January 10th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

How to tone down the hateful rhetoric?


Well-wishers leave flowers, candles and notes outside the district office of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ). (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It was probably only a matter of time.

For the past two years, the political rhetoric in this country has quickly grown more hateful, angry and divisive.

We've seen guns at rallies and signs with nasty and racist slogans. And now we have the tragedy in Tucson, Arizona. Is there a link between this inflammatory rhetoric and the shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others, six of whom are dead? Bet on it.

Several lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are now calling for the political rhetoric to be toned down. They say politicians need to "cool it" and to think about "how our words affect people."

There's an idea!

This is happening at the same time some of them are deciding to start carrying guns.

Many are pointing fingers at Sarah Palin, who makes incendiary and irresponsible comments with some regularity. Palin once tweeted concerning the health care debate, "Don't retreat, instead - RELOAD!"
She posted a map online before the midterms showing crosshairs over 20 contested Democratic districts, including Giffords'.

At the time, Giffords said, "When people do that, they've got to realize there are consequences to that action."

Since the shooting, Palin has expressed her condolences and said she hates violence.

The Tea Party movement, which has also been a cauldron of inflammatory rhetoric, is distancing itself from the tragedy, condemning what happened.

But even if there is no direct correlation here, people such as Palin could bear some indirect responsibility for the mindset of the shooter and others like him.

Here’s my question to you: What can be done to tone down the hateful rhetoric in this country?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

David in Tampa writes:
Jack, I doubt very seriously things will change much. Our politicians have about as short an attention span as the rest of us. By next week, all will be forgotten and we will be back to stupidity as usual. Partisan rancor, common sense subjugated by ideological dogma and civility gone out the window. Thus feeding more hate-filled words for the real nut cases to justify violence as a means of attaining their agenda. "Where have all the flowers gone?"

Bob writes:
Ask FOX News. Ask Limbaugh. Ask Palin. Ask Michele Bachmann. Ask the loonie right. Ask Tea Partiers. Ask Angle. Ask Gingrich. Oh, ask crazy old McCain. He inflicted on America this destructive virus called Palin. Want more?

Jane in Wisconsin writes:
Instead of pointing fingers at Sarah Palin or the Tea Party, maybe we need to look at the effects of all the violence our kids are exposed to on TV, in the movies, in the music they are listening to, etc. If we are to believe that kids can't view a cigarette commercial because it will cause them to smoke, what kind of effect does all the sex and violence they see have on them?

Rick writes:
Pull the plug on Fox News, or refer to it as what it is: a watering hole for gun-loving, simple-minded, easily led Neanderthals who respond to cliches and sound-bites designed to keep them in blissful ignorance.

P. in Harrisburg writes:
Jack, Journalists and broadcasters need to take the lead and look to offer more light than heat... If journalists and pundits have nothing to say, then just shut up... The yelling and screaming that goes on the various discussion panels contributes to the confusion. Politicians who are extremists should be given less air time. Folks think if they can see it on TV, it must be the standard.

S. writes:
Hate speech is a cheap way to attract and hold attention. Fear motivates the ignorant and superstitious among us. In the short run, these techniques can add members to a party. In the long run, they end in infamy. I long for the return of statesmanship and true leadership in government. Intellect, love of country, a vision for a better future- imagine if these characteristics held our attention and our admiration. What a world that would be.

Filed under: Tragedy • United States
soundoff (301 Responses)
  1. Brian Nafarrete

    Easy: Get rid of MSNBC, FoxNews, Huffington Post, DailyKos, virtually anything that has an opinion about politics. Stick to bare-facts reporting. For "bias purposes," have staunch Republicans and Democrats as fact-checkers.

    Also, disable comments sections on sites. The stuff I see on comments sections are pretty hate-filled. Even worse, people make such statements using Internet names.

    – Evans, GA

    January 10, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
  2. Bob Kobs

    Ask FOX News. Ask Limbaugh. Ask Palin. Ask Michele bachmann. Ask the loonie Right. Ask T-Partiers. Ask Angle. Ask West. Ask Gingrich. Oh, ask Crazy Old McCain. He inflicted on America this destructive virus called Palin. Want more?

    January 10, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
  3. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    All we have to do is look at some of the campaigns in the last election to realize why there is so much hate in people today. There has been a line drawn in the sand for quite some time and now some nut has crossed that line. Drawing Hitler mustaches on candidates faces and marking states with cross hairs is no way to get your point across. Shouting harsh and outrageous insults at each other only helps to fuel disturbed minds. There is no respect for each other today, especially in politics. Washington needs to lead by example and stop making everything so personal. They should agreed to disagree and work on ways they can come together. Jon Stewart had it right when he held the rally to restore sanity.

    January 10, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
  4. Tepeters. Minnesota

    It can start with some self control over the all too human tendency to rant in the face of the belief that ones own convictions are alone the truth. But collectively we need to look at the cause of hatred which is fear that the world as each of us sees it is changing, that it is becoming not what we want it to be. But realities, political, economic, and social, do change and we must help each other adapt to those changes. There is no perfect world for perfection is an illusion. Instead we need to work together to overcome each others fears knowing that other citizens all have the good of the land and its people at heart even if they believe in a different path to get there.

    January 10, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  5. Steve, Clifton, VA


    The hateful divisive rhetoric does not need to be tone down, it needs to be eliminated. As Americans we used to believe and practice the principle that "United We Stand-Divided We Fall" This country has been falling for the past decade!! We as a country must find common ground on the basic fundamentals for the common good of the country again and fight the enemies outside of our borders as opposed making multiple enemies within our borders.

    January 10, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  6. AzRose

    I think that all of our elected leaders and I mean all of them from the top down need to set an example by not using nasty remarks about the opposing party. Both sides have used language that is demeaning and unnecessary. Some of them have even called the American people some pretty nasty things like astroturf, the enemy, tea baggers etc. It is about time they treat everyone with the same respect they would like to have. It would be a novel idea for the leaders to start acting like leaders for a change.

    Glendale, Az

    January 10, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  7. Michael H. in Albuquerque, NM

    Shall we remind EVERYONE that as soon as Obama was elected in 2008
    the right wing went out and bought GUNS and BULLETS!
    THEY RAN OUT OF BULLETS!!! Do they not remember that?
    Of course the vitriol came from the right. Of course they were promoting violence. You want to tone down the rhetoric? Arrest them for incitement! Arrest them for sedition. Call them out for their vitriolic speech and quote them. Tell them this is NOT A GAME!

    January 10, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  8. Pisher from Harrisburg


    You ask how to turn down the hateful rhetoric....Journalists and broadcasters need to take the lead and look to offer more light than heat. We need a return to less extremist spin and more reliance on the public to sort through the facts. If journalists and pundits have nothing to say, then just shut up, instead of looking new ways to spin facts to get the jump or the ratings on the other stations. The yelling and screaming that goes on the various discussion panels contributes to the confusion. Politicians who are extremists should be given less air time than more are time or no air time at all. Folks think if they can see it on TV, it must be the standard....

    January 10, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  9. Don in Fernley (near Reno)

    Thanks Jack,

    The most effective approach I have found comes from a blue covered book describing a personal inventory.The answers are not popular or sexy because they use the 4 letter word called work to avoid contempt prior to investigation.
    Vetting the content with an open mind seems rare lately. Present company excluded.
    The latest noise containing finger pointing does not include the last part...While pointing a finger at you, there are always 3 fingers pointing at me. Stay skeptical but do the research.

    Beyond the internal approach, it would be a bold gesture of goodwill for the media ( via terms of use editing ) to not allow advertising access to politicians who use "sensationalism" and false accusations to win support. A "keep your money and go home" approach would set a good example.

    I did not say easy or inexpensive. The value received is beyond money.

    January 10, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  10. John from San Antonio

    Americans have to come to grips with the fact we are all Americans first and Democrats and Republicans second. Of course if we insist on dividing oueselves into Republican's and Democrat's the prophecy "we will destroy you from within" may become reality.

    January 10, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  11. Virginia Atlanta GA

    I grow weary saying "but both sides do it". A fact checker can show where these comments are coming from and provide the truth. For example, a far Right friend of mine wanted to prove that the left wing was saying terrible things about Tony Snow when he died. He gave me over 20 pages of research, terrible things were said – every source was right wing, Newsmax of Fox etc. all "quoting" left wing folks. Not one middle or left source was used. All I heard from CNN, CSPAN, and local stations were how he would be missed, what a fine man etc. I see red when I am lied to and when folks calll other folks names. I believe some honesty and civility would really help.

    January 10, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  12. Meg from John Boehner's district in Ohio

    None of us should tolerate words or actions that are disrespectful, advocate violence, or personally attack people that we don't happen to agree with or understand. Politicians in particular bear a responsibility to speak and act honestly and respectfully toward everyone, including those of other political parties, religions, and ethnicities. Americans in the last 10 years have become more rude, bigoted and cruel. It has to stop. Each one of us has to be responsible for our words and actions toward others–and keep them positive and respectful.

    January 10, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  13. DGH

    At first, I didn't even think of Palin. Then, when I found out she'd scrubbed at least one website with that ridiculous map including "crosshairs," I paused to consider. If she feels she's not even indirectly responsible for the shootings, why the rush? I feel that if more of us (ahem, especially the MEDIA) would call out these unstable politicians (Palin, Angle and Bachmann come to mind), we'd be in a far better, healthier place as a country.

    January 10, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  14. Carl


    It's very simple, but it will never be done. Have are worthless self serving scum-bag politicians start doing the will of the people. Stop lieing to the people, and most of all, get rid of all the lobbists. It's just a dream, these corrupt idots will never get rid of their money cow lobbists.

    January 10, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  15. Strom

    How to tone down the hateful rhetoric? Politicians need to stop being so hive-minded. If anyone follows their own views, and stops following party lines on all issues, then we'll have less hateful rhetoric. People need to be free, independent thinkers, whether they are a member of a major political party or not. Just thirty to fifty years ago, parties had a wide range of ideas, as well as their own liberal, moderate, and conservative wings. Now? We have two megalithic hate machines.

    -Strom In Charleston, South Carolina

    January 10, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  16. Chuck, Jasper Ga.

    For starters, when an elected official is made aware of false statements coming out of their own party, from their own members, instead of sitting back and watching the people of America get riled up and oppose something based in lies, they should set the record straight. The republican leadership knew that free medical care for illegal aliens was a lie, they knew the death panel issue was a lie but not once did any of the republican leadership set the record straight. Instead they sat back and watched all kinds of screwballs buy into the rhetoric to the opoint of frothing at the mouth and making threats. Think a little honesty in respect to FACTS rather than party rhetoric would be a good place to begin.

    January 10, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  17. Singh

    Instead of "hateful" rhetoric, how about fair and reasonable talk by people from all across the aisle? We can still be pro-guns without equating everything to metaphors of guns. How about we be fair when reporting anything and everything? If Jared Lee Loughner was not a Caucasian I'm sure the media would have immediately called him a terrorist. Why is this act not being called terrorism in the 24 hour news cycle? I doubt this comment will be chosen to air because it may be slightly changing the subject, but it is an issue that needs to be addressed.

    January 10, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  18. Roy Birdzell

    You can start Jack, by first apologizing by inferring that the Tea Party and Sara Palin may bear some indirect responsibility in this horrible attack. You are inferring that the liberal side of politics, that being the Democrats, do not make any incendiary and irresponsible comments.Both sides are just as guilty as the other, and until all admits to that, the hateful and partisan rhetoric will only continue and will grow going into the 2012 election.

    January 10, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  19. Damie Pierce

    The only way to tone down the rhetoric is to pass legislation, which would hold people like, Palin, Beck and Limbaugh accountable for the dangerous inflamatory statements they continue, even to THIS day, to spew. If we had such laws, Beck would be in jail, or heavily fined(as at least 2 people convicted of threatening other congressmen/women, have admitted they comitted their crimes, because they were influenced by Beck) The man has been inciting people to riot and "be prepared to overthrow" the government for years! The debate will be, where do we find the balance between freedom of speech and the advocation of violence and sedition?
    Administering fines, to take all Beck's gold away, would also probably help to shut him up!

    January 10, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  20. Harold


    I assume you, like us, have Hate laws. Please use them! Politics is not a reality TV show, and politicians should be leaders, not buffoons. Sorry, Sarah.

    January 10, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  21. Pat in michigan

    If it isn't a corroborated FACT then shut up .I don't care about your opinion.The News is supposed corroborated FACTS not opinion. I can form my own opinion based on FACTS.

    January 10, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  22. Renee Peoria,Ill

    We can grow up. Right now, those who died in the tragedy in Tucson are watching us from the other side and they are praying for us; praying that we learn to love one another or at least treat each other civilly. As long as we refuse to grow up and learn that lesson, if we let this pass as just another incident of violence then they, and others like them throughtout history, have died in vain. If we do not learn from events like this, they will continue. Those in positions of power and influence on both the right and the left need to understand that even euphemistic 'calls to arms' will be taken seriously by some. It has to stop, especially for the sake of children like Christina Taylor Green.

    January 10, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  23. Jim

    People like Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, and the like are linguistic terrorists. who will say anything to further their careers, no matter what the consequences may be to others.

