Rhetoric: “If ballots don’t work, bullets will.”
When Joyce Kaufman (radio DJ and Chief of Staff for Republican Rep. Allen West) spoke at a Tea Party rally on July 4th, she vehemently suggested a literal call to arms, saying, “If ballots don’t work, bullets will.”
Aftermath: TOTAL LOCKDOWN
Shortly after the clip aired on television, threatening emails and phone calls came pouring in. Excerpt: “I’m planning something big around the government building here in Broward County, maybe a post office, maybe even a school.”
230,000 students were locked inside their classrooms after a woman called a Pompano Beach radio station saying that she believed her husband would go to a Pembroke County school and start shooting, according to Pembroke Pines Police Captain Dan Rakofsky.
Rhetoric: Health Reform “Death Panels”
In 2009, Sarah Palin famously popularized the false “death panel” myth in an effort to fight proposed health care reform. The “death panel” meme was widely distributed by Fox News in the following weeks and months.
Aftermath: Death Threats on Pelosi
Gregory Giusti was arrested for making death threats to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her support of health care reform. Giusti’s own mother suggested that her son was motivated by the messages conveyed on Fox News.
Rhetoric: “I want people armed and dangerous”
In March of 2009, Republican congresswoman Michelle Bachmann stated that she wanted the people of Minnesota “armed and dangerous” against the president’s energy policy.
Aftermath: Palin Supports Bachmann
The following month, Sarah Palin appeared alongside Bachmann in support of the congresswoman’s re-election, calling her “inspiring.” Palin also lauded attendants for “clinging to your guns and religion like the rest of us.”
Fox News’ Sean Hannity went so far as to suggest that Palin choose Bachmann as her running-mate for the 2012 Presidential election.
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