The media focus on Sarah Palin's notorious crosshairs map does some lasting damage
This new CNN poll on the Tucson mass shooting seems like bad news for Sarah Palin:
QUESTION: Overall, how much do you blame each of the following for the shooting in Arizona — a great deal, a moderate amount, not much, or not at all?
The laws under which guns are bought and sold in this country
Great deal 30% … Moderate amount 22% … Not much 14% … Not at all 33%
The use of harsh rhetoric and violent metaphors by politicians and commentators
Great deal 25% … Moderate amount 23% … Not much 17% … Not at all 32%
A map on Sarah Palin’s website that marked 20 congressional districts, including the district represented by the congresswoman who was shot, with an image that looked like the crosshairs of a gun
Great deal 19% … Moderate amount 16% … Not much 15% … Not at all 44%
The resources available to deal with people who may be mentally ill
Great deal 41% … Moderate amount 29% … Not much 13% … Not at all 15%
So a substantial minority — 35 percent — blame the Palin map either a great deal or a moderate amount for what happened in Tucson.
Granted polls don’t do nuance well, but that number should be 0 percent. My colleagues Steve Kornacki and Alex Pareene had a good exchange last week on whether inflammatory rhetoric on the right may have helped precipitate Jared Loughner’s rampage. There’s a real argument to be had. But there is simply no evidence that the Palin crosshairs map had anything to do with what Loughner did.
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