    January 10, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  24. David in Tampa

    Jack, I doubt very seriously things will change much. Our politicians have about as short an attention span as the rest of us. By next week all will be forgotten and we will be back to stupidity as usual. Partisan rancor, common sense subjugated by ideological dogma and civility gone out the window. Thus feeding more hate filled words for the real nut cases to justify violence as a means of attaining their agenda. "Where have all the flowers gone?"

    January 10, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  25. vmontgomery

    Jack: We have been asking for two years now to 'cool' the rhetoric. Sarah Palin just kept on 'giving' didn't she as well as the people at Fox News. Now – they can carry the blood of the victims forever on their shoulders and in their hearts that 'reload' terrorist, crosshairs map' took down. It breaks my heart to see an innocent 9 year old girl gunned down. Well Done Sarah – what's next?

    January 10, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  26. Rick in California

    I can't believe you are buying what the congress (especially the republicans) are selling. This "toning down of the rhetoric" will last about 2 weeks then it is business as usual. These idiots use whatever time is convenient to let things blow over then it will be right back to the same hateful dialog as it has been. They are just scared right now because it looks as if people are finally fed up enough to start going after the congress. No one is immune. There are plenty more nutcases out there shining up their guns right now getting ready to go hunting. It just takes one of our leaders to make the wrong statement to set them off. This should serve notice to Rush and Sarah and Glenn that we don't need them around anymore. They caused this just as much as anybody else.

    January 10, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  27. Jim

    People like Sahah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, and the like are linguistic terrorists who will say anything to further their careers, no matter what the consequences may be to others.

    January 10, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  28. Griff

    On your first blog Jack, you mention Republicans?? But it was a Democrate sperakers-corner! So maybe if you want to change 'Rhetoric, you have to stick to the story in the news?
    Flip/Flopping the news, only causes more conflict."

    January 10, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  29. Lavon in Hemet, CA

    Sorry to disappoint Jack, but as long as we have individuals like Palin, Beck, Bachmann, and Mr. Porkenstein himself- Rush Limbaugh spewing hatred to the masses on a daily basis..You can forget about any type of change of the negative political rhetoric

    January 10, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  30. Sean in Michigan

    As long as politicians keep putting party first over the good of the country, there is no hope for the end of nastiness. It's hard to be civil when you keep trying to cast everything as black and white. The world is shades of grey, and they need to wake up and realize it.

    January 10, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  31. J Farrow

    Well, we may see a lull in the inflammatory rhetoric from politicians but not from the right-wing media. Afterall, this is how the Limbaughs, O'Rileys and Becks make their living. Palin, I think, is just stupid about her rhetoric.

    January 10, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  32. Dick B

    Bring back the "fairness doctrine". Or, make CNN required viewing every day. Now some people actually believe what they see and hear on talk radio, Fox News and MSNBC.

    January 10, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  33. Paul P.

    Political figures standing up and speaking out against it and then behaving in that manner themselves is a start. But much like fighting terrorism overseas, its a matter of winning over hearts and minds and it will take time. Those that know understand invoking fear is an effective way to control people and it will take a long while before some realize that freedom of speech is not an excuse to act without any sense of social responsibility.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  34. Paul P.

    Political figures standing up and speaking out against it and then behaving in that manner themselves is a start. But much like fighting terrorism overseas, its a matter of winning over hearts and minds and it will take time. Those that know understand invoking fear is an effective way to control people and it will take a long while before they realize that freedom of speech is not an excuse to act without any sense of social responsibility.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  35. Mike in St. Paul

    The best thing to do is listen to our mothers. "Turn off the TV and radio, go outside and DO something!!"

    January 10, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  36. Greg of Mechanicsburg PA

    People are arrested for inciting riots. Why not hold those like Sarah Palin accountable for inciting shootings? Several law suits from the families of the victims citing Palin might have an impact. She is beyond irresponsible.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  37. Curtis in Philadelphia

    This idea will get blasted as being anti-free speech, but maybe politicians should inform voters on where they stand on "toning down the political rhetoric", the same way they make their stance on abortion and gun-control, known to potential voters? You know Jack, like not running on "second amendment remedies".

    January 10, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  38. Amarissa

    I'm sorry Jack, but toning down the rhetoric has nothing to do with the Arizona tragedy. There is NO proof that the killer was a tea partier or a fan of Palin. As a matter of fact, his obsession with Giffords began in 2007, before Palin's map and before the Tea Party. Linking this to the Arizona shooting leads to more violence among the people. The blogs are already full of hate towards Conservatives, especially Palin, saying dangerous things that may lead to more violence against Americans. We were told by Obama and all of you to not judge the Texas killings at Ft Hood before we had facts and the media complied. However, now I hear no one in the media advising us not to judge in the case of Arizona. Shame on all of you and shame on Democrats.
    Miami, Florida

    January 10, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  39. greg

    When the people we elect to office act like grown ups. When they start acting as role models.When they can run for office without bullseyes on thier opponents head. When they realize they are there to represent all not just all that voted for them maybe then the hate will be removed from politics but Idont think it will ever happen in my life time.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:05 pm |

    The viscious and hateful rhertoric in this country is politically inspired. If we impose term limits on ALL elective offices and ban lobbyists in Washington and elsewhere, I think most of the rhertoric would vanish on it's own. What are the odds of just one of these suggestions getting passed?

    January 10, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  41. Rich McKinney, Texas

    Attitudes are contagious Jack but what we do with that attitude falls squarely on each individuals shoulders. We can not blame politicians and we can not blame the media for what happened in Arizona. This one man acting alone for what ever reason decided to do harm to a group of people. This man had 20 some years to reach his mental conclusion to act in the manner he did and I am certain that it did not come down to solely what he heard some politician say in the last 2 years.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  42. Nancy

    I think we need to start with Fox News. Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and the rest. The stir up anxiety and fear and prey on gullible people. News is to be reported impartially, but Fox and talk radio don't report news – they indoctrinate people.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  43. Herman Portland OR

    Jack ,
    We live America that has millions of people. Americans also have the right to bear arms and have freedom of speach. We have regulalated guns about as much as any American can stand. We also have eased up our requirements for unstable or mental health programs because there are some that think these types are OK to walk our streets and they have de funded the industry to the point they are unable to stay open. Please don't link the unstable acts of one individual to the recent massacare. We still don't know exactly what caused this unstable individual to act.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  44. Jane Johannssen

    Really ? Nazi Signs, we saw Nazi signs with Bush' face on it in yrs past. We saw Bush burned alive on a sign.
    How many times have the left been wrong?
    Is the left trying to hide or divert att'n from the fact that all of these murderers have been left wing liberals, including Jared L as close friend of his said today.
    Stop the lying the American people know.
    Jane J

    January 10, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  45. Tom-Vermillion Ohio

    It is absolutely the responsibility of every political figure, media personality, inclusive of all social media outlets and inclusive of all their respective contributors to use their freedom of speech wisely and in a manner that is considerate of the fact that there are delusional and sick people in our midst who may interpret some statements way too literally and seek to act upon them in a tragic way.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  46. Ralph Spyer

    Divide the country, the south has gone republican ever since Nixon and the voting right act WHY? The north east always democratic. along with California, Washington, Oregon. Republicans get Texas , democratic get Illinois.ECT

    January 10, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  47. Donald Robert Sartain

    Jack, Free Speech and Open Political Debate is NOT hateful rhetoric.
    Harry Truman said it: " If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen" Our free speech rights were hard won and handed down to us these hundreds of years.
    Some people want to get their way by destroying or negating our rights. Those people always wind up on the ash heap of history.
    The causes of incidents like the murders in Arizona are not caused by the First and Second Amendments to the Constitution! They are caused by parents not spanking their kids and putting them on drugs like Ritalin. Also the decreased use of the death sentence for murderers has allowed them more boldness. Apparently free room and board for several years isn't scaring them anymore.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  48. Greg in Arkansas

    The only thing that will "tone down the hateful rhetoric" will be "IF" the sponsors of the of the programs that spew this garbage put the squeeze on the writers, producers and the on air opinion-ators that say ANYTHING, no matter how outrageous to create higher ratings.

    But, I doubt that will happen because, as the saying goes, "Money Talks, B/S Walks".

    May I remind you that in 2008, during that summer of hateful politics, the State Chairman of the Arkansas Democratic party was murdered in his office and the tone of political attacks changed very little then, so I suspect that people will observe a moment of silence, a period of restraint and gradually ratchet up the rhetoric until tragedy strikes again.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  49. Scott Stodden

    In Politics Here In The United States We Have Two Sides The Republican/Conservative Side And Then The Democratic/Liberal Sides And Yes Its True That Both Sides Will Probably Never Agree On Every Issue But When It Comes To Campaigning For Congress, Senate, President, Mayor, State Offices, Governor, Etc... We Have To Tone Down The Rhetoric That's Facing Our Country, People Will Do Whatever And I Mean Whatever It Takes To Win Office In Politics And We've Seen It More And More Now Than Ever Before Such As During The 2008 Presidential Election And Now In 2010! We Don't Have To Tear People Apart To Win Office The Issues Should Be The Most Important Thing That Matters! Stop Slamming And Trying To Tear People Apart Washington!

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    January 10, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  50. Olga

    News media need to de-glorify these dangerous comments.

    Responsibility lies in public officials and the news media.

    Austin, Tx

    January 10, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  51. Angela Savage Austin

    When they shoot off their mouth irresponsibly and promote hate and bigotry...those words are bullets...killing hope and brotherhood and eventually will bring the downfall of this country from within ...as history taught us so many times before. Great Empires Fall From Within. Unconditional Love will deliver us all from evil.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  52. Catherine

    Hey Jack, the problem is there is so much freedom of speech that no one thinks about what they say before they say it; They just think there is no consequence to their word. I think that need to be re-phrased.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  53. James Jones

    Shut the fabricating left wing liberals up....if they want a change.
    They lie constantly.
    James J

    January 10, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  54. Birddog in Mississippi

    Members of the House and Senate should have to sit R,D,R,D and open sessions by spending the first 15 minutes of the session talking to the person next to them about their family, hobbies, ect. Just like kids do in school, they should have to stand up and introduce the person next to them. Factcheckers should be used by all journalists on every show. And a factcheck section should be printed on the front page of every newspaper during campaigns. Oh, and get rid of FOXX.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  55. Paul Austin,Texas

    Jack just plain stop it all. We do not need this junk talk in our country. We all need to be beyond the hate no matter who it is toward. It just makes me plain mad that a nine year old had to die because of the crap talk that to many just do not understand on how to weigh it. In general the people that present this tripe and listen to it do not think that it will be taken as fact but there are just some out there that do. Just stop the hate.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  56. david

    Jack I think a good place to start, is to start urging the public to pull the plug on the F network. If this were to start to happen, the hateful retoric would be cut by a good 75%
    Dave from NH.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  57. Dee in New Paris Ohio

    Were those who had cool heads able to tone down the hateful speech and actions of the Nazis prior to the war and the Holocaust? I think it is impossible to stop hate once it gets a hold on a society.

    The frightening thing is that the hate is SO pervasive and among all levels of society. And it's like having a tiger by the tail. Every time hate raises its ugly head it tends to escalate. I don't think it can or will be toned down. I think we are in for a very fough ride.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  58. Matt

    Nothing will be done until phrases like "targeted for defeat' and 'in the sights of' the Rep/Dem party', are completly removed from political speeches. Dont look for it to happen, this brouhaha is just more political posturing

    Sinking Spring, PA

    January 10, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  59. Dennis north Carolina

    Tell the truth and chose your word carefully. accountability for words used is a must and our founding fathers did not say freedom of speech with out accountability so we the laws other than slander to hold people to the the law of words.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  60. Gray in NC

    Nothing short of suspending the Constitution. One man's hatespeech is another man's patriotism; the natural result of the 'Great Experiment' that is the USA.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  61. Steve, NY

    Tone down the rhetoric by limitting only one liberal TV station and one conservative TV station. The left is outnumbering the right. Plus the left speciffically attacks politicians by name calling them idiots and the worst of the worst. At least the right is a little more proffesional. But of couse you can't convince the left of that. They think it's always the conservative's fault. Good example is this Arizona shooting. Liberals were foaming at the mouth before any news came out on the shooter.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  62. Luci

    Let's try to keep Palin, Beck, Rush, Koch Brothers, Fox, Tea party, Freedom works, Americans for Prosperty, etc. from being on TV and don't keep repeating the hate they are spewing. I wish they would all go away. I saw that Palin said she was sorry and hates war, etc. I don't believe a word she says. She loves wars. She wanted the U.S.A. to be at war with Iran even.
    I hope you leave this on for people to read, tired of writing, nothing dirty, and you delete it.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  63. Bob in Fla

    The hardest thing of all Jack. Get people to think, before speaking.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  64. Kevin L

    There shouldn't be any rhetoric..."just the facts please."

    Both sides have something important to them; to say and should be heard. When addressing these concerns; one side or the other is not listening or giving simular weight to the important issues that's being addressed. Bottom line is improve the education in this country and people will understand better what you're trying to say without mixing words.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  65. David in Raleigh, NC

    This hateful rhetoric started when G W Bush was President. The Democrats spewed hateful vitriol the entire eight years Bush was President. Obama is reaping what he and the other Democrats sowed.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  66. S. Santos

    Hate speech is a cheap way to attract and hold attention. Fear motivates the ignorant and superstitious among us. In the short run, these techniques can add members to a party. In the long run, they end in infamy.

