Monday, January 10, 2011

Terror in Tucson

Wisely AC360 made the decision to not air the Paul Reubens interview on Monday's program. Instead they took a detailed look at the Saturday shootings in Arizona. The opening featured Randi Kaye, Drew Griffin and Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

The panel in the first hour was David Gergen and Dana Loesch. Gergen summed it up perfectly for me by saying
" There is no connection, clear or vague between that rhetoric (during mid term elections) and what this deranged fellow did. And in that sense I think it is inappropriate to point fingers and make accusations trying to link the rhetoric to this rampage. If anything the accusations and all this name calling is only further poisoning the discourse in this country and further polarizing us as a people. President Obama had it right today, we need to pull together as a people."

And from that we segue to Bill Maher. I'm a fan of Mahr's so this criticism is coming from someone who usually appreciates his political take on things BUT tonight was not the night for him. His finger pointing and negative observations did not make this resident of Arizona feel any better about this weekend's tragedy in my state. His ruminations were very disturbing to me and I found it totally inappropriate at this time.

Which brings us to the crux of the issue. If Arizona had more than a skeleton system in place for treating mentally disturbed people the perpetrator of his crime wouldn't have fallen through the cracks and he wouldn't have been able to legally purchase a firearm. Arizona has slashed mental health services almost every year for the past decade. Last year, the worst by far, the Legislature made a 37 percent cut to the mental health system budget.
Mental health experts have warned for years that by slashing their budget more people would end up in the criminal justice system. Guess they should have added the caveat that innocent citizens would die too.

The segment following Mahr went back to Gergen and Loesch. Frankly at this point I was so angry at Mahr, AC360 et all I vacillated between changing the channel and just watching with my finger on the mute button.

The second hour of AC360 talked of those who lost their lives and those that are still struggling to survive. Randi Kaye provided a time line of the day and interviews with people who were on the scene.

Drew Griffin interviewed one of the professors at Pima Community College who had Laughner expelled from the campus and Cooper interview two former classmates.

Anderson conducted interviews with four of the people who were heroes on Saturday. 3 had subdued the gunman and the fourth, a Giffords aide, spoke about how he helped the Congresswoman.

Next up was Dr. Gupta explaining the injury to Rep. Giffords and the consequences.

Anderson did an interview, by satellite, with the parents of Christina-Taylor Green. She was the nine year old girl who was the youngest victim of this senseless tragedy. Her father, John Green, said that he didn't believe this crime was about politics he felt that it was more media driven. He went on to say that someone who plans and executes a crime of this type is looking for that big splash of publicity.

The final panel of the evening was Dana Loesch, David Gergen and Roland Martin discussing the rhetoric.

360 Bulletin with Joe Johns

AC360 Transcript

AC360 Podcast

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ACAnderFan said...

I'm sure I am in the minority here, but I think 360 spent way too much time on the Arizona incident. Its been dissected all weekend already. Though the interview with the parents of Christina Green was very touching and moving. I feel so bad for them. Its awful that their child was killed senselessly. My heart goes out to them.

judy said...

CNN made a wise decision?
Well that's encouraging. And yes the time spent on the terror in Tucson was not wasted. I found both segments insiteful, even the ones I had seen before.
I think I've mentioned that I've visited Tucson many times and Arizona is one beautiful state.
Having said that, my friend, who lives in Tucson, says, and I agree, that the political rhetoric is absolutely toxic THERE. And she lives not far from where the incident took place.
Dana Loesch is one person that must be put in "her place" and I'm so glad David Gergen had the last word about "gun control and the lack of scrutiny that goes into the background checks in AZ.
Why does a twenty-two year old, sane or otherwise, need to carry a loaded assault weapon, openly?
And does Dana actually expect all the "crazies" to be rounded up and marked with the large letter L for LUNATIC, and that will solve the gun control problem?
Here's a thought, Dana, after you wipe the smugness off your face, a whole lot of SANE people, kill innocent people too.
AC said he'd see us tomorrow, but he didn't say Haiti.

Anonymous said...

I think the rhetoric and finger-pointing about 'who is to blame' for the Arizona tragedy needs to be dialed down. Although I like Bill Maher a lot, I don't think he helped do that. I preferred Jon Stewart's comments an am surprised that AC360 didn't take the high road.

tt said...

I don't live in Arizona so I don't have that perpsective, but I agreed with Bill Maher. I'm glad they had him on because there are few people who would have been willing and able to articulately call out the problems of guns, violent rhetoric coming from major establishment players on the right, false equivalencies, and cuts to social spending the way he did.

