by WorldTribune Staff, June 16, 2017
After stating unequivocally that there was a “clear link” between Sarah Palin’s rhetoric and the shooting of Arizona Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords, The New York Times issued a correction to its June 14 editorial titled “America’s Lethal Politics”.
“An earlier version of this editorial incorrectly stated that a link existed between political incitement and the 2011 shooting of Representative Gabby Giffords,” the correction reads. “In fact, no such link was established.”
The editorial used the 2011 shooting, “as a means of justifying the (editorial) board’s decision not to place the same kind of blame on Democrats for the baseball shooting” on June 14 in Alexandria, Virginia, The Daily Caller noted.
The original Times editorial said: “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.”
The Times added that “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.”
Palin on June 15 slammed the editorial and its authors.
“With this sickening NYT editorial, the media is doing exactly what I said yesterday should not be done. Despite commenting as graciously as I could on media coverage of yesterday’s shooting, alas, today a perversely biased media’s knee-jerk blame game is attempting to destroy innocent people with lies and more fake news,” she wrote on Facebook.
As The Daily Caller’s Peter Hasson pointed out: “There is no evidence to support the conspiracy theory that Loughner, a schizophrenic, was at all inspired by Palin’s electoral map.”
Journalists slammed the editorial, referring to the long-debunked Giffords claim in particular as a “despicable lie,” “nuts,” “stupid,” “completely wrong” and “the worst editorial they have run in a decade.”
In addition to issuing the correction note, The New York Times made several edits to the editorial correcting the record, most notably adding a line after the Giffords claim that states “no connection to the shooting was ever established.” The board also replaced the line saying a “link” is clear with this admission: “At the time, we and others were sharply critical of the heated political rhetoric on the right.”
The theory that Loughner was inspired by Palin’s political group to shoot Giffords spread quickly after the shooting.
But it soon emerged that Loughner was a schizophrenic with a long history of bizarre behavior. Loughner himself touted numerous conspiracy theories in online postings.
“As I said yesterday, I’d hoped the media had collectively matured since the last attack on a Representative when media coverage spewed blatant lies about who was to blame,” Palin wrote on Facebook.
“There’s been no improvement. The NYT has gotten worse.”