Yes, violent words do cause violence, especially when
they are amplified by the power of mass media.
An individual spewing hatred and arguing for violence
may or may not inspire those around him to commit a
violent act. But those spewing hatred and arguing for
violence through the mass media reach many, many more people,
some of whom are going to be mentally unhinged. Also,
generally speaking, someone who inspires a mass following
(high ratings) will generally have much more charisma
and persuasive abilities than the average person,
thus giving their violent rhetoric even more power.
Here are a few examples:
Dr. King was especially adamant that Wallace and other
Southern politicians who inflamed racist sentiments were
complicit in the era's trail of blood. On September 16,
1963 -- the day after four African-American girls were
killed in a church bombing in Birmingham -- King wrote
The governor said things and did things which caused these
people to feel that they were aided and abetted by the highest
officer in the state. The murders of yesterday stand as blood
on the hands of Governor Wallace.
The evidence seems to support King and others who argue there
was a connection: As Raines notes, 12 people were killed in
civil rights-related slayings during Wallace's first term
between 1963 and 1966 -- a product not only of Wallace's
escalating rhetoric, but also his famous unwillingness to
prosecute the murder suspects.
And then there was Dr. King himself: James Earl Ray, the man
eventually convicted for shooting King, was greatly influenced
by Wallace and his agenda, even moving to Los Angeles to volunteer
in Wallace's campaign headquarters in North Hollywood.
http://www.southernstudies.org/2011/01/ ... south.html
Most people had never even heard of the Tides Foundation
until Glen Beck decided to vilify them:
----------As John Hamilton reported, alleged California highway shooter
Byron Williams - who reportedly told investigators that
"his intention was to start a revolution by traveling to
San Francisco and killing people of importance at the
Tides Foundation and the ACLU" - repeatedly assailed financier
George Soros. Fox News host Glenn Beck, whose show Williams
touted, has also attacked "evil" Soros and Tides, often weaving
them into his conspiracy theories.
Tides Foundation and Soros frequently mentioned by Beck. From
the first day of Beck's Fox News program to July 18, the day
Williams was arrested, the Tides Foundation has been mentioned
on 29 editions of his show. In most of those instances, Beck
attacked Tides, often weaving the organization into his conspiracy
theories. Two of those mentions occurred during the week before
Williams' shootout, and three occurred during June -- the month
of programming Williams highlighted to journalist John Hamilton.
Since the start of his Fox News program to July 18, "Soros" has
been mentioned on 85 programs - nine times in June alone,
according to a Nexis search.
In vilifying Soros, Beck has claimed that the Tides Foundation
acts as a vehicle for Soros' ruinous plans to enact an extremist
More on Glen Beck:
----------"Hang on, let me just tell you what I'm thinking. I'm thinking
about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill
him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it.
No, I think I could."
"Violence is coming": Glenn Beck's long history of violent rhetoric
Beck's Incendiary Rhetoric Has Motivated Threats, Assassination Attempts
Orcinus has a list of examples of Eliminationist quotes
from the mass media, such as:
So it is no surprise that some emotionally unstable peopleRush Limbaugh: "I tell people donâ€™t kill all the liberals. Leave
enough so we can have two on every campus -- living fossils -- so
we will never forget what these people stood for."
Melanie Morgan: "I would have no problem with [New York Times
editor Bill Keller] being sent to the gas chamber."
Lee Rogers: "[T]he day will come when unpleasant things are going
to happen to a bunch of stupid liberals and it's going to be very
amusing to watch."
Ann Coulter: "My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not
go to the New York Times Building."
http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/2007/03/el ... endix.html
have taken the eliminationist rhetoric to heart:
----------Knoxville church shooter's manifesto leaves no doubt: murders
were political terror against liberals
http://crooksandliars.com/david-neiwert ... -manifesto
Interestingly, this incident is only the latest in a string
of violent threats at Democrats -- and particularly President Obama --
cropping up very recently, and in all of them mental illness appears
to be playing a significant role.
http://crooksandliars.com/david-neiwert ... mocrats-ke
Assassination attempt on Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/0 ... 06211.html
Oklahoma City Bombing
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_Mc ... he_bombing
Climate of Hate
-----------The point is that thereâ€™s room in a democracy for people who
ridicule and denounce those who disagree with them; there isnâ€™t
any place for eliminationist rhetoric, for suggestions that
those on the other side of a debate must be removed from that
debate by whatever means necessary.
And itâ€™s the saturation of our political discourse â€” and especially
our airwaves â€” with eliminationist rhetoric that lies behind the
rising tide of violence.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/10/opini ... aulkrugman
Joking about Murder
â€œA Boston-area blogger [Travis Corcoran] who declared "one down,
534 to go" after the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has had his gun
license pulled and a "large amount" of weapons removed his home.â€