I have to ask if this is really the time to put people on to make people feel good when things in fact are not good and the incident red flags many things that are wrong and dangerous and deserve attention and remedy for people to be safer.

aries moon said...

The overall tone of political discourse has changed since the 2008 elections and not for the better. I had to agree with all of Bill Maher's comments last night. I did think it was disingenuous of David Gergen to suggest that the strong rhetoric (mostly perpetrated by right wing politicians/media) was not a possible factor in the Tuscon shootings. The suspect may have been an Independent, but he alluded to many of the hot button issues that rile the Tea Party and GOP in his writings. It's important to no sugarcoat or downplay what has been going on in this country since the election of President Obama--there are a lot of angry, misguided folks out there, some with access to guns who are being egged on by irresponsible politicians and media figures. They may not pull the trigger themselves, but they are contributing to the highly charged political atmosphere and they must be called out for it. Notice how Palin backed away from her "crosshairs" map--even she knows that she's treading in dangerous territory and doesn't want to be held accountable for it. It will be interesting to see if those who say that the rhetoric is not the problem will be willing to tone it down in the future.

And I continue to be disgusted with 360's insistence on bringing in Dana Loesch for their political discussions. She is a blight on the program and politics in general and although I didn't agree with Gergen's views last night, I was happy to watch him lay the smackdown on her when they were talking about gun control.

sydney said...

@anon 11:26 I agree 100%. Last night's TDS should be required viewing for everyone on both sides of the aisle.

Wonz said...

@tt - I agree with all you said. I guess what I don't understand is the national media camping out in AZ. At this point, the "incident" itself is a regional story and the community should be left alone so healing can begin.

I do give Bill Maher much credit for addressing the "elephant" in the room and while neither "side" is immune from the vitrol, it is in no way equal. I have not been pleased that 360 has given Dana Loesch a platform to spew her vitriol, unchecked, for the last few months and was so glad to see David Gergen finally stand up to her at the end of the program last night.

Living in a community where 6 people were killed at our local university by a mentally ill gunman 3 years ago - it's my opinion that the national media, after the first day or two, needs to leave the local community alone. They can give updates on additional casulties, court preceedings, etc. from their studios, but hounding people for interviews and speculating on events and recoveries, etc. is not helpful or healing.

Everytime I hear an anchor or pundit say, "the incident is not the result of the political vitriol", I just want to scream. If it's not and they truly believe that, then don't even mention it or agree to be a pundit to discuss it. The national media is responsible for perpetuating the talk. If they wanted it to stop, it's easy - report the facts and move on to the next story.

IMO the "larger" discussion can take place in the NYC, DC, etc. studios. John King just announced that Dr. Gupta is going to AZ on Thursday to walk through the events of the day at the hospital. All I can say is why. Isn't the hospital dealing with enough? Will viewers learn additional "important" information by him being in Tuscon?

Personally, I wish Anderson and Sanjay had gone to Haiti as planned. I think the stories of what's happening in Haiti need to be told and anniversaries seem to be a time when viewers are more apt to tune in. I think viewers could use an hour break from the AZ story. Unfortunately, ratings don't agree with what I often prefer and we all know these types of decisions are based on ratings.

One of my favorite quotes, from one of my favorite movies, The Amerian President is "America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight." I say let the discussion regarding the political vitiol begin, but please lets do it in a reasonable manner and respect those whose opinions may differ than our own, and leave the people in Tuscon alone, so they can begin the healing process.

Wonz said...

Okay - I know that I mis-spelled Tucson. Guess I need to do a better job with my proof-reading, sorry.

judy said...

@11:26AM: I think you are correct. Jon Stewart dealt with the situation very well last nite and it was a verbal catharsis for him, as he acknowledged.
He admitted quite sadly,"We just don't know. What we do know is that this will in fact happen again."
CNN, IMHO, made the right decision not going to Haiti this week.
Our hearts and minds are in Arizona and are focused on our own problems right now.

Wonz said...


Sorry you feel that only one story at a time can be reported or covered. To me, the 24/7 coverage of AZ is not healthy, especially for that community. While no congressman was injured in the local shootings by a mentally ill gunman, 5 young (college age) lives were cut short - one a veteran. Our community was in mourning and two days of national media was more than enough.

The community should be allowed to heal outside the national spotlight.

I'm interested in a wide variety of news stories. All does not stop in the world because of a tragic shooting in AZ, or any other single event in the US or elsewhere. And I don't mean this in any disrespect to those involved or effected by the AZ shooting.