A CBS News' poll shows the majority of Americans have not bought into that spin and 57 percent, almost one in six Americans believe the political rhetoric from both sides is not to blame for the Arizona massacre.
Overall, 57 percent of respondents said the harsh political tone had nothing to do with the shooting, compared to 32 percent who felt it did. Republicans were more likely to feel the two were unrelated - 69 percent said rhetoric was not to blame; 19 percent said it played a part. Democrats were more split on the issue - 49 percent saw no connection; 42 percent said there was.
Independents more closely reflected the overall breakdown - 56 percent said rhetoric had nothing to do with the attack; 33 percent felt it did.
As more news comes out about the shooter, it appears Loughner was angry, also described as obsessed, for years at Gabrielle Giffords after attending an event and asking a question he felt she did not answer to his satisfaction. He also appeared to be angry at the government for years as well. Stories from people that new him describe a disruptive individual.
David Brooks points out there were some on the far left that did not try to use the shooting as political fodder and tried to inject reason into the issue, and they are worth mentioning.
These accusations — that political actors contributed to the murder of 6 people, including a 9-year-old girl — are extremely grave. They were made despite the fact that there was, and is, no evidence that Loughner was part of these movements or a consumer of their literature. They were made despite the fact that the link between political rhetoric and actual violence is extremely murky. They were vicious charges made by people who claimed to be criticizing viciousness.
Yet such is the state of things. We have a news media that is psychologically ill informed but politically inflamed, so it naturally leans toward political explanations. We have a news media with a strong distaste for Sarah Palin and the Tea Party movement, and this seemed like a golden opportunity to tarnish them. We have a segmented news media, so there is nobody in most newsrooms to stand apart from the prevailing assumptions. We have a news media market in which the rewards go to anybody who can stroke the audience’s pleasure buttons.
I have no love for Sarah Palin, and I like to think I’m committed to civil discourse. But the political opportunism occasioned by this tragedy has ranged from the completely irrelevant to the shamelessly irresponsible.
The good news is that there were a few skeptics, even during the height of the mania: Howard Kurtz of The Daily Beast, James Fallows of The Atlantic and Jonathan Chait of The New Republic. The other good news is that the mainstream media usually recovers from its hysterias and tries belatedly to get the story right.
Loughner's initial court appearance resulted in being remanded without bail as Judge Lawrence Anderson stated he was a danger to the community.
Loughner's next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 24
More on that at ABC News.
"Shouldn't happen in this country or anywhere else, but in a free society we are going to be subjected to people like this so, I prefer this to the alternative."-- John Green, father of Christina Green, the nine year old victim of the massacre in Arizona
It is natural and human to want to explain and find someone to blame when tragedy occurs but it seems that Americans by and large understand the blame should be cast on the perpetrator of such a horrible act and not recklessly cast upon those that had nothing to do with it.
(Corrections have been made to this post to reflect conflicting reports)