Even the Los Angeles Times admits: “There is no evidence that Jared Lee Loughner, the suspect in the shooting of [Rep. Gabrielle] Giffords and the killing of six others, even listened to [talk radio].”

That didn’t stop left-leaning pundits and politicians (as well as Arizona Sheriff Clarence Dupnick, a Democrat) from blaming Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck for the massacre last weekend.

However, rising radio star Jon Justice (dubbed “Tucson’s Rush Limbaugh” ) bravely joined his beleaguered colleagues by insisting repeatedly all week that “heated political rhetoric on the airwaves does not cause violence.”

Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chaffe didn’t get the memo – and evidently hasn’t read the Constitution, either: He quickly banned state employees from listening to, or doing interviews with, talk radio.

Neither did one sponsor of “The Jon Justice Show.” The company pulled its ads at the first sign of a local boycott, one that leftists organizers vow to continue.

Rush Limbaugh

In response to the faux outrage and calls for “civility” (which he noted was just another word for “censorship”) Rush Limbaugh recorded a special one-minute message to fellow broadcasters.

He declared, “I can’t speak for others that do what I do, but I’m not going to be silenced by this. … I say this to all the people who do what I do: Hold your heads high, and turn this back on the media and the Democrats.”

Talk radio colleague Michael Berry created a satirical video summing up the tone of mainstream rhetoric this week: “Rush Limbaugh Blamed for All World Problems” (FREE video):

On a lighter note, Limbaugh’s appearance on the Golf Channel’s “The Haney Project” delivered that show’s highest ratings in two years – “310,000 average total viewers – an amazing number for the niche channel.”

In honor of Rush’s 60th birthday, the gang at Pajamas Media TV taped a must-see tribute to “their favorite conservative,” and the man they credit with helping invent “the new media” (FREE video – basic registration required).

Michael Savage

MSNBC host Chris Matthews singled out Michael Savage for blame in the wake of the Tucson massacre.

Savage responded, “This is a blood libel by Matthews. His remarks may cause me serious economic damage. I only hope his inconsiderate, malicious libel against me does not bring harm to myself or my family. I pray that an imbalanced left-wing fanatic does not take Matthews’ libel against me to heart and seek to inflict bodily harm on myself or my family.”

In fact, as WND columnist Barry Farber observed, the event actually proved that Savage had correctly diagnosed liberalism as “a mental disorder”:

“When famous radio talk-show host Mike Savage wrote a book entitled ‘Liberalism Is a Mental Disorder,’” writes Farber, “I slapped my thigh and chortled with delight. … But I didn’t take it seriously.

“Now, after the Arizona massacre of Jan. 8, I fear I short-changed my buddy Mike,” Farber writes. “Mike’s point is strengthened by the fact that we don’t hear of one single case of someone on the right ignorantly and arrogantly blaming the ‘left.'”

Savage praised Sarah Palin’s response to the shooting, calling her the only true national leader who emerged after the mass murder (FREE audio).

However, Michael Savage encouraged Donald Trump to run for President in 2012 this week, saying Trump is the only man who can “run the country like a business and not an empire” (FREE audio).

Sean Hannity

“I did a very foolish thing,” actor Stephen Baldwin admitted this week. He was referring to last week’s renewal of an old feud between himself, his brother Alec and Sean Hannity.

“I’m here to publicly apologize to Sean Hannity and say that I’m very sorry,” Baldwin told reporters. “That was not the correct thing to do, and I feel terrible about it.”

“I hear about this killing spree and talking with Mark Levin and the first thing we asked was how long will it take for the media to somehow tie conservatives to this mindless violence,” Hannity told listeners on Monday. “There’s something really twisted and sick about this.”

Even Democratic strategist Bob Beckel agreed with Hannity, whose other guests this week included Donald Trump, Governor Tim Pawlenty, Ed Rendell and Rand Paul (audio archives are members only).

Mark Levin

On Monday night, Mark Levin praised the American people for displaying “more respect and dignity” than the journalists who purport to present the “news” to them (FREE audio).

Levin was furious when MSNBC’s Chris Matthews singled him out by name as someone “responsible” for the tragedy.

“Did [the murderer] have a TV in his house?” Levin asked rhetorically.
“Has anybody in his house ever watched MSNBC? Did they ever watch Chris Matthews?”

“Maybe Chris Matthews’ tone and rhetoric is very upsetting to people,” Levin continued, later offering $100,000 to Matthews if he could dig up evidence that Sarah Palin ever called for the death of a public official.

Levin also aimed his ire at Sheriff Dubnik, an “incompetent political hack” who’d also blamed the Giffords shooting on conservative talk radio hosts (FREE audio).

Laura Ingraham

Laura Ingraham devoted most of the week to news and opinion about the Arizona massacre and the left’s unhinged response to it.

Guest Newt Gingrich discussed the latest calls for “civility,” which inevitably translate into calls for outright censorship of conservative voices. Ingraham also took part in an on-air “shoot out” on the topic with Juan Williams.

After President Obama’s address at a memorial service for the victims, Tim Pawlenty joined Laura to analyze it, then talked about what impact, if any, the attempt on Giffords’ life will have on the 2012 elections (FREE audio).

Glenn Beck

As the target of considerable leftwing wrath this week, Glenn Beck was obliged to answer his critics (FREE audio) and reiterate his long-standing message about American unity (FREE audio).

As reported earlier at WND, Glenn Beck took a break from life-and-death matters to see, and praise, the Broadway production of Spider-Man:

“Give a kidney to go see ‘Spider-Man,'” Beck told listeners. “This is, by far, the best show I’ve ever seen. … This show is not only worth the price of a ticket here on Broadway, which is pricey, it is worth the price of an airline ticket from Los Angeles or Hawaii to come to New York to see it. It is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.”

Beck was invited to meet U2 frontman Bono backstage after the show, much to the chagrin of his longtime sidekick Stu, who is “obsessed” with the Irish rock band (FREE video).

And now, from the left side of the dial …

Under the circumstances, it’s difficult to select a “winner” among all the unhinged rhetoric let lose by progressive broadcasters this week.

Right after the Tucson shooting, “Radio Equalizer” Brian Maloney began chronicling the mainstream media’s predictable response. He noted that the timing of the tragedy put talk radio at a disadvantage:

“Talk show hosts must deal with the fallout nearly 48 hours after the rampage occurred,” Maloney writes. “That’s because the medium completely shuts down on weekends and increasingly during holiday periods as well.”

Among all the contenders for this week’s “honors,” I have to select Stephanie Miller’s declaration that the shooting “came right out of Glenn Beck transcripts” and her guest’s insistence that “Beck is one drink away from being” the would-be assassin (FREE video).

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