    I long for the return of statesmanship and true leadership in government. Intellect, love of country, a vision for a better future- imagine if these characteristics held our attention and our admiration. What a world that would be.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  67. honest John in Vermont

    The Tea Party gang has brought this all on by it's excessively divisive and violent politics and hopefully they will tone it down before they cause the deaths of more innocent people. Targeting people like they did only incites some who will pull the trigger.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  68. tom Bulger Canandaigua

    Watch both your words and your tone. I'm guilty myself of losing my temper but with all the nut jobs out there, we can not afford to fuel the rage.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  69. Dave, British Columbia

    How about assuming personal responsibilty for one's rhetoric? A good start would be thinking before speaking. U.S. partisan politics has become like spoiled children scrapping in a sandbox. ... Please accept my apology for insulting children.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  70. Phil in Los Alamitos, California

    How about if people begin to speak and accept the truth about a person or issue instead of simply picking one rhetorical side or the other? It's fine to comment on Sarah Palin's actions, but there is far more vitriol aimed back at her and that seems to be OK. The media at large enjoys fanning these flames, not just those on the right. There can be no meaningful discussion about such things unless we all agree that both sides need to tone down their respective rhetoric. However, you and many others always seem to conclude that it's only the right who is at fault.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  71. Nancy, Tennessee

    If we look at history to the hateful rhetoric that was spread by Joseph McCarthy and his followers, we find that a newsman was able to discredit him and stop the insanity. Edward R. Murrow exposed the inconsistencies of McCarthyism. We need journalists to expose the crazy statements of people like Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and others. We have to remember freedom of speech, but we have the freedom to refute and dilute their inflamatory remarks.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  72. Michael Armstrong Sr. Tx.

    This can be stopped by stopping the metaphor's and sticking to the facts with politics . There's idiots in this country that dont know the difference between a donkey and a horse and a metaphor and a fact .

    January 10, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  73. FatSean

    How? Stop insinuating that violence is an answer to any of our problems.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  74. jababah

    We'll if they were busy working getting problems solved, there would be less time for rhetoric.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  75. slupdawg

    How to reduce hateful rhetoric? To quote "Pearls Before Swine,"...."Shut Mouf"

    January 10, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  76. Di

    Condolances do not make up for the garbage that spews from the Palins, Daughters included. These people only encourage unbalanced sickos and help cause these tradgedies.Shame on you Palins. God help the USA if she is not stopped.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  77. PAUL

    Hate, like love, is a 2 way street.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  78. Peter... Somerset, NJ

    Unfortunately, the answer may not be attainable. Our leaders have to become more in touch with ALL the realities facing us, economically and socially. The disconnect from both sides is so vast among themselves and the people. Its a joke but not a funny one. History teaches us about the greatest empire(Roman) and how it collapsed from within(imploded) and we are a young nation in comparison and following in its path.
    Now, we have a tragedy on our hands once again and everyone wants to sedate the problem with kind words. Tomorrow the failed leadership from both sides will go back to business as usual. Oh, by the way, ground zero is still vacant, 9 yrs later. Politicians = special interest. Whats happening to my country?

    January 10, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  79. Phil, Jersey

    First Republicans have to get out of the Civil War Stoneage and realize we are all Americans. They should not try to be bullies and threaten 2nd amendment remedies when the country is not following their ideology.
    Maybe the congress should meet outside, publicly and hold inspirational speeches about unity in which both parties have to attend atleast once a month.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  80. Phil, Jersey

    First Republicans have to get out of the Civil War Stoneage and realize we are all Americans. They should not try to be bullies and threaten 2nd amendment remedies when the country is not following their ideology.
    Maybe the congress should meet outside, publicly and hold inspirational speeches about unity in which both parties have to attend atleast once a month.................................

    January 10, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  81. Alvin

    Politicians can begin to work together and stop taking sides. There are two main political groups,democrats and republicans not unlike a football team, offense and defense. The difference is the football teams have to combine the two together to win the game. You see a football team understands that working together in a combined effort is the "only" way they can defeat the opposing team. On the other hand politicians are playing their offense "against" their defense and not the opposing team. It looks like the coach has lost control of the team. I think they have to come to grips with who the opposing team is, and then they can begin the game.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  82. Tim in Texas

    There's no evidential connection between the rhetoric and the recent tragedy; however, the fact that just about everybody thought there might be should give us all pause. Things that used to be considered nutty are being normalized. Conspiracy theories – those are in the realm of the nutty. Witch hunts – same thing. Taking guns to political events? Yep. Asking the nominees for RNC Chair how many guns they own? Yes. Shooting guns in campaign ads. You betcha. Also, terms like 'government takeover', 'death panels', and comparing your political opponent to the Taliban – all should be off the table. "We're Team America" should the slogan of the Congress – we scrimmage against each other – but we're on the same team.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  83. Ed's Kate

    STOP, TAKE A DEEP BREATH, THINK before sounding off.

    Growing up I remember being told to do the above and to remember that it is not so much what you say but how you say it that can cause terrible consequences. How true that is.

    The tragedy of this past weekend should be a wake-up call for everyone not only for those in the political arenas but in all walks of life to do just that – STOP, TAKE A DEEP BREATH & THINK before sounding off about anything.

    My condolences go out to the families of all the deceased and my prayers are with the Congresswoman and all the others who are injured due to this horrendous act of violence.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  84. Margaret

    Politics is not the only culprit of the nasty rhetoric. The cable channels
    including CNN have gotten out of hand in allowing opinions that have gotten ugly and belittling the character of the opposing person. The guy that did the shooting was obviously mentally ill but that didn't stop some from blaming the far right. This should not have been talked about if it was not the case. People are sick of this and it could be the demise of CNN,etc.
    Stick to the news and cut of the sensationalism. We are smart enough to decide the truth.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  85. Darrin R.

    The first way to tone it down is to leave of guns, targets and all weaponry completely out of political talk and ads. We may disagree but we are all Americans and honor our country and constitution. Palin should take responsibility for what she's done, along with all others who have used images and words of violence to make their point. Guns = violence, nothing else! Violent words and images = violence, nothing else. Peace and understanding need to be promoted.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  86. Steve Batts Edna, Kansas

    Hateful rhetoric is one thing, but to use the words "I believe" to make statements over and over and to never renounce birthers and other radicals is asking for this to be repeated. To use targets and the remakes of reload, and to recommend the 2nd amendment a solution instead of the ballot,, suggest to the mentally unbalanced, that is proper call to arms.
    The time has come to hold those responsible for such suggested rhetoric for any damage death or injuries due .to irresponsible individuals

    January 10, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  87. Weldon Schloneger

    It's simple: Argue ideas instead of attacking the people who hold those ideas. [ North Newton, Kansas ]

    January 10, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  88. KDS Irvine, CA

    There is always going to be tension among people when it comes to politics and religion. And racism and prejudice actions will always exist in a country that has multiple cultures. I don't understand why we have to be so hateful when it comes to these issues. What ever happened to disagreeing respectfully?

    January 10, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  89. Steve Batts Edna, Kansas

    Hateful rhetoric is one thing, but to use the words "I believe" to make statements over and over and to never renounce birthers and other radicals is asking for this to be repeated. To use targets and the remarks of reload, and to recommend the 2nd amendment a solution instead of the ballot,, suggest to the mentally unbalanced, that is proper call to arms.
    The time has come to hold those responsible for such suggested rhetoric for any damage death or injuries due .to irresponsible individuals

    January 10, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  90. Bruce from Santa Cruz

    Politicians know that divisive politics works, at least to get them into office. The problem is that once they're in office, they can't accomplish anything because they have to compromise with the very same people that they denegraded to get elected.

    Then you have the Limbaugh's, the Palins, the Hannity's, etc that preach hatred and continuously lie. They lie so much that the populace eventually thinks that it must be true since they heard they same thing a million times.

    The rhetoric won't stop until the American public shows its distain by not voting for those that practice divisive politics. Unfortunately, that means that it will likely never stop.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  91. Mike in Maine

    I think it is necessary to take a good hard look at ourselves in the mirror.

    Finger pointing doesn't do anyone any good. The same remarks can be made about the democrats in 2004 when they called Republicans the Enemy.

    It is time to realize the world is full of crazy people and they will take any message to an extreme.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  92. DGL

    While no one in thei rright mind would be happy about the shootings in Tucson, the conjecture as to it's connection to people like Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, etc. is utter B.S. The liberal media is just looking for an excuse to stiffle those who have are speaking up for the state of our country. Anyone who watched the shooter's ramblings on YouTube can see there is no sold connection between his actions and the attitudes espoused by the conservative right, Republicans in general or the Tea Party, let alone anyone specifically.

    C'mon, media fearmongers, give it a rest. And while you're at it, instead of beating your chests about this being another example of why we should ban weapons, how about publishing the stories of how weapons in the hands of good people have saved countless lives? Put those on your front pages instead ignoring them.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  93. Richard Griffith

    "The Tea Party movement, which has also been a cauldron of inflammatory rhetoric, is distancing itself from the tragedy, condemning what happened."

    "But even if there is no direct correlation here, people such as Palin could bear some indirect responsibility for the mindset of the shooter and others like him."


    We don't know the mindset of the shooter yet. We do know he has mental health issues, so what does that have to do with politics, Palin, Tea Party or Yogi Bear. Nothing. It's innuendo like yours that makes no sense,

    But you keep mentioning Palin – like she has any chance to win anything. Give us some credit will you?

    January 10, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  94. Pockets

    Jack has pretty well summed it all up and the architect of the hate is Sarah Palin, its all she knows. Have you heard her say anything positive about anything? Its her shctick to be a meany mouth. It doesn't require any intelligence and so she just opens her yap and out comes the trash. She is a nobody and if I were her, I'd stay up there in A laska and keep an eye on Russia. What a numb skull.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  95. John Berger

    So now we should "reduce rehetoric" to pander to the lowest level of deranged thinking? Maybe you should publish a new list of inappropriate words and phrases that could be made illegal. Maybe our first socialist administration can get a new czar.
    Maybe all you liberals should spend a few weeks in Alaska living without your credit cards and learn to survive.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  96. Dan

    We have become a nation that is obsessed with immature and impulsive behavior. Watch 5 minutes of most reality tv shows or daytime talk shows and you'll see adults acting like out-of-control children. Whether it's the rich "housewives" or the impoverished "baby daddies", we can't seem to look away. We seem to adore children who misbehave. Children who curse used to have their mouths washed out with soap. Now their antics are posted on youtube (see the little kid repeatedly saying "truck" at the encouragement and hysterics of the "adults" around him). It's time to call this obsession for what it is – juvenile and destructive. Things will change when adults start acting like adults and stop paying so much attention to and promoting the trash that is peddled to the populace. This is why I don't have a t.v. anymore!

    January 10, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  97. Timothy Best

    A calm and sane person myself, the Tea Party and Sarah Palin drive me to bursts of verbal anger. Imagine the effect they may have on someone who is already teetering on the brink of sanity. While this atrocity committed against innocent people, including Gabrielle Giffords, is not the direct result of any one individual other than Jared Lee Loughner, this would be a great time for Sarah Palin and others to admit the rhetoric they espouse creates an environment that may lead people to act out of the ordinary.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  98. Lisa Jackson

    I continue to read on other news sites that the current inflammatory state of the political scene is no worse than in the past including times like the Revolution, Civil War, etc. My question is should we continue in the same path just because our forefathers, did? Was it really effective and necessary? Don't we have a chance to learn from it and be better for it? Giffords "premonition" says it all. Those who make the violent suggestions must realize there are consequences. Well, now we know what those are.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  99. Wayne

    Only strong action will tame the hate talk. Take away the FCC license from any broadcaster who airs hateful and threatening speech. Sue those who post threats over the internet. Hold responsible those who preach violence and hate. If we don't do any of these things, we face living in a society ruled by fear and violence.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  100. Cynda

    Make people responsible for the hateful rhetoric. Hateful rhetoric is a hate crime, yet we treat it as news because it's sensational. Used to be a time in television where even commercials were screened for violence, even in local TV production, because of the suggestive nature for mental unstable people. Television is a powerful medium. Crazy people do crazy things. Giving them even crazier ideas is the craziest thing of all.

    When people use violent suggestions, like Palin does, they should be charged as accessories to the crimes that get committed as a result.

    January 10, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  101. Gigi Oregon

    Don't vote for a unstable person running for office. Or a party that is always contrary to the opposing party. In a Democracy compromise is a tool of respect. Bulling in Congress ends up in the school play ground over a period of time. I was taught we learn much of what we understand and do by watching others. Sometimes that's too bad.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  102. keith woodley

    Read the Yahoo News article on the interview with Bryce Tierney, a friend of the alleged shooter. It does not appear to be Palin's fault or any other person, or the rhetoric of any other person.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  103. Ann from Charleston SC

    Each of us needs to see what we ourselves are doing to contribute to the problem. Being a South Carolinian who is “from off’ as they say around here, I am surrounded by opinions with which I totally disagree. Reading the editorial page could do great damage to my blood pressure if I let it. I decided to read these opinions and try to find something I can agree with in each piece. If I can’t, I can at least acknowledge that the writer views the world from a lens different from mine – at least most of the time I can. We,- citizens, media personnel and members of Congress – all need to listen to each other with an open mind, and learn to disagree respectfully.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  104. Steve from AL

    Where were you with this question when Obama said that democrats should face their enemy

    When bill ayers said he didn't,t do enough

    How about the rhetoric of imams.........was this guy a Muslim?????

