TUCSON, AZ ( — Accusing the Arizona shootings of callously “tragedizing” politics, hundreds of media pundits gathered in this stricken city today in a vigil for shallow partisanship and angry rhetoric, which they said have been victimized by the horrific event.

The left's Paul Begala and the right's Ann Coulter at the pundit vigil.

Under increasing pressure not to be caustic and divisive, the commentators denounced the massacre for being the kind of tragedy that threatens their ability to be caustic and divisive. The pundits, hailing from major news outlets, radio networks and the blogosphere, assembled in a local high school gym. In a solemn procession, one after the other, they spoke of the devastating impact the tragedy.

“Just a few short days ago, life was normal,” began conservative columnist Ann Coulter. “We hated. We provoked. We insinuated. We attacked those on the other side for what they did, for what they said, but mostly for being on the other side.”
“But then came Jan.9,” continued MSNBC host Ed Schultz, who took the microphone from Coulter.  “Within hours, many on the right blamed the left. Many on the left blamed the right. And many on the right blamed the left for blaming the right, which led to the left blaming the right for blaming the left for blaming the right. Things were, in other words, as they should be. Or so we thought.”
“But this tragedy seems to be different,” added Fox host Sean Hannity. “Average people, middle Americans, don’t like that I constantly labeled the shooter a left-wing pothead who read Karl Marx.”
“They don’t like that I tweeted ‘Mission Accomplished Sarah Palin,’” said Markos Moulitsas, founder of the left-wing Daily Kos.
“They don’t like that I called the Tucson sheriff a fool for insinuating that spewing anger somehow incites people to anger,” said Rush Limbaugh.
TOP: Left-wingers castigated Sarah Palin for her bullseye map that included Congresswoman Gifford's district. BOTTOM: Conservatives strike back, Photoshopping an image to make it look like liberals did the same thing to Congresswoman Giffords.

“They don’t like that I took pot shots at Palin’s self-centered response to the tragedy,” noted Democratic strategist Paul Begala of CNN.
“And they just generally don’t like me,” added Sarah Palin in a pre-recorded video.
“And after President Obama gave his speech, which even most conservatives conceded was appropriate, they were unhappy that I stuck to my partisan guns and accused the White House of ‘branding’ the shooting, and of organizing the memorial as an Obama pep rally,” said right-wing columnist Michelle Malkin. “And I’m using ‘stuck to my guns’ as a metaphor, by the way.”
“In the aftermath of this horrific event, our politics looks petty,” concluded Keith Olbermann. “And for that, for playing tragedy with our politics, this tragedy should be ashamed of itself.”
Olbermann gave way to closing speaker Glenn Beck, who somberly approached the podium and addressed the gymnasium crowd, which he later estimated at 10 million. The Fox host began by lashing out at Arizona for hosting such a spontaneous, unpredictable event.
“They had no idea this was going to happen, and that’s inexcusable. Events should be scripted. Then promoted heavily. Then televised,” said Beck, who used his “Restoring Honor” rally in August as an example. “These people aren’t even faking their emotions. They’re having real emotions. It is a dishonor to the noble art of pretending you have emotions.”
As the crowd hushed, Beck then read out the names of the victims: “Hatred, acrimony, rancor, partisanship, name-calling, innuendo, rumor, violent metaphor, false equivalency, statistical distortion, guilt by association, random leaps of logic.” Beck wept openly as he spoke. Ed Schultz and Markos Moulitsas choked back tears. Rush Limbaugh choked on a handful of Oxycontin.
In conclusion, Beck insisted that amid the pain and suffering, amid the public calls to tone down the rhetoric, there was still hope for a future without hope.
“Today, dear colleagues, we came together as one, united in our disunion, to pray for bias, for name-calling, for distortion and false association and destructive vitriol – those things, so precious to us, that this tragedy has taken,” he said. “But before we leave this place, before we go forth and divide this nation once more, I want you to close your minds around this: People like Jared Loughner think they can destroy this great country. They cannot. Only we, my friends, can do that. Only we can do that.”
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