Whoopi Goldberg may not be the best of talents when it comes to picking scripts that will become breakout hits as films, but she certainly seems to have absolutely nailed a prediction of what America’s political discourse would become in an era of ubiquitous violent rhetoric.
During a March 2010 broadcast of ABC’s daytime talk show “The View,” co-host Joy Behar called out “an Al Qaeda Christmas card” circulated by Fox News employee Sarah Palin, showing a map of the US with gun sights over 20 individual congressional districts.
“Why don’t you just send the map to bin Laden and show it to him?” Behar asked. “She says that she’s so patriotic and then she does something like that? Hypocritical.”
“I wanna put something out to the talking heads who are still busy inciting this: Whatever comes down from this, it’s on your hands, okay?” Goldberg said. “When you say ‘wipe ‘em out’ and sort-of gently suggest people do stuff … Lemme tell you about people who tell you to do stuff: You notice they are not doing it. They’re at home; they’re not going to jail. If you get caught throwing a brick, shooting somebody, your behind is going to jail. Your family is going to suffer.”
Goldberg said that same principle was operating behind the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, adding: “Watch yourself, talking heads, ’cause this is dangerous.”
Even Elisabeth Hasselbeck, a Republican co-host on “The View,” said that she was very disappointed in Palin’s “target list.”
“The way that some Republicans are handling this is purely despicable,” Hasselbeck said. “It’s disappointing to see this coming from the party.”
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) herself, who appeared on Palin’s “target list” and wound up among the 19 shot outside a Tucson grocery store on Saturday, called out Palin’s “target list” during a March broadcast on MSNBC.
“The thing is, the way that she has it depicted — the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district — when people do that, they’ve got to realize that there’s consequences for that action,” she said.
Other Democrats who appeared on Palin’s “target list” said they also received death threats, with some of them reporting that their offices were vandalized during what Republican conspiracy theorist Glenn Beck called the “summer of rage.”
Even the president of Fox News apparently realized when enough was enough. Roger Ailes reportedly told his employees, which includes nearly all the front-runners for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, to “tone it down.”
The night before she was shot, Giffords appealed to Kentucky’s former Republican secretary of state, asking for ideas on how violent partisan rhetoric could be leveled off.
This video from “The View” was broadcast by ABC in March 2010.