The assassination of George Tiller, an abortion doctor in Wichita, Kansas has dominated the media today. Tiller was gunned down as he served as an usher inside his church. (Local news account here if this whole story slid by you.)
The story has also dominated the blogosphere. The President weighed in, and so did the founder of Operation Rescue, the anti-abortion group loosely tied to the murderer. (In fairness, the current president of the organization is trying hard to contradict the founder and back far away from this. Good luck with that).
Lots of commentary in lots of places. One place I checked had this to say:
Some right wing blogs are closing comments on threads about the murder, and judging from the vile, sick stuff you see above, that’s probably a good idea.
This is very, very bad craziness, at its worst. Shame on all you people who are gloating and partying over a murder that took place inside a church. And you call yourselves “Christians?” What the hell is wrong with you?
I’m pleased to say that LGF did not join in this orgy of murder celebration; we had a few over the top comments, but they were quickly deleted, and a couple of people lost their accounts.
LGF is Little Green Footballs, a pretty respectable blog that is on the other side of the fence from Daily Kos and AMERICAblog... meaning right of center. To LGF's credit, they tried to avoid the incredible ugliness that can bubble up in comments from readers. Comments on big sites don't necessarily represent the views of the site itself, just individuals. But LGF took steps to delete hateful entries and, they also claim to have kicked out a few members along the way today. Good on them.
Meanwhile, at the hate-fest that is Free Republic, a pretty heinous blog if there ever was one, the vitriol was flying. I won't bother to publish any of the hateful, violence-inciting or otherwise incredibly asinine commentary, and I will break with Kerfuffle protocol by not linking directly to it. You can get there via LGF if you must.
Frequently, sites like Daily Kos are called out by the likes of Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh as being lunatic left purveyors of lies, nastiness and distortions. (O'Reilly once called Daily Kos a hate site on par with Nazis and the KKK.) I wonder if wither of those two men will have anything to say about what's going on in their own blogosphere backyard right now. I doubt it. Just like I doubt the right wing punditocracy will see Tiller's assassination as domestic terrorism, which by their own standards it most certainly is.
There's no shortage of hate, that's for sure. Left, right, whatever; it's unfortunate that it seems to be one of the ingredients in the exchange of views and information via the Internet. Mostly it shows up in the form of comments by readers, but it can also come from the publishers/owners of sites as well. It would be nice to think that eventually that part of blogging and forums will be cleaned up. It would also be nice if everyone in the world sent me five dollars. Neither pipe dream will happen.
Free speech isn't always pretty. Or nice. Or articulate. But everyone gets their say, such as it is.