America was stunned when Jared Lee Loughner pulled out a gun in a Tucson, Arizona, supermarket parking lot in 2011 and shot then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in the head at point-blank range and killed six others. No one recalls a TV pundit wondering whether the people should root for Giffords to survive — or anyone with the gall to imply her head wound was "self-inflicted."
That was not the case with the shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and four others last week. Outgoing "CBS Evening News" anchor Scott Pelley proclaimed, "It's time to ask whether the attack on the United States Congress yesterday was foreseeable, predictable and, to some degree, self-inflicted." Wrong. It was time for Pelley to evacuate the anchor chair.
On Saturday morning, MSNBC "AM Joy" host Joy Reid brought on leftist Rev. Dr. William Barber so he could preach his usual sermon about villainous Republicans who "crucify voting rights" and enact other legislative evils. The MSNBC screen promised a "Moral Moment."
Reid set up the reverend by saying, "it's a delicate thing because, you know, obviously everybody is wishing the congressman well and hoping that he recovers." She didn't stop there.
She continued: "But Steve Scalise has a history that we've all been forced to sort of ignore on race. He did come to leadership after some controversy over attending a white nationalist event, which he says he didn't know what it was. He also co-sponsored a bill to amend the Constitution to define marriage between a man and a woman. He voted for the House health care bill, which, as you said, would gut health care for millions of people, including three million children. And he co-sponsored a bill to repeal the ban on semiautomatic weapons. ... Are we required in a moral sense to put that aside at the moment?"
This shameless program was supported by the following advertisers over the weekend: AT&T, Duluth Trading Co., Ensure, Purina, Crest, Gas-X, Infiniti and ZipRecruiter.
The Twitter account for Reid's "AM Joy" show seconded her emotion, saying, "Rep. #Scalise was shot by a white man with a violent background, and saved by a black lesbian police officer, and yet..." A graphic listed his votes for the House health care bill, a marriage amendment to the Constitution and a repeal of the liberal gun control law.
Common decency means we all hope and pray for the recovery of a public servant, as in the Giffords shooting. It's not the time to quibble about their same-sex marriage voting score. Greg Gutfeld on Fox said it best: "Let me ask you this. A woman is raped. Do you feel compelled afterward to dredge up her stance on abortion or global warming?"
NBC and MSNBC weren't going to address Reid's immoral moment. They had the audacity to skip over that and applied their outrage instead to a Republican PAC that made a disreputable ad for the Georgia special election. It refers to the shooting and alleges that the "unhinged left" applauded the shooting, and that the violence won't stop "if Jon Ossoff wins." Everyone can denounce that — and they did — as the other networks put the ad flap into heavy rotation leading up to the election.
But Joy Reid's uncivil rudeness — do we have to root for Scalise to survive? — went unaddressed. All the networks that aired this ad, deplored it and declared it "beyond offensive" were the same networks that shamelessly publicized the false liberal claim that former Gov. Sarah Palin was somehow responsible for Gabby Giffords getting shot. Civility is never a two-way street for the left.
L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org. To find out more about Brent Bozell III and Tim Graham, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.