MSNBC: Killing babies in America, that’s the subject of this evening’s Talking Points memo… For $5,000 Tiller the Baby Killer, as some call him, will perform a late-term abortion for just about any reason.

FOX News: If you saw the hate MSNBC spewed last night, there can be no question that NBC News is now totally out of control. Remember, NBC has never, ever said a negative word about Tiller’s activities

Are political pundits in any way responsible for the actions of their audience?

That’s the question being asked since the murder of late-term abortion doctor George Tiller on Sunday.

FOX News anchor Bill O’Reilly, in particular, has been criticized for the way he portrayed Tiller on his show – even referring to the doctor in the past as  “Tiller the Baby Killer.”

So should O’Reilly share the blame for Tiller’s death? Let’s find out through the media’s perspectives.

A writer for Salon.com says the answer is yes.

“O’Reilly didn't tell anyone to do anything violent, but he did put Tiller in the public eye, and help make him the focus of a movement with a history of violence against exactly these kinds of targets… In those circumstances, flinging around words like ‘blood on their hands,’ ‘pardon,’ ‘country club’ and ‘judgment day’ was sensationally irresponsible.”

But Kathleen Parker, conservative writer for the Washington Post refused to place blame on Tiller’s outspoken critics, simply stating…

“The man who pulled the trigger is responsible for Tiller's death. Period.”

An LA Times opinion piece admits that commentators could spark violence, but that shouldn’t stifle them.

“It's unfair to ask antiabortion activists to muffle their message because it might inspire an unbalanced individual to commit an atrocity.”

Finally, we bring you a unique perspective from former anti-abortion activist Frank Schaeffer.

In a Huffington Post article, Schaeffer apologizes, saying Tiller’s critics should take some blame, including himself.

“But I'd like to say on this day after a man was murdered in cold blood for performing abortions that I -- and the people I worked with in the religious right, the Republican Party, the pro-life movement and the Roman Catholic Church, all contributed to this killing by our foolish and incendiary words... I am very sorry.”

Free Speech or Sparking Violence?

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Jun 3, 2009

Free Speech or Sparking Violence?

MSNBC: Killing babies in America, that’s the subject of this evening’s Talking Points memo… For $5,000 Tiller the Baby Killer, as some call him, will perform a late-term abortion for just about any reason.

FOX News: If you saw the hate MSNBC spewed last night, there can be no question that NBC News is now totally out of control. Remember, NBC has never, ever said a negative word about Tiller’s activities

Are political pundits in any way responsible for the actions of their audience?

That’s the question being asked since the murder of late-term abortion doctor George Tiller on Sunday.

FOX News anchor Bill O’Reilly, in particular, has been criticized for the way he portrayed Tiller on his show – even referring to the doctor in the past as  “Tiller the Baby Killer.”

So should O’Reilly share the blame for Tiller’s death? Let’s find out through the media’s perspectives.

A writer for Salon.com says the answer is yes.

“O’Reilly didn't tell anyone to do anything violent, but he did put Tiller in the public eye, and help make him the focus of a movement with a history of violence against exactly these kinds of targets… In those circumstances, flinging around words like ‘blood on their hands,’ ‘pardon,’ ‘country club’ and ‘judgment day’ was sensationally irresponsible.”

But Kathleen Parker, conservative writer for the Washington Post refused to place blame on Tiller’s outspoken critics, simply stating…

“The man who pulled the trigger is responsible for Tiller's death. Period.”

An LA Times opinion piece admits that commentators could spark violence, but that shouldn’t stifle them.

“It's unfair to ask antiabortion activists to muffle their message because it might inspire an unbalanced individual to commit an atrocity.”

Finally, we bring you a unique perspective from former anti-abortion activist Frank Schaeffer.

In a Huffington Post article, Schaeffer apologizes, saying Tiller’s critics should take some blame, including himself.

“But I'd like to say on this day after a man was murdered in cold blood for performing abortions that I -- and the people I worked with in the religious right, the Republican Party, the pro-life movement and the Roman Catholic Church, all contributed to this killing by our foolish and incendiary words... I am very sorry.”

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