So are you saying there is no heated political rhetoric right now in the United States? Man, I wish I had your sense of what balanced, political debate is... In the last year a guy flew a plane into an IRS building, a mentally deranged guy takes hostages at the Discovery Channel, and now a member of Congress is shot - threats against members of Congress and the President are at an all-time high (according to the Secret Service, and up 300% since the Bush years), and millions tune in to watch Glenn Beck on a daily basis.
Where did I say that? I think the rhetoric is very heated and has been since the Iraq war began.
The sheriff has inflamed political tensions? Please - the only idiots who are turning his statement into another part of an ongoing political war are those who post at redstate.com and dailykos.com anyways, and who would find 1,000 ways of doing so with or without his statements. He has a right to his opinion, just like the Tea Party can issue a statement saying we should pray for Giffords even if she is a "liberal".
He absolutely has a right to his opinion. I don't even have a problem with him expressing it. I do, however, have a problem with him not disclosing it as an opinion when he's acting in his official capacity. Because of his involvement with the investigation, when he says that heated rhetoric or political ideology played a part in this tragedy it implies that he has evidence suggesting that this is the case. However, as he reluctantly admits in this interview, there is no evidence to support this claim. He is simply misleading the public. Then he goes ahead and blames Republicans. Of course that's going to inflame tensions, and he's doing so even though he knows full well there is no evidence to support his claim.
And I'm sorry but Dupnik isn't completely wrong. There IS plenty of heated rhetoric and political activism in Arizona. My parents live in Phoenix and I spend a lot of time there. In fact, a lot of the unfortunate rhetoric (and actions) come from another sheriff in the state - Joe Arpaio - whose actions are far, far more divisive than anything Dupnik said yesterday, and the current governor. The fact Fox News is all over this and trying to get him to retract what he's saying is obvious - they would go out of business if politics ever moved back to civil debate (as would MSNBC).
I tend to agree with you regarding controversy benefiting the cable networks. However, Megyn Kelley did a great job here. It's a journalist's job to distinguish between fact and opinion, so if Fox is going to report that the sheriff thinks heated rhetoric and ideology played a role then it's also their job to determine whether this is fact or just his opinion. Did she do this because she's a good journalist or because of conservative bias? We can only speculate.
So what if there's heated rhetoric in Arizona? This guy chose
to attack the victims. The blame lies squarely with him. I don't blame Al Gore for the attack on the Discovery Channel's office, either. People have the right to say whatever they want. They do not have the right to shoot whomever they want.
Free speech, including heated rhetoric, plays an extremely important part in a democracy. This type of rhetoric gets people fired up and involved. Yes, oftentimes it's hyperbole, but even hyperbole serves a purpose, as any literary critic will tell you. It makes the point abundantly clear. In a democracy, change can only happen when the people are involved in the political process. Free speech is how this happens. The civil rights movement and even the American revolution itself are perfect examples of this, and there are plenty more.
And to anyone on these boards trying to fix a political label to the killer based on what one youtube video says or what one of his former classmates said - get real. He wasn't liberal, leftist, marxist, conversative, facist, or a right-winger - he was simply a nutcase with so many ramblings no political framework could ever claim him.