Ken Tucker
January 09, 2011 AT 05:25 PM EST

In the wake of the shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, TV news shows went into overdrive in reporting the details of the rampage that wounded or killed numerous people in Tucson. The rhetoric on cable news and the network Sunday morning news shows heated up quickly, with some pointing to items such a target-in-crosshairs symbol placed over Rep. Giffords’ congressional district on Sarah Palin’s website.

Keith Olbermann issued a particularly astringent “Special Comment” on a special Saturday edition of MSNBC’s Countdown. In it, he called upon Palin to “repudiate her own part in amplifying violence and violent imagery in politics.” He called for both the right and the left to alter their hostile imagery:

Olbermann said that “The rhetoric has devolved and descended, past the ugly and past the threatening and past the fantastic and into the imminently murderous.” He specifically named Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly, his competition on Fox News, as being guilty of inflammatory turns of phrase about their political “targets” — Olbermann suggested that the very word “target” should no longer be used in this context.

He also apologized for his own use of hostile rhetoric in the past.

Shows from CNN’s Reliable Sources to the Sunday morning news shows on ABC, CBS, and NBC all devoted most of their shows to this horrific act.

What do you think of Olbermann’s commentary, and TV news coverage of the Arizona tragedy?

Twitter: @kentucker

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