Well, so much for us “coming together” after yesterday’s multiple shootings involving a Republican Congressman, staffers and Capitol Police officers. I was hoping that we would enjoy a brief respite from the exponentially-increasing political vitriol that we’ve been swimming in the past few years. I wasn’t expecting anything like the days following 9-11. A two or three-day détente would have sufficed before our inevitable return to the darker angels of our nature. But we didn’t even make it a day.
In an odious piece of leftist garbage disguised as an Editorial, the New York Times (“All the News That Fits the Narrative”) was not content with mere spinning and twisting of facts. They eliminated the middle man and simply made up their own facts in a pathetic effort to seize some mythical moral equivalence in the wake of yesterday’s tragedy.
The shooter, James Hodgkinson, was a vocal Bernie Sanders supporter. He belonged to virulently anti-right Facebook groups. His social media pages were littered with angry anti-GOP messages and memes. Before opening fire yesterday he reportedly asked whether those practicing were Democrats or Republicans. Not even James Carville in his prime could have successfully spun his intentions.
To their credit, the Times’ Editorial Staff didn’t try to. They did something even worse. In their zeal to minimize the damage the shooting did to their precious narrative, they went back in time and invented facts to try and draw a parallel.
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.
There is no way to sugar-coat this. The New York Times lied. Plain and simple. I don’t want to hear about the different thresholds for attribution that exist in an editorial as opposed to a news story. In neither case are you allowed to lie in order to make your point. This is not some far-left blog on the fringes of the Internet. This is the “Paper of Record.” And they deliberately lied.
Loughner was/is a crazy man. Long before Palin’s map was published, Loughner had left threatening voice mails to Giffords. He was a conspiracy theorist who hated George Bush. His nutty views spanned the entire political spectrum. He was initially declared mentally unfit to stand trial. In short, there is ZERO evidence that Palin’s map had any influence on his massacre.
But determined not to let the facts get in the way of a good Op-Ed, the Times used this lie as an attempt to show that conservative rhetoric could be just as deadly as liberal rhetoric. Much like they did a year ago when their same crack staff managed to take a man who shot and killed 49 people in the name of Islam, (his words) and somehow manage to place the blame on those opposed to LGBT rights.
Perhaps the Times is still stuck on trying to prove that their initial reaction to blame Palin’s map for the shooting while blood was still dripping from the victim’s bodies. Their own Paul Krugman was the worst offender. He could not WAIT to blame Palin’s map. He grew increasingly silent as the evidence began demonstrating that the map had NOTHING to do with it. Yesterday, Krugman was mercifully mute.
Again, I understand the journalistic license that governs news reporting is different in editorials. I understand. You can spin, twist, duck, dodge, parry and weave. But that does not give you the right to flat-out lie.
New York Times…you are more than just Fake News. You are deliberate liars and deserved to be condemned as such. I know it’s hard to watch as you lose your near-monopoly over the flow of information, but that doesn’t give you an excuse to let libelous drool ooze from your editorial pages.