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Archive for the ‘Giffords’ Category


(Credit: Reuters/Rick Wilking)

Dear America:

We need to pause. We need to pause right now.

We need to stop pointing to maps with targets and blogs that say “she is DEAD to me.” We need to stop tweeting, posting, commenting, and sharing our thoughts about what side of the political spectrum is to blame.

We need to share more about the events that have transpired and about the people who died from the gun of a murderer. The time to reflect on the issues is for later. Right now, Tucson mourns and so do you, America.

What has happened to you? Close to 10 years ago, we were united in our greatest tragedy. We looked into each other’s eyes and we cried together. We embraced. We vowed to vaporize the evil that was destroying us. We were one, America. Then things deteriorated. The highest office in your land, America, became fodder for hate. Not once, but twice. The cycle of rhetoric and ratings continued, from both sides of the extreme. And the middle stayed quiet. Until now.

America, you are a crumbling nation that is quick to point fingers and scream with extremes just to prove a point while a little girl is buried, others die, and a public servant clings for her life. So to the following Americans listed below, we say, please pause this, please stop shouting your message and posting your thoughts in the interest of “news.” Unless you have actual facts about this tragedy, we ask you to pause for now. This story is not about you and it never will be. The issues that trouble this story (political extremism, immigration, mental illness, isolation, freedom of speech, violence, guns) will still be with us. Let’s pause and mourn. Dedicate yourselves to that and not comments like these:

Keith Olbermann

Rush Limbaugh

Let’s say that the dead individual happened to be a Democrat Judge, and the wounded individual is a Republican Member of Congress. Who do you think the media would be focused on in that incident?  It’s a rhetorical question, but we have the answer to it.

Glenn Beck

I have so desperately this weekend looked for a leader, looked for someone with common sense, looked for someone who would tell the truth. Instead I find a sheriff who has no facts and blames it on talk radio. Instead I find, I believe it was Time magazine that said, if I may quote: ‘We have none of the facts yet, but who would be surprised if this was a Glenn Beck fan.’ I’ve looked for anyone that would not play politics with it.

 

Markos Moulitsas

 

These are just a few of your more influential Americans adding fuel to the fire online. They place politics over tragedy, rhetoric over reason. They rile up their fans, who then go looking for others to criticize, insult and hurt, all in the name of freedom.

Turn the noise off, America. Filter your streams. Share the stories of heroes and victims. We have faith in you.

The culture of the shouting ego is over.

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On the Internet, local news can become global in minutes, as in the case of the Tucson shootings. From our experience with events like these, searching for local outlets and blogs presents a perspective that the national media fail to cover.

When scanning Time.com the Saturday afternoon of the shootings, we read Nathan Thornburgh’s attempt to put this heinous act in some context and claim that the current climate of hate in the Tucson area was overblown: “Phoenix had not become one of the world’s kidnapping capitals. Crime rates in Arizona had been steady or even fallen in some areas. There had been no beheadings in the desert.”

It struck me as a bit odd as we grappled with the tragic events, especially the death of 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green. The situation in Arizona is not being reported accurately? Violence and hate has not impacted life near the border? This cime was just isolated?

Instead of focusing on national media today, we scoured for local Tucson blogs. Some did talk about the Tucson shootings and as expected, there was anger from both sides. Yes, even in the place where the murders occurred, there is little talk on main blogs about the actual events and more about politics.

From “The Tucson Massacre: After the Cameras Are Gone,” posted by Dr. Cintli on January 9:

To the parachute journalists and all those that have discovered Arizona overnight… don’t forget that. Long after you leave, long after this massacre has ceased to be headline news, we will continue to have to contend with the normalized bigotry and hate against brown people that continually comes out of the state capitol and that is nowadays prevalent throughout the state. Please remember this and look at your own communities to see if all this hate is already festering there. I can almost guarantee you that it is. Bring it to light before the next massacre. Perhaps you will prevent the next massacre.

From “The backlash begins against liberal demagoguing of the Giffords shooting,” posted by Fort Buckley on January 10:

Unfortunately for the demagoguing left, conservatives have been screen-capturing and recording everything that has been written and said since Saturday morning’s horror. And, Google never forgets.

