59°
Forecast | Radar

Activate Account | Manage Account | Logout | Today's Paper
Today's Paper, also known as the e-Edition, is an online replica of the printed newspaper. You can view today's paper or previous issues.

Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.

FOR THE WEEK OF JAN. 17, 2011

Tucson shootings, though not linked directly to vitriol, bring calls to keep debates civil

frontpageactionpoints.gif
1.gif
Can you find a quote from someone endorsing toned-down political rhetoric or voicing respect for those with different policy views?
2.gif
Look for reader comments on this topic in letters or responses to online articles.
3.gif
Spot an example of "trash talk" in a sports headline or article. Discuss the difference between that context and "fighting words" in politics.

"Only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to our challenges as a nation," says President Obama, who spoke at a memorial service in Tucson for six victims of a Jan. 8 shooting rampage that gravely wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. "I believe we can be better . . . . How we treat one another is entirely up to us." His comments are a response to wide concern that nasty political language and provocative imagery, such as bulls-eye targets and gun sights, may somehow push unhinged people to violence.

The weekend of the deadly attack, which came while Rep. Giffords was greeting community members, the local sheriff suggested that "vitriol . . . about tearing down the government" might have played a part. Columnists, bloggers and broadcast commentators voiced similar feelings, prompting a wave of national soul-searching. Obama flatly rejects claims of blame, saying "a simple lack of civility [isn't what] caused this tragedy - though he and others still urge that public policy debates be conducted with civility instead of vitriol, to use a word heard often in recent days. (It describes bitter, hateful speech.)

Information about accused 22-year-old gunman Jared Loughner suggests he wasn't motivated by a climate of hate, but rather by his troubled mind. Polls show a majority of Americans don't link his alleged attempt to assassinate the congresswoman to Tea Party anger or a Sarah Palin political map with weapon cross-hairs. "Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own," Palin said in a video posted on her Facebook page. "They begin and end with the criminals who commit them."
In any event, the shocking crime spurs fresh talk about gun laws and mental health issues. It also has toned down the level of harsh rhetoric over tax cuts, medical insurance and other hot-button topics -- at least for a while.

President says: "It's important for us to pause for a moment. . . . What we can't do . . . is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another." -- Jan. 12 speech in Tucson

Civil rights figure says: "It is exactly the mentally unstable who are most likely to be influenced by an atmosphere filled with hate and murderous rhetoric." -- Rev. Jesse Jackson, civil rights leader

Blogger says: "The president did not ask us to put away passion, but to act with restraint. It was not a call to stop fighting, but to stop fighting dirty." -- John Dickerson, Slate online magazine

Multisource political news, world news, and entertainment news analysis by Newsy.com

Front Page Talking Points is written by Felix Grabowski and Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2016
We welcome comments or suggestions for future topics: Click here to Comment

Front Page Talking Points Archive

President’s week in Asia includes visit to Hiroshima, where atomic warfare began 70 years ago

Bathroom choice becomes a focal point for transgender rights backers and opponents

On to November: Trump vs. Clinton presidential race appears virtually certain now

Modern pioneers: Two Swiss pilots take solar plane around the world without fuel

Harriet Tubman will be the new face of $20 bills as paper money gets more diverse

Bleached-out coral shows alarming impact of warmer oceans

Futuristic vision: Virtual reality headsets take videos, training and gaming to a new level

End of an era: Sea World yields to critics of killer whale shows, which will change

Supreme Court seat showdown: Republican senators vow to block President Obama’s nominee

President Obama visits Havana this week as the next step in closer U.S.-Cuba relations

Complete archive