Congressman Cohen warned of threat to public officials - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Congressman Cohen warned of threat to public officials

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Congressman Steve Cohen is a close friend of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, injured in a mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona Saturday.

"She's intelligent, she's caring, she's beautiful," said Cohen.  "She's got all the characteristics you look for in a friend, in a spouse, in a colleague."

Cohen said he was concerned about the mindset of the suspect in Saturday's rampage, Jared Loughner.

"He didn't like Gabby Giffords' response to a message that he sent her," said Cohen.  "He didn't like government at all."

According to internet communications, Loughner has ties to the same Sovereign Citizen Movement that influenced the suspects in a recent Mid-South tragedy.

"We saw what happened in West Memphis when they took action and killed two of our police officers," said Cohen.

Cohen said he recently received death threats after voicing concerns about the Tea Party.

"Strong influence in the opposition to Gabby Giffords was the Tea Party," said Cohen.  "I know the Tea Party was not necessarily responsible for this, but the rhetoric of 'kill the bill,' the rhetoric of putting Gabby Giffords' district by Sarah Palin in the crosshairs to be shot at is totally reprehensible and fosters a climate that encourages violence."

Cohen said violent rhetoric has been mounting in the media.

"Making politics and news into show business," said Cohen.  "Making celebrities of the Rush Limbaughs, the Glenn Becks and others for money."

Cohen called for the media to take stock.

"I think the networks have to be concerned about the content," he said.  "I think corporate America has to be concerned about their sponsorship, and I think everyone of them should take an inventory of what they sponsor, because without them, it couldn't happen.  It's all about money."

Congressman Cohen wrote an op-ed last month warning that the violent rhetoric in the media could put public officials in danger.  To read the piece, click here.

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