By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Jan 10, 2011 at 11:00 AM

The Tucson shootings have taken over virtually all the news time since Saturday, as you'd expect.

I don't have much to add to the discussion of news coverage -- it appears the early incorrect report of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Gifford's death came from the local public radio outlet, who sent it to NPR, which has apologized for what happened.

But even though we'll be exposed for days to come with non-stop reporting on the story -- whether or not there are any developments more reporting -- I'd rather talk a bit about the reaction to Saturday's tragedy.

I first saw it on Facebook, before we knew whether Giffords was alive or dead. Folks on the left were posting that Sarah Palin pre-election graphic showing crosshairs on various Congressional districts, including Gifford's. At that point, we had no information on the shooter.

That was followed quickly by folks on the right, especially on Twitter, tweeting about how the liberals were crowing about the Tucson massacre. And then when the first details of the suspected shooter's confused ramblings, there was the "see, we told ya so" Tweets from the right.

Had Giffords been a conservative Republican, the entire debate would have been reversed. But it would have had equal vitriol from both sides.

I'm not suggesting Palin did or didn't have any responsibility for a climate of outrage that has poisoned every discussion of current affairs. That's not even the issue of my rant.

It's about this endless cycle of anger and outrage, of name-calling and accusation.

And, yes, I'm going to blame talk radio and talk TV, at least partially, for this tone. Talk radio exists in a world of perpetual outrage where the political opposition are, at best, idiots. At worst, political opponents are a bunch of traitors.

No, this isn't a one-sided game. While most talk radio is a conservative echo chamber, there's Keith Olbermann on the left damning his political foes nightly as the "worst person in the world." I say that even though Olbermann apologized on MSNBC Saturday for an extreme comment he made during the presidential campaign.

"It was wrong then, it was even more wrong now. I apologize for it again."

It's a step in the right direction, but will it really change the tone of his weeknight show?

As any individual, I have my side in politics. But, frankly, my politics are of interest only to me. We all have opinions, but the need to blare your opinions and damn those who disagree with you has become more than a distraction. It has become what passes for political discussion in this country, paralyzing any real discussion about the events of the day.

Listen to the talk radio shows today, watch MSNBC and Fox News Channel, read the various political Web sites, read the Tweets and you'll see the same thing over and over and over.

It's long past time for everybody to take a deep breath before they speak and think about the impact of their words. But I don't see much chance that this latest horror will be the thing that begins to turn down the volume on this ugly rhetoric.

Tune in the usual suspects today, locally and nationally, and you'll hear the usual tiresome outrage again.

On TV: Back to normal business, MTV says Thursday's third season premiere of "Jersey Shore" was its biggest show ever, pulling in some 8.5 million people, according to Nielsen Media Research.

  • Random Lake's Andrea Boehlke is on the list of castaways in the latest round of CBS' "Survivor." What the network is calling "Survivor: Redemption Island" premieres Feb. 16.
  • The History Channel has killed its eight-part miniseries "The Kennedys," saying the docudrama from "24" co-creator Joel Surnow didn't fit the channel's "brand." There's talk of pressure from the Kennedy family. And there's talk it could end up on Showtime.
  • Emeril Lagasse will get a new daytime cooking show later this year on Hallmark Channel.
  • Starz says there will be a second season of "Spartacus: Blood and Sand," airing next year. There's no decision on who will replace Andy Whitfield, who pulled out because of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • It's not official, but it's looking like there won't be a second season of "Sarah Palin's Alaska."
  • Michael Ausiello at his new TV Line Web site reports ABC is considering an eight-hour "Wicked" miniseries, based on the novel, not the musical. Salma Hayek is behind the project.
  • The Wall Street Journal says  CNN is mulling dropping Kathleen Parker from the 7 p.m. "Parker Spitzer", but inexplicably keeping Eliot Spitzer.

Jim Carrey scores on "SNL": I didn't think it was a particularly stellar installment of NBC's "Saturday Night Live," but the weekend's installment hosted by Jim Carrey brought in the best audience since Betty White last spring, according to early Nielsen numbers.

I did like Carrey's takeoff of the creepy "Black Swan." I've always found his comedy creepy, so it kind of fits:

Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist

Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.

A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.

In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at

When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.