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Media whitewashes ultra-right in Arizona massacre

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The New York Times, typically, tried to have it both ways, editorializing, "It is facile and mistaken to attribute this particular madman's act directly to Republicans or Tea Party members. But it is legitimate to hold Republicans and particularly their most virulent supporters in the media responsible for the gale of anger that has produced the vast majority of these threats, setting the nation on edge."

The last assertion is a deliberate cover-up of the real source of the "gale of anger" building in America, which is the economic collapse that has devastated the lives of tens of millions of people, and for which no faction of the capitalist political establishment, Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, has any solution.

A long news analysis in the Times provides valuable details on the ideological connections between Loughner and several of the more bizarre factions of the far right, but it nonetheless declares that the assassin's political motivation cannot be known with certainty: "Investigators will have to wrestle with the difficult question of whether Mr. Loughner's parroting the views of extremist groups was somehow more a cause of the shootings or simply a symptom of a troubled life."

This is, if anything, even more insidious than the flat denial of responsibility by the Wall Street Journal. The Times shows how close Loughner's connections were to the ultra-right "parroting the views of extremist groups" and then asserts that no conclusion can be drawn.

Does anyone believe that if the attacker had been a Muslim who used the language of Al Qaeda in his Internet postings the American media would condemn as a "rush to judgment" the conclusion that this was an instance of "Islamic terrorism"?

As part of the push-back by the right wing, there have been public denunciations of the sheriff of Pima County, Clarence Dupnik, who heads the local investigation into the Tucson massacre. At his first press conference, Dupnik made a forthright denunciation of "the vitriol and rhetoric that we hear day in and day out from the people in the radio business and some people in the TV business," which he said contributed to the crime. Referring to a series of measures against immigrants, he said that the state of Arizona has "become the Mecca for prejudice and bigotry."

Republican Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona denounced these comments in an appearance Sunday on the CBS interview program "Face the Nation." "I didn't really think that that had any part in a law enforcement briefing," Kyl said. "It was speculation, and I don't think we should rush to speculate."

A Tucson talk-radio host, Jon Justice, called for Dupnik's resignation, accusing him of him of "inciting through pure rhetoric."

By Monday, much of the media, including liberal and Democratic Party spokesmen, had repudiated Dupnik's comments. James Carville, a longtime Democratic campaign operative and media pundit, said on CNN, "It's unfair to smear an entire state," adding, "There's no evidence that links the Tea Party to this."

Carville's remark typifies the political cowardice of the entire Democratic Party and liberal media establishment. They want to avoid any comprehensive exposure of a process that has been under way for more than three decades in American politics: the integration of the Republican Party with elements of an ultra-right and semi-fascist character, steeped in racism, anticommunism and hostility to democratic rights.

These right-wing elements exercise a degree of influence in American political life out of all proportion to their actual support in the population, because it serves the interests of the financial oligarchy to build them up as a means of shifting politics ever more to the right and creating the rudiments of a fascist movement to be thrown against the working class.

The Democratic Party is complicit in this process, even when the latest phase in this process -- the media promotion of the Tea Party -- culminates in direct violence against a Democratic Party officeholder.

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Patrick Martin writes for the World Socialist Website (, a forum for socialist ideas & analysis & published by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI).
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