MoveOn launches campaign against vitriolic language — despite sordid history of using vitriolic language

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
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Despite having a sordid history of using vitriolic rhetoric, George Soros-funded advocacy group MoveOn has seized upon the tragic shooting of Ariz. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and other attendees of a public event in Tucson Saturday as a means to go after “overt and implied appeals to violence in our political debate.”

The left-wing group has launched a congressional petition campaign to get members of Congress and the news media to drop any references to “violence” from political discussion.

“In the wake of the mass shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others in Tucson, we must end the violent rhetoric that has exploded in American politics over the past two years,” MoveOn’s website states. “That’s why we’re calling on every member of Congress, as well as the major TV news networks, to put an end to overt and implied appeals to violence in our political debate. A compiled petition with your individual comment will be presented to Congress and the major TV news networks.”

MoveOn seems to have forgotten the hate campaigns and vitriolic language it and its members have used. Though its website states that “violent rhetoric” has taken over American politics in the “past two years,” MoveOn has been engaging in such rhetoric for much longer.

Just last year, one of MoveOn’s members choked a Tea Partier at a political event in Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’s district during midterm election campaigning. Republicorps and MoveOn member Fred Highton told The Daily Caller in October that he regretted initiating a physical altercation with a conservative Tea Partier at that political event at the University of Arizona.

“If I’m going to take part in these political events, I need to learn some self-control,” Highton said in October.

MoveOn did not return TheDC’s requests for comment or clarification, nor would the group decry Highton’s violent actions.

WATCH: MoveOn supporter chokes Tea Partier at political event in Giffords’s district:

Also, MoveOn sponsored an advertisement in 2003 that compared then President George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler. Over reddened footage of Hitler and Nazi troops marching, the MoveOn advertisement reads, “A nation warped by lies, lies fuel fear, fear fuels aggression, invasion, occupation. What were war crimes in 1945, is foreign policy in 2003.”

WATCH: MoveOn compares George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler

Another MoveOn-sponsored smear campaign attacked General David Petraeus in 2007. The left-wing group ran a full-page ad in The New York Times that read, “General Petraeus or General Betray Us” and accused Petraeus of “Cooking the books for the White House” and as being “constantly at war with the facts.”

Though no tie between accused gunman Jared Lee Loughner and either conservative or liberal talk radio or news media has been established, some left-leaning groups like MoveOn are trying to tie the Tea Party movement and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to his horrendous act of violence. The left-wing groups’ attacks appear to be gaining traction, as mainstream news anchors and figures have started picking up on the narrative.

CNN “State of the Union” host Candy Crowley asked Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, Illinois Democrat, Sunday if he thought Palin and the Tea Party movement had gone too far in their rhetoric and are possibly responsible for inciting the Arizona tragedy.

“I guess that the undertow — and certainly it’s not an undertow on the Internet — but the undertow with politicians now speaking publicly is, well, the Republicans and the Tea Party and Sarah Palin have gone way too far in their rhetoric; it’s been violent rhetoric, and therefore this sort of thing happens. Are you making that direct connection?,” Crowley asked Durbin.

On CBS’s “Face the Nation,” host Bob Schieffer asked politicians from both the Democratic and Republican parties if they thought the tragedy in Arizona was a result of “vitriolic, political rhetoric that has consumed the country,” especially after the Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik blamed the event on such rhetoric.

Senator Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican, said he thought the sheriff had no place saying that, adding that it was “speculation,” but House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, told Schieffer he believes the shooting was a result of vitriolic rhetoric in politics and in the media.

Also, though he didn’t mention Palin or the Tea Party movement specifically, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked Maryland Democratic Congressman Chris Van Hollen on the Sunday show “This Week” what he thought of the political “rhetoric” around the country.

“The rhetoric definitely got ratcheted up all thousand the course of the campaign. Going forward, what do you think you, other members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans and the like can do to help bring the temperature down?” Stephanopoulos asked Van Hollen.

British newspaper The Guardian posted a story Sunday night, too, that echoed the narrative connecting conservatives, Palin and the Tea Party movement to Loughner and the shootings.

“The US was tonight seized by a fierce debate over whether inflammatory rightwing rhetoric was to blame for a shooting spree in Tucson, Arizona, that targeted congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and left six dead, including a nine-year-old child,” The Guardian article opened.