An Arizona sheriff responsible for investigating the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) confronted conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh Tuesday for the “irresponsible” rhetoric he uses on his radio show.
“The kind of rhetoric that flows from people like Rush Limbaugh, in my judgment he is irresponsible, uses partial information, sometimes wrong information,” Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik told ABC News. “[Limbaugh] attacks people, angers them against government, angers them against elected officials and that kind of behavior in my opinion is not without consequences.”
The sheriff lamented the state of political discourse in the United States during a press conference Saturday, sparking a national debate over who, if anyone, should be held accountable for using violent political rhetoric.
“When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government,” Dupnik said, “the anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous.”
He added that “people in the radio business and some people in the TV business” needed to tone down their rhetoric, but did not mention anyone specifically at the time.
“It’s not unusual for all public officials to get threats constantly, myself included,” Dupnik continued. “That’s the sad thing about what’s going on in America: pretty soon we’re not going to be able to find reasonable decent people willing to subject themselves to serve in public office.”
On his radio show Monday, Limbaugh said that the sheriff had “made a fool of himself.”
“What this was all about is shutting down any and all political opposition and eventually criminalizing it,” he added. “Criminalizing policy differences, at least when they differ from the Democrat Party agenda.”
Limbaugh has received a deluge of criticism for his hyperbolic remarks and constant demonization of liberals.
“Liberals in power are a threat to Western civilization,” he said on his radio show. “While they are ruthless in their pursuit of power, they are weak in the face of evil, and their compassion for evildoers defies sanity. That applies to liberals here, liberals across the pond, and liberals in every corner of the world.”
Sheriff Dupnik has received criticism from numerous conservative commentators.
Fox News featured critical commentary the sheriff’s remarks on its website Tuesday, which stated, “The sheriff, a Democrat who has served as the county’s top cop for 31 years, angered many with the remarks — including some of his friends, who felt his editorializing had no part in a news conference, typically reserved for impersonal facts and details.”