    No, wouldnt you know it.......he was a leftist, commo, pot smoker, drop out.

    Instead of you condemning him, you provide him a wall to hide behind......you, CNN, and the democratic party are jokes.

    Who is to blame.......the guy who did this is to blame

    Shut up and quit whining.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  105. Penelope Byrns

    It always amazes me that people who yell fire in a crowded theater always seem surprised when someone gets squashed. Saying "just kidding" after the fact rarely does any good.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  106. Amy MacCallum

    It would stop if the media stopped turning it into news and fanning the flames.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  107. dave holderer

    cant we be honest here and admit it isnt both sides at fault here. ITS THE CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS! they are the ones saying that liberals are destroying your country, taking away your liberties and so on. cmon be honest jack!

    January 10, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  108. Tim, Parker, CO

    In my mind, the problem stems from a lack of leadership. The nation is no longer divided by Left and Right. The Left and Right no longer take their cues from the Democrats or the Republicans. We have a system that tells everyone to be "independent", but penalizes them in the primary's if they aren't D or R. The lines don't exist and no one respects another.

    A stronger leadership structure for minority parties might improve rhetoric and relations. Allow people to register Socialist or Green and caucus with the Democrats. Allow people to register Libertarian or Tea Party and caucus with the Republicans.

    P.S. Since the shooter was a left-leaning socialist, might it be that he was reviewing The Daily Kos' site on how Giffords was "Dead to me" (the left) and had a target on her head? Sounds like the left might have more responsibility than Palin at this point....

    January 10, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
  109. Reed from NYC

    So let's get this straight....Palin said she hates violence, but she still condones the use of insidious rhetoric which can provoke violence. Isn't that a bit hypocritical? It's the same as extremist Christians or extremist Muslims killing in the name of God. These people use evil strategy to coerce the public while trying to validate their convoluted beliefs. Like Loughner, they should be deemed mentally unstable. Whether one holds a position of power or public office is irrelevant... the price for violent perpetuation in our society should be that of complete social & legal repudiation.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
  110. Judy

    It is so sad that we have to wait until something horrible like this happens before we start to condemn this type of rhetoric. The Limbaughs and Palins of the world are surely not the only ones, but they are the ones who cross my mind first when I think of why this has happened. Why? because they are the ones who get the most publicity when they make inflammatory remarks. The media in turn makes sure EVERYBODY gets to hear what they said. Lately I have been turning off the news because I am so offended when I hear them talking. Maybe this is our wake-up call.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
  111. JT

    How about you stop blaming political rivals for every high-profile event out there? The guy was nuts, went nuts, and had nothing to do with right-wing nuts. Stop trying to make cheap political points and address the real issue – a nut was wandering the streets and nobody did anything to lock him up.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
  112. kazz

    i hate to say it, but my gut tells me the only thing that will tone down the rhetoric is enough escalated violence for people to finally agree enough is enough

    January 10, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
  113. larry brett,indiana

    instead of making excuses for Sarah Palin, the Republican Party and its auxilliary,the Teapot Party, tell the truth about their crosshair ads, the gun retoric ,their bigotry.their hate politics,their lies about anything that does not aid the greedy. CNN and Fox news gave birth to the
    Teapot Party. As far as I am concerned the blame is on you not the nuts you formented by giving voice to groups who can't even define what they are for or how they would accomplish their goals. You did it because they were good press not accurate or good news

    January 10, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  114. Jeff North Carolina

    Tone down the hateful rhetoric? How about electing politicians who take the good of the people as their primary responsibility instead of their special interests and political ideology. That way they can work together for the common good of this nation and put the rhetoric aside.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  115. DMB in Anchorage, AK

    Unfortunately, there's no way to tone down a person's hateful rhetoric. This also isn't Sarah Palin's fault. It hasn't gone without notice that the most hateful, divisive comments come from the anonymous bloggers and commenters to most any story online. Then the rest of us read this garbage and feel like reaching for an airsick bag. We could tone it down if hateful people couldn't hide behind an anonymous screen name, and had to put their email address out there for rebuttals. **sigh** It'll never happen.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  116. Dave, Orlando, FL

    You have to admit that it’s a very clever way to assassinate someone yet be untouchable by the law. And I hope the subterfuge here hasn’t been lost on anyone. All a mindless lunatic like Palin has to do is to post a bunch of gun sight crosshairs on the internet for every deranged individual to see and when that nut case goes over the edge, Palin, Angle and their ilk can claim they had nothing to do with it and that they deplore such actions. (What the hell did they expect would happen?) But that way they literally get away with murder – just like the anti-abortionists do. Their feigned shock and horror is 100% disingenuous. But make no mistake, they are more guilty of murder than the nut case who pulls the trigger – at least he has an excuse. It doesn’t matter what the individual’s “reasons” are, political or not, in their unhinged minds they have been given all the encouragement they need.

    The other side of that coin is that if they really and truly had no idea their goading statements would have that effect, they have completely disqualified themselves from any form of public office forever. And that should be clear to anyone with the IQ of a banana peel. But then half of us already knew that.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  117. AJ

    I congratulate you for candidly speaking out on the incendiary rhetoric and laying responsibility on those who fuel it, left or right. There will most certainly be more horrific violence if the issue is not addressed.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  118. Bill Hyder

    Just stop defending the use of violent imagery in political discourse and pointing fingers at one another. It does not matter who said what, it is time to shake hands and agree that we might disagree on political issues. That is what it means to live in a democracy.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  119. steve - virginia beach

    You tell me, Jack. The media broke it so the media owns it. It's the media who owns the cameras, the media who employs the reporters, and the media who publishes and broadcasts what they do... like immediately trying to tie Palin to the attempted assassination without knowing whether the shooter even saw the advertisement and while being aware that the mere mention of Palin's name incites liberals. And it's the producers and editors who control all of the above. So... how can we tone down the hateful rhetoric? You guys broke it, you guys fix it.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  120. Michelle in Tallahassee

    The media has to tone down their rhetoric first. Rather than trying to blame this man's actions on Sarah Palin, it would be better for the media to focus on the fact that this man was sick, that the mental health community failed him, and that he alone is responsible for his actions.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  121. Dan Armstrong, Bakersfield, CA

    A good start would be to quit contributing to it yourself, Jack.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  122. Burbank from CA

    They can just stop, period, and act like adults for a change. Besides Palin's cross hairs on a map and reload talk, what about the repeated episodes of Drill, bably drill! Kill! Kill! Kill! shouted by Republican supporters at the 2008 stump stops??? Anyone bother to notice that 99% of this brute, knuckle scraper violent stuff comes from the GOP?? Limbaugh, Beck, Palin.... Imagine that!

    January 10, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  123. Cb79

    Look at the that punk's mugshot. Political rhetoric had nothing to do with this. That being said, how would you classify your rhetoric over the years? Angry comes to mind. But I don't believe you will shoot a 9 year old girl.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  124. Phil

    @Dave – so when republicans are in power the left isn't yelling that they are destroying this country? Really? You don't remember how the dems reacted to Bush or Reagan or Nixon for that matter. That type of rhetoric has been present on both sides since I was a child and I am sure it goes back further than that. Grow up if you only think it is one side that attacks and is hateful to the other.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
  125. Stephanie

    Perhaps if news sources like CNN would go back to reporting the news and stop the endless nonsense of having two entrenched people from either side talk over each other, misrepresent the "facts" and show outward disdain for each other would cool down the rhetoric. Interviewers seldom call thenm out for their untruths.

    To continually report what people say or write as the truth as in :death panels" makes the media as responsible for heating up the caustic tone that exists in America today.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
  126. George Hollingsworth

    As a retired military member with multiple deployments to the middle east, I've been subjected to terrorist attacks and witnessed the sad results of them. The definition for terrorism is:
    "The calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear."
    I submit to all Americans that the "rhetoric" we've heard counts as terrorism and should be treated as such. We need to have laws in place to prosecute ANYONE, no matter what their position is in society, for inciting these feelings.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
  127. Nurse Lisa in Shelton CT

    Limiting free speech is tough to swallow until someone becomes a shooter or a reprehensible nutty "church" plans to protest at a 9 yr old's funeral to gain even publicity from the media who fuels their exposure. Maybe we could hold rabble-rousing speech makers, twits, and pundits accountable for inflammatory comments that directly incited violence, much the same way we hold bartenders guilty when drinkers then cause DUI accidents & deaths. Sure the bartenders or Palin weren't meaning for anyone under their influence or in their map's crosshairs to get hurt, but they did.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
  128. William

    Ah, now I see... so now it is political rhetoric; rather than rock & roll, violent TV & movies or video games that is at the heart of violent behavior.

    I volunteer to be part of the group receiving grant money to study how particularly nasty political posturing can affect the developing brain.

    The carousel goes round and round with nary a new tune to play.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
  129. Jeff of Peoria

    I put it right on you guys in the media. You eat this up.
    Jeff of Peoria IL

    January 10, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  130. Edward

    Even if the Secret Service, FBI, and Homeland security doesn't storm Sara Palin's compound and finally "vet" and investigate
    her incitement of violence against elected officials, she should at least think about taking responsibility for the ignorance
    of her words. That's if she has a conscience, Jack, which I doubt.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  131. D/St Louis

    We can tone down the hateful rhetoric by toning down the hateful media:e,g Fox.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  132. Mark

    There are no comments so hateful that they should manifest themselves in a prurient justification of homicidal bloodletting. To those who lay this, in whole or in part, at the alter of hatred or bigotry entirely miss the point of living in an open and free society-to say nothing of excusing a system that allows the demonstrably mentally ill to procure firearms and ammunition.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  133. ednan171

    The title of the article is "How to Tone Down the Hateful Rhetoric". Then Cafferty goes on to blame Sarah Palin, a lame explanation for this tragedy.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  134. Rhymeskeema

    Freedom of speech means you never have to tone down the rhetoric. Of course, you are responsible for your own actions.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  135. Buffalo Bill

    If a conservative was shot, would the "hateful" rhetoric have to be toned down? It certainly wasn't an issue when Ronald Reagan was shot!

    Sure didn't take long for this to become a political crusade against speech, and more specifically conservative speech. Hope in tonights college football championship game, neither team goes into the "shotgun" formation on offense!

    January 10, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  136. Ron, WA

    The media could stop egging on the “headline grabbing” rhetoric; the media could also stop covering rhetoric that doesn’t truly meet the definition of “hard news” & is purely sensationalistic – both would go a long way to cool things down & keeping the peanut gallery from feeding the fire.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  137. JayDeeT

    In politics as in other aspects of life, the loudest bullies are the real cowards. In our current political environment, the loudest bullies are the right-wing cowards. In previous times, it was the left-wing,but today, there are new dimensions fuelling the invective and hate-mongering of the radical right: (1) the election of an Afro-American president and, (2) the rise of the "Tea Party" response to that election. These two events are occurring during severe economic turmoil, thereby raising the fear and hate level even higher. The best we can do right now it to confront, straight-on, these political hate mongers and bullies, identify them for what they really are, and expose their craft for all to see and denounce.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  138. Doyle Thomas

    I don't know if we can ever get politicians to be civil, but the media including cnn to broadcast every stupid statement that comes out of their mouths. Yes. it may be news to you, but is it necessary to spread the hate the political parties throw at each other. Sarah would not be the spark she has become if the MEDIA didn't print every thing she says or does.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  139. fastball

    Yes, you have a right to free speech....but what about the obligation to accept responsibility for what comes out of your mouth?
    Seems to me there's a whole lot of saying-whatever-you-want going on...and a whole lot of ducking and running when it comes time to justify what you just said.
    My father used to give me a cuff on the side of the head whenever I said something really stupid....sometimes I wish we could do a bit more of that.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  140. Adele Lott

    What can we do to tone down the hateful rhetoric in this country? Rediscover civility.

    Hartwick, NY

    January 10, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  141. Den!s

    easy, arrest Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and charge them with sedition.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  142. jP

    Why not start at the top...look at what we get from our leader...why should we expect more from others?

    * “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” Barack Obama in July 2008

    * “I want you to argue with them and get in their face!” Barack Obama, September 2008

    * “Here’s the problem: It’s almost like they’ve got — they’ve got a bomb strapped to them and they’ve got their hand on the trigger. You don’t want them to blow up. But you’ve got to kind of talk them, ease that finger off the trigger.” Barack Obama on banks, March 2009

    * “I don’t want to quell anger. I think people are right to be angry! I’m angry!” Barack Obama on ACORN Mobs, March 2010

    * “We talk to these folks… so I know whose ass to kick.” Barack Obama on the private sector, June 2010

    * “A Republican majority in Congress would mean ‘hand-to-hand combat’ on Capitol Hill for the next two years, threatening policies Democrats have enacted to stabilize the economy.” Barack Obama, October 6, 2010

    * “We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us.” Barack Obama to Latinos, October 2010

    January 10, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  143. Mark, PA

    The GOP needs to stop letting the Tea Party loons run the asylum.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  144. Warren Throckmorton

    One thing you could do Mr. Cafferty is stop making correlations where there are none. Sarah Palin has an indirect responsibility for the mindset of the shooter is irresponsible on your part. No evidence for any connection exists and by making one you have continued the cycle.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  145. John Meadows

    The crosshairs are metaphorical, nothing more. They should probably be removed out of common decency, but to start legislating political speech and condemning people for aggressive tone is completely out of line. I seem to remember hearing a lot of tongue-in-cheek threats against Bush when he was president.

