Right-Wing Talkers Exploiting Ft. Hood

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Over at PoliticsDaily.com, I have a column noting how right-wing TV and radio ranters have been exploiting the Fort Hood tragedy to sow division and bash political foes—while accusing liberals and Democrats of using the event to divide the nation. It’s a mind-bending development. A few examples:

* Chris Plante, a Rush-wannabe with his own radio show, says that liberals are “trying desperately to convince America” that Nidal Hasan, the presumed shooter, was “just a crazy guy who spent too much time around deployed soldiers and caught [post-traumatic stress disorder] and oh he happened to be a muslim [sic], but we should ignore that. We shouldn’t jump to conclusions.” On his show, he has repeatedly declared that Hasan shouted “Allahu Akbar!” before firing on his comrades—even though it’s not been confirmed that Hasan did so. Isn’t that a bit divisive?

* Syndicated talker Laura Ingraham also claimed it was a fact that Hasan was “screaming Allah-u-Akbar” —as she argued that Hasan had been moved to kill by his “religious fervor” (read: Muslim religious fervor).

* Sean Hannity proclaimed, “There is a chance our government knew all about” Hasan and “did nothing because nobody wanted to be called an Islamophobe.” Yet there’s no evidence of that. And given that the US government has been arresting alleged Muslim radicals in the United States and bombing Islamic jihadists in Pakistan, it seems top officials are hardly inhibited by the fear of being branded Islamophobes. Hannity has also blasted the Obama administration for not catching Hasan before his killing spree, bellowing, “What does it say about Barack Obama and our government?” Actually, it says nothing about Obama. Two terrorism task forces learned that Hasan had been in contact with a radical imam in late 2008 and subsequently did nothing, after an analyst concluded Hasan’s contacts with the imam were consistent with research he was conducting.

* Rush Limbaugh, of course, has gotten into this act. He first blamed Obama for the event, contending that Obama’s policy moves had pushed Hasan to become a killer. Then he slammed Obama for not calling the Fort Hood an act of terror.

Nothing like a national discussion based on reason and evidence, right? My column on this is drawing an unusually high number of comments. I can just imagine how calm and rational they are.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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