggested this there would be blood in the streets.

      • Drew Page

        Glen — To liberals like David, facts just get in the way of emotions when forming an opinion, so they ignore them.

  • TLemmbert

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  • Tim

    To those who say Palin is responsible. Show me the direct evidence that links Palin to the shooter.

    1. Emails?
    2. His laptop?
    3. Previous conversations or comments?
    4. Books, magazines or pictures?

    Anyone? Anyone?

    If you don’t have any facts, go to “plan B”. Just simply smear Palin on “Rhetoric” (something ALL politicos say). One person’s rhetoric is another person political speech.

    “Get in their face”
    “Punish our enemies”

    Hey, can I call out the Daily Kos for their rhetoric on Giffords?

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  • VoiceOfReason

    Why is anyone still writing articles about her? Like Paris Hilton, her 15 are about done and what little import she had is fading fast.

    • Jonathon Sart

      Agreed! She is just emotional fodder for the MSM to feed to the sheeple.

  • tom Ellis

    I thought the Diane Sawyer program on Gabby Gifford was very good and showed what a strong person Gifford is, how far she has come, but also how far she has to go. I watched until Sawyer took the cheap shot a Palin, then I changed channels. Libs can not pass up the opportunity to slime someone even when it sticks to their hands. Morgan’s “interviews” are not worth watching.

  • John

    Sarah Palin had nothing to do with the shooting, she didn’t have any involvement in inciting it, or inciting any violence whatsoever.

    The shooter was not influenced in any way by Sarah Palin’s political opinions.This is truth, clear as day to any objective mind. The shooter is a paranoid schizophrenic who was obsessed with Giffords since 2007.

    By the way, Democrats used election maps with bullseyes on them and the liberal website Daily Kos put ‘bullseye’ on ‘dead to me’ Giffords.

    And talking about the so-called “violent rhetoric” Obama said in Philadelphia ;“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,”

    The terrible shooting of 20 people in Tucson became the surreal backdrop for a modern witch-hunt, the perfect opportunity to frame and smear Sarah Palin ( and the Tea Party)

  • robin in fl

    great article john..

    as any one with a brain bigger then a pea knows sara palin had NOTHING to do with the shooting,BUT there will ALWAYS be some kook who will try and fit her in there ,,kinda’ like trying to shove a piece of a puzzle in a spot that just doesn’t fit,yet still shoving it in until in bends ,,,though the piece is still out of place and doesn’t belong,it’s just bent

    ….I just shake my head when i see ones like that and say “yea ..sure whatever!”

  • Brandt Hardin

    Palin’s violence-inciting imagery troubles me also and IS a form of terrorism and a prime example of the effects of her rhetoric. She held Jared Lee Loughner’s hand while he murdered people with his misguided sensibilities. I was compelled to draw a visual commentary showing her handing him the gun on my artist’s blog at (removed by moderator). She’ll go to any lengths and keep spewing her insanity for that attention (and the money of course.)

    • tom Ellis

      This is an incredibly stupid post. Your hate knows no bounds.

    • Talon’s Point

      The only logic stated in your comment was that of the moderator who had enough sense to remove your idiotic “visual commentary.”

      And to think I paid for the education you wasted.

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  • bellagrazi

    She’s too big of a target (excuse the expression) for the MSM to let it go. Any chance that the MSM has of tarnishing Sarah Palin’s reputation, they will take it. But all decent American’s know that she had nothing to do with that horrific shooting. It’s the morally corrupt who will continue to blame her.

  • therealguyfaux

    Piers Morgan is in the next few days to be hauled in front of a Parliament committee investigating the excesses of the UK tabloid press. Piers Morgan is the former editor of the Daily Mirror, a newspaper so foul you wouldn’t use it to line a birdcage, and his tenure there saw a lot of questionable practices. Piers has apparently had his own “come-to-Jesus” and is attempting to set up an alias as a “respected journalist,” as his show on CNN slowly sinks into oblivion. Stay tuned.

  • Mike

    Fourteen paragraphs of sophistry and denial.

    In a nation riddled with guns and the mentally ill, why create a situation, let alone inflame an existing one, as Palin did with her aggressive and reckless rhetoric and images?

    She didn’t pull the trigger, but she is culpable.

    • paul courtney

      Mike: She is just as culpable as you are. You say you had no connection at all? Well…. At least Sarah can connect two thoughts, unlike some we see. How’s it feel to be less of a thinker than SP?

      • John Daly

        I’m just impressed that Mike bothered to count the number of paragraphs in my column.

        And you’re right, Paul. Palin’s no more culpable than Mike.

    • Talon’s Point

      “Riddled with guns”?

      History is replete with Communist and Fascist movements that begin with the strategically necessary disarming of the citizenry. Either you are a tool or a fool. We’ll let the reader (and possibly history) decide.

  • cmacrider

    John: An excellent argument which accurately depicts the intellectual vacuum within which liberals drift. The ad hominum attack and the straw man argument seem to be the pinnacle of their intellectual achievement.

    All the foregoing is more comprehensible when it is recognized that for liberals “truth” is merely a consensus on a particular subjective perception. Truth, for them, has nothing to do with a perception having correspondence to external facts. Hence, the world of people like Piers Morgan is merely a battle between competing perceptions. Their objective is to ensure a particular narrative gains “overwhelming consensus” and hence becomes in their words the “accepted truth.”

    Actual factual data and logical deductions from that data (as represented by your well written opinion) are of no concern to the liberal who is primarily focussed on ensuring their narrative becomes the consensus.

    • John Daly

      Thank you.

  • Silversurfer

    Thanks John – a Great assessment of the ridiculous and irresponsible exploitation of human tragedy for political assassination, by the Socialist media.

    • John Daly


  • alaskan1st

    She didn’t have anything to do with Giffords shooting but you have to admit, it was a perfect opportunity for people to call Sarah on her violent rhetoric. What is it with her obsession for violence? Her latest about hanging the coach was so typical. She couldn’t even wait till he was found guilty. Just imagine her finger twitching over the nuke button.

    • American1st

      She said “if he is guilty” you freakin liar.
      Or are you just sympathetic to child molesters?

    • Jeffreydan


      I do admit, it was a perfect opportunity for phony, unscrupulous, hypocritical people to call Governor Palin on her violent rhetoric.

      After all, they are like Obama: just looking to put their boot on someone’s throat, deciding whose ass they need to kick.

      • John Daly

        Exactly. Liberals use ANYTHING as a “perfect opportunity” to vilify Palin.

  • Sj

    Hi Sarah! You taken up blog writing now?

    • Talon’s Point

      If this is the smartest comment you could make you should not have tipped your hand. Next time remember to keep the face side pointed toward you.