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In response to Alexandria shooting, NYT dredges up false claims about Sarah Palin and Gabby Giffords
Earlier, I showed you how Chris Matthews was coping with the fact that a hardcore leftist tried to assassinate a wide swath of Republican congressmen. His reaction was to sympathize with the would-be killer. Over at the New York Times, the editorial board chose a different course. They decided to equivocate by dredging up a phony conspiracy theory that blamed Sarah Palin for the Gabrielle Giffords shooting:
Was this attack evidence of how vicious American politics has become? Probably. In 2011, when Jared Lee Loughner opened fire in a supermarket parking lot, grievously wounding Representative Gabby Giffords and killing six people, including a 9-year-old girl, the link to political incitement was clear. Before the shooting, Sarah Palin’s political action committee circulated a map of targeted electoral districts that put Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs.
Conservatives and right-wing media were quick on Wednesday to demand forceful condemnation of hate speech and crimes by anti-Trump liberals. They’re right. Though there’s no sign of incitement as direct as in the Giffords attack, liberals should of course hold themselves to the same standard of decency that they ask of the right.
The problem, of course, is that this "clear link to incitement" has been thoroughly debunked. The whole "crosshairs inspiration" story was bogus - a conspiracy theory that was almost immediately deployed as a fundraising device. It turned out that not only did the Palin map not inspire Jared Loughner, there was nothing to suggest that Loughner even knew who Palin was.
As Jake Tapper pointed out, "There's no evidence that the shooter even heard of Sarah Palin."
even way back in Jan 2011 we knew that Loughlin's obsession began 3 years before the Palin map.https://t.co/9nJccuIQnb— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) June 15, 2017
But hey, why let the facts get in the way? The New York Times needed to peddle some propaganda, and blaming Palin would no doubt please its loyal readership. ...Except maybe not.
The stroy is so demonstrably false that even the Gray Lady can't sell it. After Palin responded to the editorial on her Facebook page, the heat was on. A short time later, they published a correction.
Two things about this:
1: Retractions never get the exposure the initial claim gets, so the damage is already done - and in this case, you should feel confident that it was done purposely.
2: Even after the "correction" the article still mentions Palin's crosshairs graphic. They just soften the language a bit. Instead of making an outright claim that a link exists, they're now implying it.
...And the talking heads wonder why no one trusts the old media anymore.
UPDATE: Uh-oh....looks like the New York Times may have sailed into some rough waters.