Originally posted by The Right Stuff:
Nancy Simmons falls into the same trap as many liberal loonies.
She confuses rhetoric with responsibility.
Limbaugh, O'Reilly, and many other people spoke out against Tiller the baby killer, as they are opposed to killing babies period.
Because someone murders another person, and has the same opinions as another person(priests/pastors, friends, someone across the nation they've never met, TV/movie personalities, etc), or that of an organization (Operation Rescue, Churches, etc) doesn't mean it's their fault or an organization's fault when an individual breaks the law.
It's that stupid guilt by association, regardless of the connection, stinkin thinkin.
It's as stupid as saying Sheriff Judd is responsible when someone kills a child molester.
There is a time when the rhetoric does equate to responsibility.
A good example was given when Thomas Beckett was murdered.
The common sense difference between the knights who killed Becket and the ONE individual who killed Tiller the baby killer is that King Henry had authority/control/leadership over those knights, whereas neither limbaugh or o'reilly have any authority over the guy who killed Tiller the baby killer.
Rhetoric doesn't equate responsibility. Unless one is in authority over, or in charge of, the perpetrator.
My forum response:
Do you understand the term propaganda ?
Propaganda is communication aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause. As opposed to impartially providing information, propaganda in its most basic sense, often presents information primarily in order to influence its audience. Propaganda often presents facts selectively (thus lying by omission) to encourage a particular synthesis, or gives loaded messages in order to produce an emotional rather than rational response to the information presented. The desired result is a change of the attitude toward the subject in the target audience to further a political agenda.
Propaganda is the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist. / end quote
Rhetoric is the use of language as a means to persuade an audience to accept certain ideas. When that rhetoric is laden with emotional rather than rational ideas it is turned into propaganda.
"Tiller the Baby Killer" is a propaganda slogan meant to convey the idea that Dr Tiller was a monster who went around "killing babies" for money. It made use of the propaganda technique mentioned above of " presents facts selectively (thus lying by omission) to encourage a particular synthesis, or gives loaded messages in order to produce an emotional rather than rational response to the information presented. The desired result is a change of the attitude toward the subject in the target audience to further a political agenda ."
People who use rhetorical propaganda are doing so with a conscious intent to shape the emotional climate or environment to which a listener is expected to respond. Using rhetoric as propaganda is a conscious act intended to cause a conscious response.
And that response is intended to be active, not passive. WWII Propaganda against the Jews was meant foment hate and fear based action against Jews, not a passive discomfort and dislike.
Phrases like "Tiller the Baby Killer" are an implicit, if not explicit, call to action . It is a means of demonizing Dr Tiller, reducing him to non-human status just as national propaganda does to its enemies, making an assault on him more likely and justified.
The fact that RS constantly labels homosexuals "perverts" is the same thing. Its an emotional appeal using non-rational Biblical authority to make homosexuals less than human and "unworthy" in the eyes of his God. The Biblical penalty for this sort of thing is of course death. He doesn't have to explicitly call for the death or punishment of homosexuals for this to be implicitly inferred by the text itself. So that RS can claim that he has never called for violence against gays. But in fact, that is exactly what his propaganda calls for because the authoritative basis of his rhetoric (the Bible) does it for him. He is simply hiding behind God's skirts as it were and creating a climate wherein homosexuals are more likely to be assaulted because it is emotionally justified; especially to those who are already predisposed to believe in and shape their real world actions according to Biblical authority.
For such people to claim that their rhetoric used as propaganda is somehow blameless for the active results of implicit calls to action is totally disingenuous at best and in my opinion, an act of cowardice.
Simply, words can be weapons and they can lead to injury and death. People who use them as such should be held accountable for that use.
....Unless one is in authority over, or in charge of, the perpetrator.
What do you think the purpose of propaganda is? It is to supplant the listeners rationality with emotional reactions. That IS its authority. How do you think the N.a.z.i.s got an entire nation to murder its Jews? It used rhetoric as propaganda to assert its authority over them and in turn to make them see Jews as vermin needing to be exterminated . The propaganda took over the German public's rational minds and replaced it with an emotional hatred and fear of Jews which served to justify the extermination which followed.
O'Reilly had the "authority" of his mass media position and the means to disseminate his demonizing propaganda against Dr Tiller repeatedly. RS uses the forum threads and incessant appeals to Biblical authority.
That's exactly how it is done.
If the N.a.z.i's were held accountable for the lethal results of their propaganda why should the Bush administration or O'Reilly or even RS not be?
There is a reason that there are "hate speech" laws.
It is because it is well understood that speech can lead to action.