CNN Apologizes for Using Term 'Crosshairs'

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After the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others in Tuscon, Az. a fierce debate ensued over the proper use of violent imagery in political discourse. Politicians' use of such rhetoric, like the terms "crosshairs," "target," "reload," and other similar terms were singled out as potential motivators for would-be deranged shooters, most notably in the case of Sarah Palin's metaphorical gun-sights placed on Gifford's district in her political action committee's materials. CNN, which has hosted more than one debate on the use of such rhetoric after the shootings, has opted for a policy of not using that "type of language." CNN's John King went as far as apologizing when his guest, Andy Shaw, used the term "crosshairs" in discussion of the Chicago mayoral campaign.

Courtesy of Real Clear Politics Video, here's King's statement:

Before we go to break, I want to make a quick point. We were having a discussion about the Chicago mayoral race. My friend Andy Shaw used the term 'in the crosshairs' in talking about the candidates. We're trying, we're trying to get away from that language. Andy is a good friend, he's covered politics for a long time, but we're trying to get away from that kind of language.

Naturally, there were more than a few pundits and bloggers (mostly in the conservative blogosphere) rolling their eyes at this. Here's how they retorted:

  • Hot Air - "Am I hallucinating or didn’t this same network once have an entire show devoted to heated political debate called … 'Crossfire'? With a crosshairs logo? How did the republic survive while it was on the air?"
  • Byron York - "A look at transcripts of CNN programs in the month leading up to the shootings shows that the network was filled with references to 'crosshairs'--and once even used the term to suggest the targeting of Palin herself."
  • Don Surber - "John King’s statement is not unbiased. It is a deliberate attempt to push the liberal anti-right-wing rhetoric. For at least 20 years CNN another liberal outlets have portrayed conservatives as angry white men."
  • IMAO - "But, I suppose that if now the media heads are getting all up in arms … so to speak … about the use of gun-related imagery and speech, then banning “crosshairs” is just the beginning. There are more things that you won’t be able to say or do: Up in arms. Shop at Target."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.