In the aftermath of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others on Saturday, a fierce debate has arisen out of the use of heated/violent imagery in political rhetoric. On CNN's Reliable Sources, San Fransisco Chronicle columnist Debra Saunders debated with Politico's Roger Simon about the use of such imagery, particularly Sarah Palin's metaphorical "gun-sights" placed on Gifford's district in her political action committee's materials. Here is the key exchange in the debate (3:06 in video below, transcript via NewsBusters):
Roger Simon: What is too easy to do is to ignore the Sarah Palin ads and say we can't know that these ads caused the killing. Absolutely true. We can't know it, we'll never know it. ... But then say, therefore, such ads do not require our criticism, do not require us to speak out against them, when this wasn't called for.
Debra Saunders: Don't cheapen this whole thing. Don't do this yet. We don't know. Let's just--this is a horrible, horrible tragedy, outrage, awful thing. You know, what Sarah Palin did, the target stuff, Howie, you wrote about this. It's something campaigns do. It's sort of like an act of guilt, that she erased it. But, you know, this isn't about Sarah Palin. This is about these six people. This is about a congresswoman who goes out and tries to talk to her constituents and is killed--I'm sorry--I made the mistake--is shot. And don't cheapen this by trying to make it what you want it to be ideologically...
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