    Where there are passionate people, so follows passionate talk. The difficult task is to find and prevent lunatics from doing such things. Andrew Cunanan, John Hinckley, Jr and Mark David Chapman didn't need political rhetoric to make them shoot somebody. They were crazy.

    This is a tragedy. But lets not be too hasty or the next victim of this Loughner character might just be the First Amendment.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  146. RJN

    I just watched Mr.Cafferty contribute to the assasination of those on the right, while condemning the very thing he does day in and day out.

    Shame on this spineless media big mouth.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  147. Kathleen

    In order to tone down the rhetoric, Sean Hannity, Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and the likes would have to be taken off the air. Come to think of it, Fox News would have to be taken off the air.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  148. Matthew

    Charge Palin right next to Loughner and make her do time with him. Maybe then she and others will understand that words can influence and hurt people!

    January 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  149. Kenric Brooks

    Get rid of politicians!

    Frederick, MD

    January 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  150. Fed Up

    Well Jack, how do we turn down he hateful rhetoric? Well, you can start with yourself. To say that Palin is somehow responsible for this is inflammatory rhetoric. Palin wasn't even on the radar so to speak when this nut job began his obsession with Giffords. Obama wasn't a household world.

    Journalism standards became extinc when 24/7 news hosts had to invent the news.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  151. Graham W.

    After the shooting in AZ, I went on the Palin website designating the 20 people that her group was "targeting" last November. It was disgusting to see the map of "targets" with scope crosshairs on them. Both sides of the aisle need to tell it lie it is. "If we can't do it with ballots, we'll do it with bullets." Where do these nut jobs get their education? On the back of a magazine? If our country is lucky, these "patriots" will just simply shut up and go away.


    January 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  152. Larry Niler

    There's a point where free speech ends and inciting a riot, conspiracy, or accomplice to a crime begins. When rhetoric encourages violence, and violence actually occurs, those spewing that rhetoric should be held accountable. It's irrelevant whether the shooter is a card-carrying member of the group(s) doing the talking. A mentally ill person can be manipulated to carry out what others have verbalized. Those who encourage violence need to be punished.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  153. frankie

    What can we do to tone it down, Jack? One thing may be for you to stop bringing up Palen and the Tea Party as possible causes for this tragedy. This young killer had problems long before the Tea Party existed. Other lone killers had their own agenda. Don't bring politics and your view into this horrible act.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  154. Mark

    I can't believe Cafferty speaking about we need to tone down this rhetoric, then he simply targets republicans. If you're talking about toning down rhetoric, perhaps you should look in the mirror.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  155. maria

    Do no give air time to all these coments. We discuss all the worst
    to much to long on the air. Also some media announcers ask
    questions like they are digging for something that is not there.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  156. Karrie from PA

    I really don't know what can be done, if anything. When hate language and metaphors to violence are badges of one's political views (also touted as their values), this country is in trouble. My child cannot use the words: gun or bomb or allude to violence in her public school as it incites panic. So why is it her adult role models (policiticans) can use this language with such ease?

    January 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  157. Peggy, St. Louis

    How about Congress modeling good behavior by working together for the good of the country?? What we need are some good bipartisan bills to improve the economy, job outlook, lower the deficit and, yes, allow affordable health care for all.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  158. Gary in New York City

    Just turn off hate radio and tune out FOX. If listeners and viewers don't patronize this junk media, sponsors will stop buying air time and this format will change.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  159. Pat in AZ

    All the shouting about violent rhetoric in the health-care debate, immigration legislation, the SarahPAC ad ignore the facts that have emerged - the shooter first became angry with GG in 2007 and has borne a grudge since because she did not, in his opinion, adequately answer his question: "What is government then if language means nothing?" Please, National Figures, don't incite more anger by using this for your own agenda on gun control, the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, etc. Irrational acts defy reasonable explanations, quit trying to make this a reasoned act!!!

    January 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  160. Peg

    Eliminate any references or suggestive language about the use of violence or weapons. Eliminate name-calling and labeling.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  161. Art

    Easy enough, Jack. Turn off Fox. Turn off Rush. Tell their advertisers how offended you are by their hate speech. Money talks. If they can't sell their advertising, they'll change their tune.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  162. James Blair

    Our religious leaders could take the lead.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  163. Patsy from Kansas

    An incident like this and all the other shootings have been long time coming and we are all responsible. We have taken God, prayer and respect for each other out of the schools and replaced them with guns, bullying, irresponsibility, etc. Nothing seems to be wrong these days. If I don’t get caught it is okay and if I do get caught I can blame someone else for my wrong doing. Sarah Palin could talk 24/7 and I wouldn’t know what she has said if CNN didn’t tell me over and over. Maybe the news networks need to look at what they broadcast over and over on the airwaves. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could have a news station that would broadcast all the good things people do in our country as we have good wonderful people living in the USA.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  164. Harold

    What can be done? How about less heat on cable news, including your own shoes with their one side/the other side simplification of the issues, the discussions that are so abbreviated that they complexities are ignored and only confrontational slogans are put out, and the focus of the news stories on strategy and confrontation rather than on the nuances of the issues? Even now, Jack, you guys are going with the sexy, confrontational political aspect of the story rather than, say, gun control and the insane freedom Arizonans, even crazy ones, have to carry concealed semi-automatics. Clean up your own house, Jack.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  165. Reuben

    Ban Talk radio

    January 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  166. David Peterson

    Find out what companies sponsor Rush Limbaugh (and others of that ilk) and boycott their products. Affecting their pocketbooks is something we could do if enough people participate.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  167. Don Meskie

    Unlike many people, I don't think it would be fruitful to shut down FOX, MSNBC, etc. However, I cannot understand how Fox can be remotely viewed as a "News" source, since it does not feature much news. I think that as sources of opinion, all of these entities are fine, probably even good for a democracy.

    However, I would immediately look at laws allowing anonymous blogging. The blood sport of blogging has become one of the real enemies of freedom and democracy by allowing unproven salacious information to be put into the public realm without any vetting, responsibility, or journalistic standards.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  168. Brad

    Perhaps by less news coverage. If the words and signs were not heard or displayed every five minutes on multiple channels, it might not incite as much reaction.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  169. David

    It is important for Congress to do the people's business, which is not foreign war and making the rich richer, but truly addressing the people's needs, assisting in education, really making healthcare affordable and accessible, and jobs as the primary focus. Then there will be a lot less anger and hatred in the country. By leaving many people behind, by not placing the peoples' real needs first, by falsely calling doctor recommended end of life counseling "death panels' to discourage health care reform, public officials fall short of serving the public in the ways that are most needed. Focus on homeland security, not foreign invasion will help too.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  170. Mauro

    If politics were base thrut and facts (the way it was intended) the USA will be a better place. Too much hate in AM radio, too much lies about our leaders, is a constant put down of people that are trying to fix problems created most of the times by the GOP.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  171. Andy

    Violence usually starts with shouting, so why don't we stop shouting at each other and TALK to each other instead?

    January 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  172. Linda Weiss

    How to stop the rhetoric? Get people like you off the air that is how!
    To even bring the Tea Party and Sarah Palin into the discussion is ridiculous. Your are politicising a horrible situation! The guy clearly had issues and was a "nut" case!

    January 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  173. Phil

    For those that want to hold people accountable for making remarks that can be deemed as hateful and lead to possible violence I have a question for you. What is considered hateful speech? Many on this board are attacking the right and people like Palin for their speech. What if a crazy person right now reads these messages, gets enraged by them and decides to attack Palin based on the comments on these boards. Should we hold the people on this board who attack Palin responsible for her injury in that case? Or is it not hateful when the things being said agree with your point of view? Where is the line? What should the line be in a FREE country?

    January 10, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  174. John

    The only way to tone down the rhetoric is to STOP the growth of the federal government. Government paid for health care, growth of the welfare/nanny state, and out of control federal spending are enraging many Americans. Stop the growth of federal government and return power to the states and this type of behavior will go away.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  175. Michael Amrhein

    Try this Jack: Follow your own suggestions. The hateful rhetoric spews from both sides. Attempting to pin the blame for a senseless event like the one in Tucson on Sarah Palin or the Tea Party is essentially no different than placing crosshairs over congressional districts. Get it right. This lunatic killed innocent people, not democrats.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  176. Tillie / Texas

    Send Sarah Palin back to Alaska and send John Boehner home with his bags in hand!!!! See ya!!!

    January 10, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  177. Jon Q Publique

    Hey, how about pointing the finger @ the that Kenyan Kommie in the White House? Is it ok for him to call the entire Republican Party "terrorists" because they don't knuckle under?

    Hey Bob Kobs, this goes for you too, mr hypocrite. your leftist buddies are the ones who arrogants think god speaks only to them and they have the word of god, so that anyone who disagrees is committing "hate speech". Get real and shut up!

    January 10, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  178. Mike

    Jack -

    the only way to get control of the heated rhetoric is to hold people responsible for their actions. the first amendment does NOT protect speech that insights violence. Palin and that woman in Arizona who advocated second amendements remedies should be charged with felonies in this case.


    January 10, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  179. Robert McQueen

    when the tone is no longer "them versus us" (as the right so often says) then we will see honest discussions in American politics. For now, it remains a conversation aimed at division, and inciting anger WITHOUT responsibility or consequences.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  180. LJ Estey

    When will the media spend as much time talking about this guy's liberal leaning instead of ranting about the tea party. Most of the inflammatory comments and hate speech I've heard lately comes fromthe left not the right. The last electtion proves people are tired of these propogandist assertions–Sarah Palin causing this? Please–Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi have done more real harm to
    this country than that! This tragedy is the result of a nutjob acting on his own volition–not the tea party. Besides according to Harry Reid, the economic genius, the tea party will go away as soon as the economy improves–that statement is about as accurate as any blaming this on conservative Americans.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  181. Chris

    What really needs to happen is these politicians need to stop using our emotions as tools to get our votes and support. Each party makes the other party their enemy and no one actually looks at the logic of the situation. Use American Brains, not Abusing American emotions.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  182. Jamison

    It is imperative that the Second Amendment be re-written in order to be effective and relevant in today's society. Safety is one thing, but when it is legal to conceal weapons (handguns especially), it becomes a tool to perform heinous violence. Concealment serves little purpose other than to catch unsuspecting targets by surprise.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  183. Bob fom Long Island

    How do you tone down the rhetoric? Take a page from Jon Steward of the Daily Show. He had a Rally for Sanity back in October. The talking heads who been stoking this fire should stop and take note.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  184. Dan in Boston

    Palin should be charged with Incitement to violence for her internet transmission of photos with crosshairs superimposed. This is bad politics for America – speech is fine but rabel-rousing is not.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  185. Charles

    Would really love to see News go back to providing facts and information and much less commentary.

    A website with a breakdown of the budget and let politicians and the voters make their cuts and tax choices to balance the budget. No more games.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  186. Philip

    My grandpa often said "Simmer down. Simmer down." I add to that "Take personal responsibility."

    January 10, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  187. Melissa

    The reason for this so called "hateful rhetoric" is due to the frustration people feel at not being heard or understood by their elected leaders. One crazy man takes aim at innocent people and the wacko democrats and liberal media has to blame the tea party or Sarah Palin...give me a break!

    January 10, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  188. calvin

    I have given up on those right wing Americans that appear to eat up those hateful comments that continue to be made, almost daily, especially by right wing talk radio. America needs to stand up to and continually condemn that hateful rhetoric that is routinely used to fan the flames of hatred and bigotry. We are supposed to be Americans first.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  189. Lori Golden

    It has to start from the top. When Mitch McConnell said the GOP just wants Obama to fail.... what kind of positive talk is that? Whether on the right or the left or the Tea Party, repetition of words that talk about failure... re-loading.... shooting guns seeps into the subconcience of all who hears it. It's the more unstable who act on it. Words have comsequences and people need to learn how to talk and work together for positive outcomes as evidenced by the successful Lame Duck Congress.

    Lori in Northridge, CA

    January 10, 2011 at 6:23 pm |

    Highly publicize boycotting the products advertised on the stations that have talking heads who spew the psycho talk whether it be on the left or right.


    January 10, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  191. Fred from Vermont

    Who are we kidding Jack? Have you ever tuned into Fox News ? They fuel the uninformed with lies and hate and then laugh all the way to the bank. Unfortunately this kind of talk sells. Is there intelligent life on earth? One really has to wonder.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  192. Baler Twine

    People need to be held accountable for their actions. Remember the Chicago 7, the 1968 Democratic Convention, the charges of inciting a riot? We need these crazy right-wingers to be charged similarly. You put cross-hairs on a map, you say "no retreat, reload instead", and then someone ends up getting shot, you go to jail. Problem solved. No hiding under a rock until the furor blows over.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  193. Mary


    I have often been confounded by the anger and hatred perpetuated by those ancient fueds: Sunnis and Shiites, Muslims and Hindus, Israelis and Palestinians. But they seemed far away and not very threatening to me. It scares me to think that in this country there might be some who would actually consider violence and death an appropriate response to someone who does not share their political, religious or social views. That is not the way it's done here. Not ever. Please let us never forget that.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  194. andy in pinehurst, nc

    Speech Police. Hell, the government regulates everything else!

