This is not at all new and has been brewing for some time. Bill Moyers, a couple of years ago, did a whole segment on it:
I know what those who would defended the far right - Note: we should distinguish between a right-winger and a conservative, they are not identical - will say. They will say that words don't kill people, that no real violence was actually intended by those who used violent language, and that you can't blame pundits and politicians for the actions of a few wackos.
This argument is too stupid to take seriously. When Glen Beck tells us that he wants to strangle Michael Moore, and kill Charlie Rangel with a shovel, when Sarah Palin tells us to reload because Obama and his people are dangerous socialists who will kill off grandma with their death panels, when tea-baggers bellow that they must "take their country back," "water the tree of liberty," and that Obama is a secret Muslim terrorist who is going to ruin our country from within, can we honestly say this does not lead to a violent political climate? Can so many violent and fearful comments really never lead "some wacko" to kill? That is nearly impossible to believe.
But if you are still in doubt that this does lead to such disasters, I quote Robert Wright from yesterday' New York Times
People on the left and right have been wrestling over the legacy of Jared Loughner, arguing about whether his shooting spree proves that the Sarah Palins and Glenn Becks of the world are fomenting violence. But it’s not as if this is the only data point we have. Here’s another one:
Six months ago, police in California pulled over a truck that turned out to contain a rifle, a handgun, a shotgun and body armor. Police learned from the driver — sometime after he opened fire on them — that he was heading for San Francisco, where he planned to kill people at the Tides Foundation. You’ve probably never heard of the Tides Foundation — unless you watch Glenn Beck, who had mentioned it more than two dozen times in the preceding six months, depicting it as part of a communist plot to “infiltrate” our society and seize control of big business.
Predictably the right-wing hate mongers have responded to the recent violent attacks in Arizona by whining and playing the victim. Sarah Palin, who has taken much heat because of rifle targets she put on a map over several democratic congress districts (including the poor woman who was shot!), responded by crying that we demean and offend her by saying her words could of led to this, and saying that we commit "blood libel" if we hold her in any way accountable.
Palin's response is, of course, shameful. Even worse are the many pundits who rushed to her defense, as if the real tragedy of the Arizona shootings is that some people thought Palin should tone down her violent rhetoric!
When some idiot like Palin runs around saying that the President of the United states "pals around with terrorists," wants to create "death panels" to kill grandma, puts bull eyes over districts of the opposing parties representatives, tells people that Obama wants to take away their guns and Bibles, can anyone honestly tell me that she is not contributing to a climate of violence?
Enough nonsense. Let us please be honest the words of these hate-mongers are violent and they must be held accountable for that.