Did Political Rhetoric Lead to Tucson Massacre?
A national debate is brewing about the political climate and if it played a part in contributing to the tragic shooting in Tucson. INSIDE EDITION takes a close look.
Jon Stewart asked on The Daily Show, "Did the toxic political environment cause this?"
It's the question dominating the nation's airwaves—did tough talk from pundits and politicians contribute to the tragedy in Tucson?
Anderson Cooper said on CNN, "Some democrats appear to be using this situation to point fingers at republicans accusing them of creating a toxic environment of inflammatory political speech."
Some conservatives are lashing out, saying there is no one to blame but the gunman himself.
Bill O'Reilly said on Fox News Channel, "They are accusing people of being accessories to murder. How despicable is that?"
Glenn Beck said on his show, "This man wasn't a right wing nut job not a left wing nut job. He was just a nut job."
Elizabeth Hasselbeck said on The View, "There is no excuse. There's no one to blame except the person behind the gun."
Others are saying the horrific shooting rampage is a reminder to all public figures to watch their words.
Whoppie Goldberg added her opinion on The View, saying, "If it's possible that that little girl got caught in the middle our adult b.s., then all of us, left, right, we need to keep an eye on it."
Barbara Walters talked about a conversation she had with Fox News President Roger Ailes, saying, "Roger, who's an old friend, talked to his people at Fox and said, in essence, 'keep the rhetoric down and do not make this a political event.' "
Steve Abuto, author of "What Were They Thinking" told INSIDE EDITION, "When people say that words don't hurt, that's bull. They make an environment that's condusive for crazy people to make it easier for them to act out on their craziness. Not responsible for it, but it doesn't help."
Sarah Palin is still under fire for some of her fiery rhetoric, and for posting a map on her website with crosshairs that targeted Congressmen in 20 districts, including Gabby Giffords' in Arizona. Palin has taken the map down and says she denounces violence, but MSNBC's Keith Olberman isn't satisfied.
"Why not just say, 'we meant no harm, but in light of this tragedy we are not going to use that imagery anymore and we hope no one else does," said Olberman.
Radio show host Rush Limbaugh rushed to Palin's defense, saying, "This guy's been on the sherrif's radar in Pima County since 2007, long before Sarah Palin was nominated to run with McCain and long before there was a Tea party."
The Daily Show's Jon Stewart struck a rare serious tone trying to make sense of this senseless tragedy, saying, "I wouldn't blame our political rhetoric anymore than I would blame heavy metal music for Columbine. You can not outsmart crazy. You don't know what a troubled mind with get caught on."
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