    January 10, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  195. Alan

    How to tone down the rhetoric? Get rid of these hateful voices that are spewing the media from Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, The tea Party. You are part of the media, do whatever you can in you're power to stop them from poisoning more Americans, especially cold blooded animals like Jared Lougner. If not, these voices will continue to be heard in the media and this horrible act that took place will probably happen again because I guarantee there are more people out there who are just like this kid who are eating it up. This young, demented, cold blooded kid I can bet was influenced by these voices. The sad part is that there's millions of people in this country that give these hateful voices ratings. How sad is it that this country has turned into this.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  196. Keith Jones

    Jack, as long as individuals continue to offer violence as a possible remedy as Sharon Angle did (a 2nd Amendment remedy) and so called news outlets like Fox give free time to expose these views which to some makes them seem legitimate, we can do nothing to tone down the hateful rhetoric. Sarah Palin and others can continue to distance themselves from events like this but no matter how hard they try. The shooter in this case is probably unbalanced and I don't care if he leans right of left, I'm confident that he was influenced by the tone and the words that he heard from people like Palin, Angle and Bachmann. Having guns everywhere doesn't help.

    Keith, Lewisville

    January 10, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  197. Josue Baile

    I think people are missing the point. The problem, from my perspective, is that people in Arizona are actually sick of being flooding with illegal immigrants, and are even sicker that the mainstream media and the government have essentially thrown them under the bus; that comics posing as "objective journalists" condescendingly call them to "restore sanity" (accusing them of being "insane") - or else risk being branded a racist!

    January 10, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  198. Hannah Sibeth

    There will always be retoric in politics. It's the vitriol that is the problem. How to tone it down? Behave like civilized thoughtfull
    people who the center left and right can listen to. Maybe more
    people will actually get out and vote and for the right politicians.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  199. Jim

    The hateful rhetoric won't stop. Many who are apart of this are already distancing themselves and claiming it has nothing to do with the actions of these disturbed people. Funny that those making the claim are the same ones who complain that Rappers and their lyrics are to blame for the killing of law enforcement officers and domestic abuse.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  200. Lauren

    It isn't just the past two years. The hateful rhetoric started under the Clinton administration, intensified under the second Bush administration, and now has reached the point where when a political person is shot, the first thing people want to do is blame the opposing party. Using the act of this particular madman as a political bludgeon to silence the party you disagree with is not just irresponsible, it's reprehensible. How do we tone down the rhetoric? Start by taking a hard look in the mirror.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  201. sandra

    To start with they all need to go back to kindergarten to relearn how to act. Somewhere along the line they all forgot that words have meaning and you need to think before you you speak.

    The next step would be to hold all of those out there who suggested that the 2nd ammendant was a good remedy responsible, this includes those that use targets on faces. They were there whether or not they pulled the trigger. They incited a person to take lives and critically injure others.


    January 10, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  202. Tyler Fournier

    the rhetoric is only a symptom of a greater problem in our country. the lack of action. we'll probably never get to hear this individuals reasons, but I'm sure his frustrations had something to do with our government, or the manipulation and exploitation of it by those that are "elected". I'm sure he won't be the last. until people feel like their words aren't just being heard, but actually acted upon, the divide between the haves and the have nots will only widen, the frustration and violence will increase.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  203. Curtis Harvey

    Every example you gave was from conservatives. Is there any proof that conservative talk created this monster, or are you just assuming? Is it possible that this nut is a left winger who thought the congresswoman was not left wing enough? I've got a novel idea, lets blame it on the NUT rather than left or right wing chatter.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  204. Sam from Florida

    What a tragedy, a nine year old child shot dead for no reason at all. With violence on television, in movies and video games, evil doesn't need self-absorbed politicians' hate rhetoric to help spur its agenda – neither do we, come to think of it. What a sad world we have wrought.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  205. Kevin

    Jack, I would not blame the tea party movement or Sarah Palin indirectly for the shooting. And the hateful rhetoric started well before the election of President Obama. The left perpetuated less than ideal language during the Bush presidency. One event doesn't suggest that our country is suddenly becoming politically violent. It is also important to point out that the shooter is a registered independent and did not even vote in the mid-term election. Clearly, he is simply a deranged killer.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  206. Steve

    Remember "It's the Economy, Stupid" or "The War on Poverty"? Was that incendiary or insulting, Jack? Politics is filled with language cloaked with double speak. The only person to blame is the shooter. Shame on you for mocking the Tea Party and Mrs. Palin – who you degrade on what seems like a daily basis.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  207. Rob Schmidt

    It's amazing to me how with no evidence of a connection to tea party or any other group, biased leaning commentators such as yourself comment that we who disagree with government irresponsiblity should shut-up and get on board.. Check your facts first Mr. Know-it-all

    January 10, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  208. Joe Kennedy

    What can be done? In Representative Gifford's own words, "actions must have consequences". Freedom of speech does not allow anyone to falsely scream fire in a crowded theater, and those who incite anyone to commit violence should be not allowed to do so either. It is intuitively obvious to the most casual observer that this is a clear case that there were those who incited this person to commit violence.
    Joe Kennedy, Buford Georgia

    January 10, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  209. AmberKeeseckerTN

    Until conservatives decide to stop using hateful and violent rhetoric to incite fear in their supporters things will never change.... I don't understand where Fear, Hate and Violence have any place in "Traditional American Values." What about peace, love and grace????????

    January 10, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  210. Zoey Blair

    We teach our children to "use their words" and not their fists. This needs to be the rhetoric for adults. But, what do you do with adult "bullies" who use their weapons?
    Zoey Blair, Sylvania, Ohio

    January 10, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  211. JLC

    A good start would be to throw a lot of these pompous windbags out of congress who put the good of The People well behind their own personal fortunes.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  212. Linda Baker

    Taking Rush off the radio, and Beck off TV & Radio would probably help.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  213. Gail

    Try not giving a voice to the wackos in the world. There is no reason that Palin and others who spew their venom need to have a voice in the media....except for corporate greed. They increase ratings and make money for the media moguls. If these people weren't considered newsworthy then their hate wouldn't get broadcast as wide as it does.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  214. Arnold MI

    Haves, have nots, have everything, have nothing. I am sure we can find something to fight over!

    January 10, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  215. Phil

    I swear I read that this guy was a left wing guy.....yet it is the right being blamed for their speech by the obvious left on these boards. How funny. Do you really think a left wing nutbag is listening to people like Palin and taking orders? Really? You common sense tells you that left nutjobs listen to Palin? Keep saying that and maybe one day in LALA land it will make sense. Good lord people. And some of you want to convict the likes of Palin right now. I guess the whole innocent until proven guilty is out the window. I guess collecting the facts is out the window. Let's just jump to conclusions to make the "other" side look guilty at all times no matter what. Yet you don't think you are part of the problem. LOL....actually sadness

    January 10, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  216. Judith Wagner

    If more in the media had the courage to state the facts as you just did, we might be on our way to changing the toxic rhetoric pervading current politics. Let each of us decide as individuals to practice nonviolent speech. It is a start.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  217. ron....Michigan

    Now that the horse is out of the barn and the damage is done, those in congress and other parts of the government want to hawl out their guns and "Load Up" as Palin puts it. Their words of hatred, raceisum, violance and the list goes on, should have stoppedc long ago. Now what will they do to cover that up..I did not notice Boehnor crying..Did it slip his mind?

    January 10, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  218. Lonnie Williams

    The way to quickly eliminate the hateful rhetoric and 'Dog Whistle' comments is to hold everyone Legally accountable for what they are advocating. No one can convince me that Sarah Palin's "Cross Hairs" shown to the nation, for certain congressional districts didn't plant the seed of thought for Loughener's actions. If people were truthful, everyone will admit that the perception was to use violence. Couple that with the statements "don't retreat, just reload". What the hell do you reload in a fight? certainly not a 'washer or dryer'. Sharon Engle advocated using "Second Amendment remedies" if the vote doesn't turn out the way she wanted. Still doubt..... We only have to go back to the sixties when in the ghetto, words were "burn baby burn". Let me ask, what was the result? the answer we all remember watching areas burn to the ground.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  219. Dan Fowler

    The FCC has rules concerning the use of certains words on the media. What not add the type of retoric that may incide violence in a certain segment of the population to the list.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  220. Mike

    Maybe it's important to think that the responsibility one has as a role model ,is to learn to watch what you say. Especially one that can influence millions of young, old, mature and naive minds. It's unfortunate that a situation like this, has had to happen to remind people.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  221. dave c

    I agree that it is irresponsible for people to use hateful and inciteful rhetoric, however, it is just as irresponsible to place blame on suppossed inciteful hate speech, where there is none attributable or directly linked to this incident. Do we blame the violence of John Hinkley, the Virginia Tech gunman, or other deranged mass shooters, on conservative leaders or on conservatives, as well? This is obviously the work of a very disturbed and apparently deranged individual. By attempting to place blame on Sarah Palin or the Tea Party, you are creating hate and further divisiveness in this country.

    If Americans call the President and others on capitol Hill socialists, should that be banned or regulated? Hate speech against George Bush and Sarah Palin has always been extremely inflammatory, but to liberals, that is only "free speech".

    You Sir, are the irresponsible one, and most likely a hypocrite.


    January 10, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  222. Kevin R

    Did I miss something Jack? So far nothing indicates one way or another that “political rhetoric” drove this nut job over the edge? In fact (and maybe you should start checking facts before you comment), the evidence reported so far indicates Loughner and Giffords had their first encounter in 2007 way before anyone knew who Sarah Palin was.
    The only one I see stirring up the “political rhetoric” in this case is YOU. But then again, what more can I expect from CNN.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  223. Karl in Mich

    Jack, you forgot to mention Sharon Angle’s undefined Second Amendment Remedies, which I think we finally saw defined in Tucson. It all boils down to “The Wizard of Oz”. We have the politicians without brains to speak reasonably, the interviewers without the courage to nail these brainless wonders when they say stupid stuff and the news commentators without the heart or conscience to not report mindless, incendiary crap that the lowest mentality in this country doesn’t need to hear. Politicians and the media in general need to follow the yellow brick road to common sense and common decency.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  224. Dean

    Today the term rhetoric can be used at times to refer only to the form of argumentation, often with the pejorative connotation that rhetoric is a means of obscuring a political party. First, the government Rep official should show respect to the President. We have always showed respect to the President position. But for some reason, some American only wants respect to white Presidents. Each leader of the Rep and Dem Parties should practice respect and American will follow. Get rid of FOX News and the like! The President shows respect and we should follow him instead of the disrespectful Senators and Congressman who shout to the President "You Lie". Show respect like the President this country and American will be better society in the future. We teach our children how to behave without violent. Civil rights prevailed because of their campaign for non violence for change.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  225. Paul from Georgia

    Our political leaders at all levels should set the example in toning down the rhetoric. Unless they do so, the rest of us won't because of their poor example.

    By the way, so should news program hosts. Every political show I've seen, whether on Fox, CNN, or MSNBC, follows the format of having two people speak to on opposite sides of an issue. Invariably, they interrupt each other, try to talk over each other, and take enormous pains to shout out their sound bite on the issue. This is so tiresome! Why can't the host impose some sanity to the process? For example, turn off the mike of A when B is speaking and vice versa. And each side gets X seconds and that is it; both mikes are turned off when each side has used its time. Unruly children behave better when there is sound discipline.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  226. Ken Shaw

    You call it news.. It seems to be more about nasty politics. No matter what the subject, you seem to be able to reach down into your scum-bag and come up with a whacko that will make a personal attack rather than a reasonably thought out commentary. You wonder where the problem is, just look in a mirrror.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  227. Arnold Smith

    Jack you are right. Palin,Beck, Hannity and Limbaugh did not pull the trigger but one can no longer say "sticks and stones will break your bones and words will never harm you." Those days are over. Let the free market put these agitators with verbal diarrhea out of business.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  228. mike dean

    Americans will always disagree with each other. We should remember the words of a great Supreme Court Justice, William O Douglas, who wrote, " My right to dissent ends where your nose begins." American should reject any candidate who aspouses violent political rhetoric.
    Mike Dean Fall river, Mass.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  229. Bernard Asubonteng

    As this senseless tragi-comedy unfolds within our body politic, it looks like now almost all our political leaders are either pointing accusing fingers on each other or distancing themselves from what had just happened as they always do. However, what many of them fail to admit is that their infantile outbursts and unguarded utterances carry enormous weight, especially the psychos among us. I pray that this tragedy in Arizona will serve as an eye-opener to these aristocratic pretenders.

