Earlier this week, I ran a guest column that essentially said supporters of U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce want to see IRS agents killed and lament the fact that the assassination attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords wasn’t successful.
And it implied Pearce shares those views by calling him “One of Them.”
It wasn’t one of my finer moments. After much thought, I’ve decided to retract the column. I’ve already removed it from the site.
You may recall me suggesting earlier this week that people need to support media that puts the news in context rather than sensationalizing and inflaming. While there are extremists on the far right and left, and there may very well be some Pearce supporters who advocate violence against government officials, I don’t believe for a moment that such people are in the majority or even constitute a significant percentage of his base.
But the column implied that they do.
After Giffords was shot in January, Pearce released a statement strongly condemning such violence. He called Giffords a friend and a “true public servant and a voice for the people of Arizona and the United States.” He said the shooting in Tucson was an “atrocious act” that was “not only an attack on Gabrielle, but on the Constitution she has consistently labored to uphold, and the freedoms she fights to protect.”
Pearce also called it “an attack on all Americans: our freedom of speech, our freedom to interact with a government who will listen.”
NMPolitics.net’s comments policy, which also applies to guest columns, requires that people be respectful – which doesn’t mean they can’t criticize, but they must do so in a way that is constructive. Commentaries must add to the dialogue, not degrade and tear down. I’ve worked hard to make this site a forum for productive discussion. This column did the opposite.
Unlike some pundits and media personalities on the left and right, I’m not in the business of exaggerating differences between liberals and conservatives to inflame passions. But in this instance, I published a guest column that did just that.
My actions in this instance contributed nothing to the process of solving our nation’s problems, and in fact did the opposite. For that, I apologize to all of you.
For the insult I allowed to be published, I apologize to Rep. Pearce and his supporters.
I don’t claim to be perfect, but I do promise to learn from my mistakes. I will do just that in this instance.