Today, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), who was famously shot by mentally ill Jared Lee Loughner in Tucson, Arizona, testified before the Senate on gun control. While Giffords and her husband, former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, testified that they weren’t there as victims but as Americans, the reverse was clearly the case: as shooting victims, they have been trotted out by the left-leaning media to provide Cindy Sheehan-like “absolute moral authority.” The implication: disagree with the politics of these victims, and you don't care enough about them.
The media coverage of Giffords’ testimony exploited Giffords’ victimhood to the hilt. But The Atlantic led the way with a picture of her “handwritten notes,” which The Atlantic labeled “pen-scrawled words … deliberate … diligent … written on a surface all too familiar to schoolchildren: binder paper.” And, The Atlantic added, “She is trapped in her injury. And few things make that point more powerfully than a piece of binder paper and a hand-scrawled message.”
The Atlantic got the photo from the Washington Post, which had put it up. Buzzfeed, too, put up the photo, quoting the Americans for Responsible Solutions Facebook page:
It will be hard. But the time is now. Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you" - Like and share Gabby Giffords' handwritten testimony at the Senate Judiciary Committee on gun violence. Join her and Mark Kelly by texting SOLUTIONS to 90975.
So did ThinkProgress. And Business Insider.
Except that Giffords didn’t scrawl that message. Her speech therapist did.
That doesn’t mean that Giffords doesn’t think the things that her therapist wrote. It does show, however, how far the media is willing to go in order to exploit shooting victims to further the gun control agenda.
It is Giffords’ choice to be there. It is the Democrats’ and media’s and President Obama’s choice to exploit her presence. Then again, the left has never been shy about hiding behind victims to push their politics.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the book “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).