We saw it during Barack Obama's presidency: Inciting invective on the right was impeding the work of the party in the White House and even causing deranged men with guns to act violently, according to some Times letter writers. When Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in 2011, many readers were quick to blame right-wing pundits before it became widely known that the gunman was a deeply paranoid man whose conspiracy theories betrayed no political bias.
Now, with Donald Trump in the White House and Republicans in control of Congress, it's the president's conservative supporters writing to condemn the left — including what they consider the liberal media — after a man who expressed violently anti-GOP views shot House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and two others in Alexandria, Va., on Wednesday.
Here are some of the more accusatory letters we've received this week.
Don Ruh of Yucaipa encourages journalists to be more responsible:
The attempted assassin who claimed Republicans were worse than terrorists and needed to be eradicated, among other vile comments, then tried to kill Republican members of Congress, was "a little off."
A little? Really?
You may not realize this, as your ideology and that of most of the media is so ingrained as to be blinding, but you and other liberal news organizations have been stoking hatred for this president and Republicans in general, feeding the deranged mind set of radicals like the slain Alexandria shooter James T. Hodgkinson.
Take credit where credit is due. You are complicit in the spewing of such hatred for anyone who disagrees with your leftist views. Please be more responsible in the future; you owe it to your country.
Encino resident Murray Levine says the media have blood on their hands:
The media keep presenting Trump as a vile, nefarious villain. Comedian Kathy Griffin lifts up a mock severed head of our president. A New York theatrical group portrays Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, who is brutally assassinated, as Trump.
No wonder idiots out there think literally taking pot shots at Republicans is fair game.
A similar thing happened when the New York Times reported that President Ford was soft on environmental concerns and influenced Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, believing the coastal redwoods were in danger because of automobile exhaust, to attempt an assassination of Ford in Sacramento.
Is there enough water in drought-stricken California to wash the blood off your hands?
Santa Monica resident Paul Gulino blames the other side's rhetoric:
The hatefulness that characterizes our political discourse is regrettable, but the perpetuation of false equivalence will not help the situation.
The Times' June 15 report "'It's been building and building'" notes that, in the wake of Wednesday's shooting, words of reconciliation were quickly drowned out by "partisans grasping for tactical advantage." It goes on to cite examples on the right, quoting a radio host, a commentator and the president's son.
It also says this: "On the Democratic side, some more virulent partisans openly celebrated the critical wounding of Rep. Steve Scalise." Who are these "virulent partisans"? What did they say?
I hope one day journalists will be unafraid to point out the simple fact that the violent rhetoric and incitement that characterize political speech today are products of the right, not both sides. We must first recognize the truth if we are to successfully address this problem.