In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Jon Stewart: I Hate Our Toxic 'Political Environment' -- But Who Knows If It Caused AZ Shooting? (VIDEO)


[TPM SLIDESHOW: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords: On The Job In Arizona]

"Did the toxic political environment cause this? Stewart asked. "I have no fucking idea."

"You know, we live in a complex ecosystem of influences and motivations," he added, "and I wouldn't blame our political rhetoric any more than I would blame heavy metal music for Columbine." He then added the disclaimer that his comments come from someone who truly hates the political environment.

But Stewart did acknowledge the worthy cause of toning down incendiary political rhetoric, at least to draw a distinction between "paranoid manifestos" and "acceptable political and pundit speak."

"It would be really nice if the ramblings of crazy people didn't in any way resemble how we actually talk to each other on TV," he said, to applause.

In the end, Stewart said the shooting in Arizona reminds us of our fragile humanity. He urged viewers to read up about the victims of the shooting.

"You will be comforted by just how much anonymous goodness there really is in the world," Stewart said. "You read about these people and realize that people you don't even know are leading lives of real dignity and goodness, and you hear about crazy, but it's rarer than you think."


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David Taintor is a news editor at Talking Points Memo. Previously, he worked at NBC News and Adweek. He's a native of Minnesota. Reach him at