    Bernard Asubonteng

    Atlanta GA

    January 10, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  230. Bobby

    Teach those Fools in Congress " The Golden Rule"

    January 10, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  231. Efrain Omar

    Censure laders for their irresponsible remarks and continue reporting as usual, preventing the media from doing their job or putting the blame on them is irresponsible. It is sad that this is what it takes for us to listen each other. There are people who are being affected deeply by political rhetoric and the consecuences are comming out to the surface.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  232. RG

    I would love to see hateful political rhetoric turned into intelligent discussion but it seems that this tragic shooting was probably the result of some sort of paranoid schizophrenia or similar mental disease which usually presents itself in young adulthood rather than any sort of politically influenced ideology. I am not a health care professional but am familiar with this terrible disease which usually does not result in violence by most people who suffer it. The disease usually presents itself in young adulthood.
    As a footnote, the way the media reports endlessly on every inflammatory sound byte uttered by politicians or political celebrities sometimes seems as if it is deliberately instigating the partisanship that we see and hear daily.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  233. DaKine

    I'm afraid it will not happen very fast. Only strong, steady leadership in conjunction with an engaged public can right this ship. At every opportunity, the demagogues and agitators must be confronted with calmness, kindness, and resolve. There comes a time where one realizes that we do not have to constantly love and hug each other, but we will have co-exist so that we can continue to do those things that we all have a vested interest in and that made the US a great country: Raise our children in peace and pursue our dreams without fear of persecution.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  234. Katy Johnson

    The extreme rhetoric from both left and right fringe elements is irresponsible but even more important is the real source of this shooting: the suspect's mental illness. The states need to find a balance between the widespread insitutionalization of years past and today's "hands-off" policies and laws. Severely mentally ill people, especially the criminally insane, need to be treated with both their and our safety in mind, and the patchwork of state laws needs to be amended as such. Foremost among these laws should be standardized mental health reporting requirements. Everyone who is aware of someone's instability plays a part in this. Civil rights are not an absolute.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  235. aileen willoughby

    The Arizona shooting was a terrible tragedy. In the past year we have seen unexplainable and aberrant behavior from americans and from those without the US. To jump to conclusions and blame right or left groups without direct proof is just adding fuel to the fire and stirs the hatred even more. I think the anger comes from the permissive society in which we live – everything is accepted, no personal blame is ever imputed,no one is held accountable for their actions and justice is not applied.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  236. Jeff

    The heated rhetoric spewed by numerous public figures is certainly indirectly responsible for the fever pitch of vitriol and dangerous political climate. To sit back and claim that they are free of culpability is cowardly as they continue to cash the checks their sheep that follow send. Once the toothpaste is out of the tube you can't get it back in. Join the rest of America and tone down the rhetoric. PLEASE!

    January 10, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  237. MacFab

    Jack, it is good you are finally calling spade a spade. For long the media have been afraid of saying the truth, so that the likes of Rush L. Glen Beck, Hannity, Bill O, and Sarah Palin wouldn't attack them. To get cover, the media would use words, like on both sides. But for the past two years, the Right Wings are the culprits, and journalists should quit being afraid or shy to call them out on it and stop comparing things that are not comparable to avoid being labeled Leftist.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  238. Kay Tate

    Toning down the political rhetoric is easy if you care about people and your country. We need to focus on trying to live and work together on this planet for the good of all people. Each of us have differences of opinions on many issues that face our nation and working together to solve the problems will do more good than harm. Other countries are watching as we continue to be in discord with one another. I pray that our nation can come together very soon. The violent incident in Arizona can be a wake up call for those who have been participating in negative comments in the media and other sources.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  239. Ted

    Rhetoric has, for too long, been tolerated as an "accepted" part of American politics. Selective phrases and symbols have been carefully and scientifically crafted to achieved the desired results. To undo the psychological tactics utilized would be difficult and in some cases an admission that they (DEMS and REPUBLICANS) purposely misled the public. I am NOT sure if it could be done on any permanent basis.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  240. CitizenKane

    Dan in Boston said: January 10th, 2011 6:23 pm ET

    Palin should be charged with Incitement to violence for her internet transmission of photos with crosshairs superimposed. This is bad politics for America – speech is fine but rabel-rousing is not.
    Dan, you do know the DNC did the same thing right? Crosshairs and all. To other: You do know that the shooter's friends described him as "a left-wing pot smoker", but I only blame him, not others.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  241. David B

    What can be done to tone down the hateful rhetoric in this country? do not know but Congress better find a way quick for their own safety. With a National Debt of $14 Trillion + and drastic cuts almost certain coupled to the fact Americans have more combined firepower in their homes than the US Army, 1000's hitting the streets in protest like France, England & Italy could be deadly. So they need to tone the whole country down now!

    January 10, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  242. Paul

    Get rid of all the extermist politicians! All the extreme politics on both sides cause the biggest problems with stupid things said often and the continued escalation between the two extremes. Our own politicians are terrorists causing fear and anger to get results. We need them to understand unity is better than trying to be the "strong arm"!!

    January 10, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  243. Patsy Buchanan

    You know what is going on with our country and you think that Sarah Palan and Rush Linbaugh are the cause of all the trouble? You know full well that it is Obama, Barney Frank, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi that are and have been destroying our country and people like youl. The reason that Sarah and Rush are so poplar is that they are correct about the Democrats and Republicians being corrupt. You are the ones that need to stop the reterick.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  244. Dee


    Judging by some of the comments read on here, your country has a LONG way to go (obviously I'm not American). Nut jobs can be found on both left and right wings, and to say that one could not have seen this coming is idiotic....we sitting on the outside certainly could see it. How about just everyone take a deep breath, and THINK before you speak? Although rhetoric is theatrical and probably fun to spew, you never know who is listening to such trash. The lines get blurred very easily by some.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  245. Bubba Gump

    Seeking to curtail political speech, at some point anyway, leads to tyranny.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  246. will

    Most people have to really believe in their heart, that it is FOX news that is the most inflammatory "news" organization. It is only on FOX that we hear the far right talking about reloading, taking aim and destructive fiery rhetoric that has hit the air waves

    January 10, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  247. steve

    i think people for every ones sake, need to stop listening to all of the crap and all of the racist and ignorant comments floating around. People like Beck and Palin talk just to here themselves talk and for money. Unfortunately people listen. Come on, a 9 year old, that's just wrong, you shouldn't have to worry about being shot by some wacko at a grocey store or any where, for that matter

    January 10, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  248. Eric Whiteway

    Shut down Fox News, muzzle hate radio, send Palin back to Wasilla.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  249. MBL

    The only one responsible for this horrendous act is Jared Loughner. I'm sick of so called "journalists" exploiting this terrible tradgedy for political gain. It hasn't even been 3 days since 6 Amerians were brutally murdered and 13 others gravely injured by an evil man. Is it too much to ask for us to wait for the facts? Attempting to gain political advantage from this tradgedy is almost as despicable as the act itself. Do America a favor and stick to the facts. Do your research and you will find distateful rhetoric from both sides.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  250. PT Burchard

    You forgot that dems first used the "target" example back in 2004. As a former congressional intern for a democrat and one-time democratic campaign guy, your commentary reminds me of how shallow the lefts thinking has become. Your comments are as foolish as the motive of the nut-bag who pulled the trigger. You have provided a great example of how smooth talk and simple explanation assuages the minds of weak thinkers. I really appreciate what Dan Armstrong said in this blog.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  251. Marc from San Diego

    The extreme right (Palin, Bauchmann, Limbah, Hannity, Beck) cater their message to the ignorant and weak minded, and it was only a matter of time before something like this happened. Unfortunately, the right will not be able to stop themselves from inciting violence expecially since they just took control of congress using this type of messaging.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  252. angelo

    Palin, Beck, O'Reilly, Limbaugh, Hannity, the tea party favorites are like the mafia families. Put the word out and someone gets wacked. All the bosses are innocent, the trigger man gets convicted. The bosses go home and have dinner then discuss who to target next, and the cycle continues. Collateral damage happens, comments like lock and load have become the republicans slogan. What a sick, twisted party the republicans have evolved into.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  253. Alex

    I do not feel that we need speech police to prevent crazies, but newscasters need to be a bit more careful about what they say.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  254. BobD


    Nothing. Absolutely Nothing, Its called the 1st Amendment of the Constitution. We live by our freedoms, and we will certainly die by them. Unless a repeal of amendment #1 is offered up, there is NOTHING that can be done.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  255. Steve

    Some of the appeal of the recent "non-professional" politicians is the use of cruder, more emotionally charged rhetoric. So many pundits hinted at the danger of this, but nobody really wanted to commit to it being "dangerous". Perhaps now those who could not perceive the problem will have better insight. Maybe this is also a clarification of the value of the professional politician–but I admit that is a hard sell.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  256. AndyC

    Oh, what a partisan article – telling us to tone down *our* rhetoric, but only mentioning the Tea Party and Sarah Palin?

    How about Obama's "If they have a knife, we'll bring a gun" comment? How about Pelosi's map with gun targets?

    This kind of biased journalism is what's rendering the MSM irrelevant – thanks for "digging your own grave", so to speak.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  257. Lynn

    The tone of rhetoric is not the cause of this tragdey. Political debate and rhetoric have been around since long before we were a nation. Political assassinations have been happening for centuries. The only difference now is that we have the media that exploit and analyze/debate every issue and every little statement or mistatement a politician makes 24/7.

    The tragedy that happened Saturday appears to have been caused by a mentally disturbed young man who apparently did not seek help for his mental issues. We can not blame the tone of political discourse in our free nation, any more than we can blame "Catcher in the Rye" for the death of John Lennon. If we must curtail our freedom to speak out and debate politically, then we must also ban books, ban free news media, ban music and film, ban weapons, etc.. in order to prevent unstable people from getting upset and killing citizens. Or perhaps we can just invest a little bit more in mental health care (oh yes, I am a Republican!).

    January 10, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  258. tara


    It is not the political rhetoric that is the problem! The people have no confidence in the leaders of this country. Millions have lost jobs, homes, etc. Many of the people in my circle of friends talk about their frustrations with the government, economy, lack of jobs, among themselves. This is probably true with most Americans. There are some people who experience hopelessness, anger, hate, etc. who have turned to radical groups or have radical ideas as a way to cope. This is where the problems arise. You can't just say it is rhetoric. The tragedy in Arizona is a deeper problem than rhetoric.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  259. Geary Hewett

    Mr. Cafferty,
    I firmly believe that our Congress, for the most part, has become much more interested in gaining/keeping control and have almost completely forgotten that they are there to represent the American people. Due to this, the art of statesmanship and the concepts of respect and courtesy have become tragic casualties.

    Geary Hewett
    Henderson, NV

    January 10, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  260. David Daniels

    From the beginning 1700 threads that make up the fabric of our democracy today, generations have witnessed heated discourse. That said, the political climate of late is filled more with hate rather than the conflicts of and well spirited notion of liberty that our nation was founded upon. A simple solution? Based on the law that threats against the President are a Federal crime, how about if we – as Americans – support a Federal act to make it a crime to make a threat against any candidate or sitting member of the Federal government. Such a move would at least create a tool for law enforcement to go after those that spew hateful rhetoric on the campaign trail which we have seen may tragically inspire demented minds to act on such words. Let those that make the threats and those that take such horrible actions all be condemned and be held accountable. To serve the public – regardless of party beliefs – is the basis of our liberty and government. Let us not forget the words of Ben Franklin in the days when in the forming days of our nation when we rebuffed King George, and he said “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately” This is no more true then as it is today … we must all hang together. Stop the rhetoric, we all too are one. We are all Americans.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  261. Deborah Tomlinson

    So sad, your biggest problem seems to be with the 1st Amendment and with people who just don't see "acceptable" political discourse with your degree of Solomonic wisdom. You know, the great unwashed out here, including many members of the Tea Party, are the very ones who fought and died to protect your right to sit up on your throne of moral superiority & pass judgment.
    If we are all going to start adhering to a acceptable political speech code, however, maybe President Obama should try leading the way. He's the ONLY one (except for some House Democrats) I've heard lately flinging around violent imagery in reference to his opponents. Let's see... hostage takers, enemies and so on and so forth. Those characterizations have been made by him a lot a lot closer to the present time than Sarah Palin and her dopey bulls~eye map. Who's to say that Loughner's murderous rage wasn't triggered by those accusations?
    One final thought ... you armchair psychiatrists are worth about what you're paid. You & Paul Krugman, that is.

    Dallas, Tx

    January 10, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  262. Alice Blackmer

    Dear Jack,
    I've noticed that few in the media are willing to acknowledge is that the main fuel to this fire is raging racism. I've been horrified to hear people speak with such hate and disgust to the fact that we have a black president. They simply can't swallow that we elected a black man. I moved from VT to VA 6 years ago and what I heard from middle aged women made my skin crawl. When I calmly expressed my support of the president I was angrily told I was stupid.
    I know that this racism is bred in families. I am hopeful that this generation is becoming more tolerant and accepting of all people, black, whit, gay, straight, etc. Eventually bigotry and racism will die out. Only then will the rhetoric and all the hate associated die down as well.
    Leesburg, VA

    January 10, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  263. karen from St. Louis

    "If they bring a knife, we will bring a gun" spoken by Barak Obama was not considered hate rhetoric but anything said by Sarah Palin is. The double standard is becoming more obvious everyday.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  264. Dru

    Nice job Jack, way to open the door for the extreme Left to scream how they are the voice of reason and that the extreme Right is to blame. Hell, you yourself as much said that. As an Independent, who has voted for Bush, Clinton, and Bob Barr in the last few elections, I can tell you it is the extreme on BOTH sides. Rush, Olberwoman, et al SHUT UP! Time for the moderates to take over!

