Originally Posted by Chip_s_m
Where did I say that? I think the rhetoric is very heated and has been since the Iraq war began.
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.
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.
Yes, I agree that free speech is important. I also believe responsiblity is important. Responsible free speech is what should be the goal.
Churchill certainly inspired the British with his speechs and I suppose that some of them contained some hyperbole.
I think the recent fashion of calling whole nations, religions, and peoples evil is more than just hyperbole. It is irresponsible. There is other language that can be even more descriptive and more to the point rather than fear mongering. I think fear mongering is irresponsible no matter who does it. I also think that propaganda and falsehoods (a different kind of hyperbole, if you will) are reprehensible. I also think that deliniating a certain segment of the population of this country as enemies is reprehensible. No matter how distasteful I find Sarah Palin, I don't want to put her in gunsights. I don't want to take aim at her, or if I miss to reload. There is leadership and there is pandering.