Talk radio maven Rush Limbaugh said Monday that media commentators are “insane” for linking right-wing political figures, particularly former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, to the Tucson shooting rampage that left Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in critical condition, six dead, and many wounded.
“If people on the right and Sarah Palin and so forth are responsible for all of this and this ‘vitriol’ and ‘rhetoric’ is so pitched, how come this isn’t happening every day?” Limbaugh said during his radio show. “Why is it the vast exception to the rule?…[The media’s] first objective and first priority was to try to make an association between this nut and Sarah Palin. What? That’s absolutely… You talk about insane? This guy doesn’t know Sarah Palin. She doesn’t know him. The really weak, flimsy, balsa wood-type attempts to link this guy to Sarah Palin?”
Since Saturday’s shooting, Palin has been heavily criticized for including Gifford’s district in a 2010 midterm election map depicting rifle crosshairs. Palin also instructed her followers, “Don’t retreat, reload,” a comment that many pundits say inspired 22-year-old Jared Loughner to open fire Saturday.
“We don’t have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was,” wrote New York Times columnist Paul Krugman “[Giffords has] been the target of violence before… And yes, she was on Sarah Palin’s infamous ‘crosshairs’ list.”
Former Minnesota gov. Tim Pawlenty, who called Palin “a force of nature” last week, told the New York Times that he disagreed with Palin’s use of crosshairs.
“It’s not a device I would have chosen to do. Everybody has got their own style or different approaches,” Pawlenty said. “But I don’t want to have anyone infer that there’s evidence in this case that it caused or was a contributing factor. We don’t know that.”
Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas responded to the shooting with a tweet, “Mission accomplished, Sarah Palin.”
Limbaugh also said during his broadcast that there’s no logic to attributing a political ideology to Loughner’s motivation.
“One of the first acts of insanity is to take an obviously deranged, insane, irrational kid and try to analyze him with sanity and with rationality,” Limbaugh said. “To accept the premise [that political rhetoric caused the shooting] is insane, it’s silly, and it’s stupid. It’s beneath these people. Or is it?”
Read the full transcript of Limbaugh’s broadcast here.