    January 10, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  265. Susan, SC

    For you Dems is very easy to put the blame on the Rep. You most be crazy to think that this tragedy was caused by the way most of the American people feel about Washington. It's true that people are angry about the politicians who don't listen to the majority of American, but this tragedy was done by a SOCIOPATH who should have been turned in to authorities before he comited this horrendous act. His parents and other people like profesors should have alerted authorities about this guy. I have not heard anythinbg said about his parents, they should carry most of the blame.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  266. Nathan

    Hi Jack,

    There are a lot of wild comments here which makes what I am about to say that much more urgent: a good start at toning down the rhetoric would be to stop postulating that Americans who respond to libertarian and conservative ideas are racist xenophobes. And since journalists have come to this, please stop making the case that these Americans are now complicit in murder. The last few days attempt to criminalize mainstream parts of American political discourse strike me as more than just the average creepy antics of a few left leaning journalists. It seems to me a staggering leap into hate-mongering and dangerous illiberal folly.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  267. kurtk

    Lets be realistic, The hate filed comments will not go away till society in general changes. No amount of comments from the politicians will stop the hate speech or dirty politics. Why? Because they work. Because people are more than willing to listen. Because that is how politicians get elected.
    It will not stop until "We the People" begin to actually do our jobs of being informed on the real issues. By not listening to spin doctors, By electing competent representatives who will listen to the people instead of the lobbyists and not their own pocket books.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  268. Sean from Tucson

    I'm from Tucson. I grew up about 5 minutes from where this all happened. Really scary stuff.

    This kid needs to be dealt with as if he murdered several people and tried to kill a U.S. Representative. That's it. I couldnt care less if he's mentally anything.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  269. Zareh Ghanbari

    We need to stop the mentality of "vs." by eliminating parties in this country. Rather than having ignorant people voting and supporting parties just for the sake of voting for their party, we should only be supporting individuals. That way, we are eliminating the massive finger pointing and the radicals from each group.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  270. Patrick in Vail

    Stones, Knives, Guns...............We "Humans" seem unable to stop killing each other whenever we disagree on Race, Religion and/or Politics. Oh yes, you might want to add Sex! Will it ever end?
    Not in my lifetime!

    January 10, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  271. Carole

    This is the action of a sick young man and looking for blame in our political system does not fix people who have emotional problems. How about starting in the home where parents guide their children to become responsible law abiding adults. If anyone is to blame look there. Look at our movie industry and the video games that are part of todays culture.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  272. Diane

    Jack, tell me why these American are so disrespectful to our president? Ilisten to most of them refused to to say PRESIDENT BARSCK OBAMA! After all he is the country's president! give him some respect for god sake. these journalist are the main ones!

    He is president Obama! Not BARACK, OBAMA!

    January 10, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  273. Dave

    I don't believe the rhetoric will be toned down. Members of Congress will likely make an effort to be more civil towards each other. But that won't last.

    For one simple reason – the media (both sides). The goal of the majority of media is to make money (through advertising) by providing news. The larger your audience, the more you can charge for you advertising. How do you get viewers, catchy sound bites and political rhetoric. Don't tell me there isn't a direct correlation between the rise of cable news networks and the harsher political climate.

    Even in the aftermath there has been much discussion of who might to be blame, before the facts were out. Perhaps the man was just as crazy as John Hinckley.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  274. Jenfer1

    'I want you to argue with them and get in their face"

    Who said it?

    January 10, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  275. Joshua W.

    Jack, the media itself is a huge part of the problem. Beyond the obvious issue of not-so-subtle incitement to violence by crackpots like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, the mass media is complicit in allowing such people to get their message out. The 24/7 coverage of Sarah Palin's idiotic tweets and Facebook posts gives her an air of legitimacy, and it's not just Fox News that does this. It's all of the major news outlets, including your own. Collectively, you give almost the same amount of air time to sensible speakers as you do to extremist politicians and pundits, like Michele Bachmann and Erick Erickson. The media should be practicing responsible journalism and systematically debunking their lies, not giving them a megaphone for their hateful and dangerous vitriol.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  276. Glenn Toronto

    I am not sure that you can ever tame the hateful rhetoric while government members strive to control there positions for personal gain and not for the desire to serve the people. Watching the political news and the intensity that it has been presented has become more like watching news of international religious strife or war. The security and cultural identities are being destroyed from the inside.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  277. mary

    try reporting the facts about the shooter in az, has he any direct relationship with palin? I want facts not you trying to connect dots that really don't connect.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  278. Survival Bus

    As long as the Government keeps screwing us, there will be hate.

    As long as they keep fighting the invisible enemy, there will be hate,

    As long as they support big business, and not the people there will be hate.

    as far as this shooter, seems like a nut case, or just another black flag patsy, to push something out of the house, oh wait they did that....

    January 10, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  279. JT

    Someone, PLEASE explain exactly what the right-wing had to do with this guy? He hated the senator before anyone knew about Palin. He's described as left-wing by his former classmate. How is this in ANY way related to the tea party or the political right wing? The guy was a lunatic that's the end of the story.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  280. Domenick Bizzaro

    Sara Palin postings was a very stupid thing to do.... but to blame her for this horrific crime or even think she is responsible for it... is irresponsible on your part to even report this kind of news...The killings in Arizona was the result of a Mad man... A very unstable man with a history of mental illness.. a list did not kill all these people..Maybe you should do a report.. on why no one saw the signs that led up to these killing...President Obama said.... if our enemies bring a knife to the fight we bring a gun....people sometimes say stupid statement politicians or not.....maybe you need to be more responsible on how you cover the news and stop creating mass hysteria between the two party lines.Remember the media also has a moral responsibility to report the news not what a Waco says every time they say it.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  281. Ben Anderson

    Radio and TV talk show hosts Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and Neil Borsh, and Sarah Palin make inflammatory half truths and innuendoes which influence a portion of the public who have no thoughts of their own, but are attracted to the ideas that they can control politics by using the violent policies that come with mob mentallity such as Tea Party politics or cowardly individual action.
    The stations that hire these and other individuals, who continually make inflammatory statements, are responsible for the content that comes over their air to the public. This type of non responsibility is the very thing that leads to our losses of freedom by requiring our Congress to pass laws for our own safety. Pisses me off.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  282. Steven McLaughlin

    Simply follow the example of our president, Barach Obama.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  283. Bob LA

    First thing: Republicans need to retitle their House Resolution "Repealing the Job-KILLING Health Care Law Act" to "Repealing The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010".

    January 10, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  284. Joan Schleicher

    Your commentary asking people to "tone down debate and discussion" was inflammatory in content. Your implication that people other than this
    deranged gunman were responsible for the tragedy in Tucson was irresponsible. You should have focused on the need to try to identify deranged gunmen who enter schools or other public areas to kill. Family, neighbors, teachers and friends should be encouraged to report unstable people. If that had happened, this madman may have been prevented from buying a gun and he might have been given the psychological help he obviously needed.
    Instead, Mr Cafferty your comments continue to fuel anger especially when directed at a group of people who had nothing to do with this terrible tragedy

    January 10, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  285. Alan

    Those who want to blame tea-partiers for violent, inflammatory language are quite myopic. They need look no further than the Commander-in-Chief, who recently referred to Republicans as "hostage takers."

    January 10, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  286. Mark from Boston


    How do we put the toothpaste back in the tube you ask?
    Simple. Education... We have people who voted for the likes of Sarah Palin and Harry Reid and honestly believe that the Tea Party had NOTHING to do with influencing this mass murder.

    Need I say more.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  287. Jack Cornn

    Probably as much as eighty percent of the Email comments you read each night are inflamatory. Why not skip the bad ones. As for the Palin crosshairs on democrat districts you had some very acxcusatory comments on that ; however you failed to mention that the Democrats used the exact format as they targeted Republican districts. Jack you have a large following and you could certainly have a major influence on those followers. I assume most respondents to your blog feel that the more preposterous their answer might be the more likely you are to read it on the air. You are an American and you have the same responsibility all Americans have to servethis great country and to maintain our freedom and our way of life.
    Thank you,

    January 10, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  288. Stephanie

    People in both sides need to grow up and stop justifying their caustoc words and actions by stating "but the other side did it". I don't let my children get away with that when they do something wrong and nor do we allow criminals use it as a defense.

    Just STOP!!!

    January 10, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
  289. sam delray beach fl

    In a courtroom, during a trial, when the facts ,law and common
    sense are with you: then your opponent resorts to an ad hominen speech or conduct. So do politicians, the media, and of course the public. It is " those liberals" or those conservatives" or " those..... just plain those". We have become a society without manners, wallowing in self indulgence or entitlement, who speak without facts or law to support their statement and rude conduct. They say well " I have the right to freedom of speech" True, but not freedom to hurt. to insult, to defame, and so on. We need to ??????????????

    January 10, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
  290. ObamaShrugged

    So all the things said by Olberman, Maddow, Maher, and the rest of the lefties about Bush was so supportive. No one ever hung Bush in effigy or called him an idiot or drew pictures of him that looked like a monkey. And Barney Frank and Ted Kennedy never spoke ill of republicans.

    All the simple minded folks out there that get influenced by these entertainers need to understand one thing – they all say what they say just for the money. Who would watch Bill Maher if he had a serious discussion about politics. Or buy Glenn Beck's books if he wasn't an over-the-top hater of the left.

    Whether they are leaning right or left, they all believe the ideology of PT Barnum. And the suckers keep lining their pockets.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  291. Jim H


    My wife had an elegantly simple suggestion to the congress to encourage cooperation. Do as we sometimes do to elementary children who can't get along...make them sit in alphabetical order and not by their friends.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  292. Sally Brombolich

    If you want to tone down the rhetoric look in the mirror. With no evidence you convict the Tea Party participants and Sarah Palin of somehow causing these murders. Is there a journalist at CNN? Why not look into the murderer's background for 35 seconds before you convict the Tea Party. Let's see your evidence that this guy even attended a Tea Party, or visited Sarah Palin's website. This guy contacted the congress woman in 2007 long before the Tea Party existed...explain how the Tea Party caused that incident.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  293. steve c

    I am 47 and I can tell you that at no time in my life time has this country been more divided. Nice job MR. PResident

    January 10, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  294. rob

    Your premise is flawed in several ways and shows your own ideological bias. First, you assume there is a connection. There is no evidence of this. Second, you use all right-wing rhetoric as examples. Ever hear of Keith Olbermann, Mike Malloy, or Bill Maher? I guess not.


    January 10, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
  295. Carol

    The Republicans did learn anything by losing the election to Obama. The Democrats proved they did not learn anything by not supporting Obama after he took office. They blew a once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to pass laws and make a difference. It appears no matter what happens, they don't get it. It's politics as usual. I doubt even the death of one of their own will matter. They will fight about that too. How sad.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
  296. HURRICANEPAUL from Hawaii

    Jack, There is NO EVIDENCE what so ever connecting the Arizona shooter to any ONE or any GROUP, yet the Main Stream Media does NOT hesitate to "jump to conclusions" by blaming the Rght.

    Yet, on the other hand, as far as the Ft. Hood shooter, there are MOUNTAINS OF EVIDENCE connecting the Ft. Hood shooter to mulriple Muslim connections, yet ALL of the Main Stream Media in the FT. HOOD CASE say "We cannot connect the shooter to ALL of the Muslims".

    January 10, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
  297. Marcia Virginia Beach

    I have felt that the rhetoric from all people in American political leadership should turn the tone and visual imagery from their statements down for many years. This includes the left and middle as well as the right. No side is blameless for their misleading rhetoric. Don't you remember someone saying that Palin should be gang raped? Don't you remember the originator of the bullseye targets on Republican districts and states? Ok, take that and throw it out the window...Now come on Jack. You disappoint me. Palin and the right are responsible for the actions of this crazy lunitic? What happened to being responsible for ones own actions? It sounds childish to assume that what someone does let alone what someone says can make anyone do anything. How long is society going to say to people like this crazy nut job that "it wasn't his fault? After all if someone would not have said what they did then of course you would have never thought of doing such a thing". Its like telling a child we understand his actions. This is not a child but an adult which makes it even more like hog wash, to say it politely. After reading some of these blog entries I will keep my gun for my own protection from the next sorry loser that assumes that all the finger pointing bloggers answering this question give them the right to do the same thing as this last crazy lunitic in my town

    January 10, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
  298. Donald E. Hull

    There are numerous 'causes' for the shooting in Arizona...take yor pick (not limited to one).
    Politicians, including the President, who have their own agendas vs. the will of the people.
    Extremists...far left AND far right.
    Special interest lobbyists who 'buy' our representatives for their own purposes...NOT for the good of the country, but for the buck.
    News media 'intuiting' hype and spin for fame, ratings/money.
    Complete failure of our government, local, state and federal, to uphold and enforce our laws (ex. ILLEGAL immigrants demanding 'rights' when they're not even supposed to be in the U.S.).
    Antagonized, disgusted and frustrated citizens who are being ignored by their government.
    The list goes on, but you get my point...

    January 10, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
  299. gobnait

    I hope you appreciate the utter irony of how this sort of mindless finger pointing only exacerbates the rage and hatred. How can you pontificate in good conscience when people are dead, a Congresswoman is fighting for her life and a profoundly disturbed man has wreaked havoc. There is absolutely no evidence to support your suppositions. In fact the more we learn, the more we see an obviously schizophrenic mind that disintegrated into a final act of madness. Shame on all of you for turning on your fellow Americans. You, Mr. Caffrey, are part of the problem, not the solution.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
  300. Brad

    I can't believe that Palin is even being brought into this conversation! Take responsibility for your own actions!

    January 10, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
  301. Kile

    Tell the Communists in the White House and Congress to stop passing anti-American laws that are opposed by the majority of the people. That would be a great start.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:55 pm |