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Women’s Media Center Statement on the Arizona Shootings

January 10, 2011

The Women’s Media Center (WMC) is stunned and saddened by the attack on Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, and her staff and supporters. As media cover this tragic story, they have a special responsibility NOT to legitimize violent rhetoric that targets and attempts to silence women leaders and progressive voices. The Womens’ Media Center will continue to monitor the coverage of this story, and encourages media to make the link between hate speech and violence, and to condemn violent rhetoric. 

Vitriolic, sexist, and racist language is a form of hate speech and bullying. Examining recent political intimidation can shed a light on the toxic political & media landscape in which the Giffords shooting took place. Here are some highlights from the past two elections that paint a broader context and help us analyze this tragedy. See recent examples here.

To speak with WMC Board Member, author, and activist Gloria Feldt about the lessons learned from this horrible episode, contact the press contact above. Read her moving piece here, in which she explains this incident is less about decrying our declining civility and more about teaching everyone from their earliest years how a democratic government works, because we are our government.

Our hearts go out to the victims of this violence, and hope that through critical examination of the cultural factors that produce such tragedies, that we prevent them in the future, because violence against one woman is violence against all.

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Women's Media Center was founded in 2005 by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem to positively impact the visibility of women in the media, amplify women's voices on key issues in the national dialogue, fight sexism and bias against women in the media, and increase professional opportunities for women across all forms of media. Through training, advocacy, and the development of original content, WMC is changing the conversation in the media so that media more accurately represents the perspectives, positions, and priorities of women.

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