Update: Let me also add that I’ve spent a fair amount of time with the Tucson Tea Party. I’ve gone to their rallies. They are fine people, and anyone with a lick of common sense would be proud to have them as allies and friends.

From “Arizona’s enemy: The Collective Consciousness of Hate,” posted by Three Sonorans.com on January 9:

Things are different in Arizona today, and I hope people realize that this struggle has been going on for a while, and the events that took place with Giffords yesterday are part of something much bigger.

It is not enough to ignore the right-wing hate speech. It is not enough to turn off [local radio host] Jon Justice or Fox News.

They need to be off the air so that the more gullible in our society do not take their message of hate to the next level. This is the only way to prevent future catastrophes.

From, “With a climate of hate and easy access to guns for crazy people who else is going to die in Arizona?” from posted by The View from Baja Arizona on January 10:

Folks have got to take responsibility for the kind of toxic society we’ve created. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer was slated to give her ‘State of the State’ speech to the legislature on Monday January 10th.

I doubt she will really give a true picture of the state of the state of Arizona or the nation right now. From top to bottom we have become a sick society filled with hatred and armed crazies.

Yet, of all the blogs we read, this one still said it best to us.

From “Holding Gabby Giffords in our hearts,” posted by TusconMama.com on January 8:

and today feels like a nightmare.

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On Twitter, we are all consumers, digesters, and creators of content. For those accounts who have been here for a while, it is common to use Twitter as a source of information and news. The site is known for its real-time, instant updating that promises to keep Twitter streams informed about events.

But when a story such as the Tucson shootings occurs, Twitter can be its own worst enemy, an information overload of inaccuracies, heated opinions, catcalling, personal opinions, and personal attacks. Debate in the public stream could create incorrect information. It could lead to more hate that goes against the desire to be civil and respectful. Twitter, although quick, compact, and scannable, is not the definitive informative source of news or informed, rational opinion. However, profiles can work hard to change that perception, and while this frenzy of tweets and links and opinions continues, we might all benefit from pausing about this tragedy and learning how best you can use Twitter to control the barrage of #Giffords tweets unrelated to the actual story and investigation.

Here are some suggestions that we think could help refine how you get news of this tragedy with Twitter:

  • Post facts about the story. Set up a good example that other profiles can model. One thing I like to do is listen to press conferences and try to tweet out what the principals are saying. This type of tweetcasting gives my stream information that is targeted, focused, attributable, and accurate. Add a hashtag to the tweet and there is a better chance that is enhances the public stream in a good way.

  • Confirm the link sources and information before sharing news links. For example, NPR erroneously reported that Giffords had died yesterday afternoon and put it on the web. The Twitter stream was quick to RT it. It was an error and even though NPR is a responsible outlet, other outlets didn’t report it. When sharing news, it’s best to check to make sure other outlets confirm the information.
  • Use Twitter lists to identify accurate coverage. For this story, we created a list of local Arizona media outlets, since they were the first to respond and have done an incredible and responsible job. Their tweets are immediate as well. We also like to use TweetChat when we want to see a flowing stream since it allows you to tweet without adding the hashtag every time.

  • If you are going to comment, be respectful. Yes, who didn’t know about the Sarah Palin target hair map yesterday? It was all over Twitter, and people were passionate. Now, we respect freedom of speech, but personal attacks on Twitter between people is just wrong and also distracts people from the core issues of the story. This is not about Sarah Palin, unless the investigation proves that there was a direct correlation between the map and the suspect’s motive to commit this heinous act. If we are going to have a discussion about angry rhetoric and its relationship to political violence, then let’s have it, but at least let’s not attack people on Twitter. It adds to the frenzy and hype and quite frankly it does nothing to the debate, in our opinion.  Yesterday when we started tweeting about the press conference, a few profiles called us an “idiot” and said we were adding to the “hate,” that we were part of the Twitter conspiracy to discredit Palin. We don’t think so. We are using social media to inform both ourselves and others in our stream. Relax, Twitter, take a breath and get the whole story. The whole issue of political civility needs to be practiced everywhere, even on social media.

We will be following up with more posts about how social media is playing a role in this tragedy. In the meantime, we pray for the victims who died and the people who are still recovering. Stay civil, everyone.

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