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Paul Krugman opens up his column, "Climate of Hate," in Monday's New York Times, asking his readers if they were surprised by the events in Arizona this past Saturday, or if they were, like him, "...expecting something like this atrocity to happen?"

He then posits that it's disingenuous for anyone to think that this act has nothing to do with "the national climate."

His main theme in Monday's NYT op-ed: "'s the saturation of our political discourse -- and especially our airwaves -- with eliminationist rhetoric that lies behind the rising tide of violence."

The editors of the NY Times, in their lead editorial in Monday's edition, generally agree with Krugman's assessment, as well: "Bloodshed and Invective in Arizona."

Bloodshed and Invective in Arizona
New York Times
January 10, 2011

...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. Many on the right have exploited the arguments of division, reaping political power by demonizing immigrants, or welfare recipients, or bureaucrats. They seem to have persuaded many Americans that the government is not just misguided, but the enemy of the people...


Climate of Hate
New York Times
January 10, 2011

....Where's that toxic rhetoric coming from? Let's not make a false pretense of balance: it's coming, overwhelmingly, from the right. It's hard to imagine a Democratic member of Congress urging constituents to be "armed and dangerous" without being ostracized; but Representative Michele Bachmann, who did just that, is a rising star in the G.O.P.

And there's a huge contrast in the media. Listen to Rachel Maddow or Keith Olbermann, and you'll hear a lot of caustic remarks and mockery aimed at Republicans. But you won't hear jokes about shooting government officials or beheading a journalist at The Washington Post. Listen to Glenn Beck or Bill O'Reilly, and you will.

Krugman continues on to note that people like Beck and O'Reilly are "...responding to popular demand." A few sentences later, he admonishes: "...that doesn't excuse those who pander to that desire. They should be shunned by all decent people."

He then comments how these "...purveyors of hate have been treated with respect, even deference, by the G.O.P. establishment."

He concludes...

So will the Arizona massacre make our discourse less toxic? It's really up to G.O.P. leaders. Will they accept the reality of what's happening to America, and take a stand against eliminationist rhetoric? Or will they try to dismiss the massacre as the mere act of a deranged individual, and go on as before?

If Arizona promotes some real soul-searching, it could prove a turning point. If it doesn't, Saturday's atrocity will be just the beginning.

The editors of the NY Times on Jared Loughner...

...[he] appears to be mentally ill. His paranoid Internet ravings about government mind control place him well beyond usual ideological categories.

But he is very much a part of a widespread squall of fear, anger and intolerance that has produced violent threats against scores of politicians and infected the political mainstream with violent imagery. With easy and legal access to semiautomatic weapons like the one used in the parking lot, those already teetering on the edge of sanity can turn a threat into a nightmare...

And, on our country's newest ground zero....

...Anti-immigrant sentiment in the state, firmly opposed by Ms. Giffords, has reached the point where Latino studies programs that advocate ethnic solidarity have actually been made illegal.

Its gun laws are among the most lenient, allowing even a disturbed man like Mr. Loughner to buy a pistol and carry it concealed without a special permit. That was before the Tucson rampage. Now, having seen first hand the horror of political violence, Arizona should lead the nation in quieting the voices of intolerance, demanding an end to the temptations of bloodshed, and imposing sensible controls on its instruments.

Amen to that!

Originally posted to on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 09:02 PM PST.

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