The New York Times, in an epic display of revisionist history, blamed Sarah Palin for a mass shooting in Arizona in 2011, a conspiracy theory that was debunked almost immediately after the fact.
The editorial sought to draw a parallel between this week’s shooting by a far-left Bernie Sanders supporter, and that by apolitical lunatic Jared Loughner, who shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and killed six others in an attack in Tucson.
In doing so, the Times revived a conspiracy theory at the time that ‘target maps’ used by Palin to focus on political opponents who needed to be defeated led to the shooting.
“The link to political incitement was clear,” the column read. “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.”
What the Times missed somehow, was the fact that no link between Palin’s maps, or political rhetoric of any kind with the shooting had ever been established.
The New York Times posted an editorial Wednesday night that invoked a debunked 2011 theory that a map circulated by Sarah Palin inspired a shooter to fire gunshots outside of an Arizona grocery store, striking and critically injuring then Congresswomen Gabby Giffords.
The editorial followed the shooting attack at a Congressional baseball practice Wednesday that was carried out by 66-year-old James Hodgkinson, who upon further investigation was found to have deep anti-Republican sentiments and had volunteered for Bernie Sanders campaign. The piece drew comments condemning the reporting from journalists whose audiences represent many different political perspectives, like MSNBC, Mother Jones, The New York Post and National Review Online.
The false link was condemned by people on all sides of the political spectrum.
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
Let me chime here to say: yeah, that’s nuts.
— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) June 15, 2017
This editorial is an unconscionable disgrace and the Times should be ashamed. Its editorial board is a joke. https://t.co/bk3iFN8Mf4
— Charles C. W. Cooke (@charlescwcooke) June 15, 2017
The paper of record was forced to issue a correction after the outcry …
We got an important fact wrong, incorrectly linking political incitement and the 2011 shooting of Giffords. No link was ever established.
— NYT Opinion (@nytopinion) June 15, 2017
… but they still left the unrelated Palin information in the corrected version!
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) June 15, 2017
Townhall’s Guy Benson writes, “I obviously approve of the decision to alter this grossly inaccurate content, but the fact that their essay was approved as fit to print in the first place last evening is quite revealing.”
But even the corrected version is a problem, according to Benson.
“The new version of the editorial still mentions Palin’s map, which is totally unconnected to anything of relevance on this subject,” he added. “A bizarre non-sequitur. Their utterly wrong, unsupported implication remains intact.”
This “correction” is not nearly good enough. The New York Times issued a false statement that could itself incite further violence from somebody with the same mindset as the recent shooter. They need to write an entirely new piece which debunks their own conspiracy, and explain to their readers how the editorial board could possibly have bought into such a wild conspiracy in the first place.
And they need to push it as fervently as they did the original column.
The New York Times is a disgrace.
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