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Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Will MRC Denounce Those Who Want Journalists Dead?
Topic: NewsBusters
In a June 27 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard takes offense at the idea that right-wing bloggers be held responsible for their eliminationist rhetoric against journalists. Reacting to a Raw Story article recounting death threats made against New York Times reporters over its reporting on secret government surveillance programs, Sheppard wrote: "It is definitely going to bear watching to see whether this kind of reporting about the conservative reaction to the Times article becomes more of the focus on the part of the media than the actual story itself as well as its sweeping ramifications."

Sheppard's post came on the heels of a Tim Graham post earlier in the day taking similar offense to a letter writer to the Romenesko media-news site asserting that "a significant portion" of conservatives "couldn't care less if every journalist in the country was simply jailed or gunned down," insisting: "It is in no way fair or accurate to inflate and caricature conservative criticisms of the liberal media into a grand wish of wanting them dead." Of course, that's what Graham does in reverse, citing as counter-evidence that "Al Franken went around the 'mainstream media' circuit making jokes about Bush officials being executed for treason in the Plame case. (And journalists like Matt Lauer laughed.)"

It's worth noting that neither Graham nor Sheppard explicitly condemned eliminationist rhetoric by conservatives against the media. (We have previously noted that such rhetoric by NewsBusters posters and commenters has not been countered or punished.) Graham played the "but liberals do it too" card; Sheppard worried about the issue distrating attention from the main issue of conservatives' goal of discrediting the New York Times and considered the whole idea of noting conservative death threats "toooooo funny."

Of course, any such condemnation would have to cover the conservatives' current source of ardor, Ann Coulter, who famously wished that Tim McVeigh had blown up the New York Times building.

If Graham and Sheppard (or anyone at the MRC) are actually offended by fellow conservatives calling for the death of journalists, they need to actually denounce it instead of playing semantic games or condoning it because examples of liberals making threats can be found.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:59 PM EDT

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