Stephanopoulos, NYT, CNN, WaPo decline to correct erroneous Giffords reporting

ABC News host George Stephanopoulos refuses to admit fault or issue a correction for implying politics had something to do with accused Tucson tragedy shooter Jared Lee Loughner’s motives.

On ABC’s “This Week,” Stephanopoulos, a former Democratic White House press secretary, asked Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Maryland Democrat: “The rhetoric definitely got ratcheted up all throughout the course of the campaign. Going forward, what do you think you, other members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans and the like can do to help bring the temperature down?”*

When The Daily Caller asked Stephanopoulos if he would air a correction for the error, he asked, “What’s false in that question?”

“I explicitly said at the top of that broadcast that we didn’t know the killer’s motivation, whether this was more akin to Columbine or Oklahoma City,” Stephanopoulos said in an e-mail to TheDC. “A point endorsed and reinforced by George Will later in the program. Asking the chair of the Democratic Campaign what responsibility he’s going to take to ratchet down the political rhetoric in no way repeats or endorses a ‘baseless accusation.’”

TheDC also asked the Washington Post, the New York Times and CNN if they were going to run corrections for the mistakes their reporters, anchors and columnists made.

An editorial page assistant at the New York Times said it was up to columnist Paul Krugman whether he was going to run a correction for his mistakes. Krugman asserted that the Tea Party movement factored into Loughner’s shooting of Giffords and 19 other people on Saturday.

The Post and CNN failed to respond to TheDC’s requests for comment.

CNN’s State of the Union anchor Candy Crowley asked Senator Majority Whip Dick Durbin, Illinois Democrat, “I guess that the undertow — and certainly it’s not an undertow on the Internet — but the undertow with politicians now speaking publicly is, well, the Republicans and the Tea Party and Sarah Palin have gone way too far in their rhetoric; it’s been violent rhetoric, and therefore this sort of thing happens. Are you making that direct connection?”

She asked Durbin that in response to Durbin saying, “we live in a world of violent images and violent words, but those of us in public life and the journalists who cover us should be thoughtful in response to this and try to bring down the rhetoric, which I’m afraid has become pervasive in our discussion of political issues. The phrase ‘don’t retreat, reload,’ putting crosshairs on congressional districts as targets, these sorts of things, I think, invite the kind of toxic rhetoric that can lead unstable people to believe this is an acceptable response. And I think that we all have an obligation, both political parties — and let me salute the senior senator from Arizona, John McCain, whose statement yesterday was clear and unequivocal that we are not accepting this kind of conduct as being anywhere near the mainstream.”

Durbin never directly named Palin or the Tea Party movement in any of his comments on the State of the Union. Crowley was the first to name Palin and the Tea Party movement.

CNN’s Piers Morgan, who takes over longtime television newsman Larry King’s timeslot next week, tweeted, “This now deleted image from Sarah Palin website will be reason this terrible shooting has huge political ramifications,” linking the map Palin made of targeted congressional districts for the 2010 midterm elections.

Many of the Washington Post stories that linked Loughner to the Tea Party movement and Palin were published before Loughner’s name was released. The Post did this through stories linking the tragedy to Giffords’s office getting vandalized, giving credence to baseless liberal connections by interviewing Arizona Tea Partiers about what they thought of the attack and by connecting federal judge John Roll’s death to the state’s illegal immigration debate.

*Due to a transcript service issue, this story originally used a wrong word in Stephanopoulos’s question to Van Hollen. The story originally used “thousand” instead of “throughout” in the quote.

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  • savage24

    The vast unwashed masses do not deserve an apology from the so called elite media. Civility is only required from those on the right. Remenber Fox News is the only one that claims “fair and balanced” the others don’t claim anything, certainly not the truth.



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  • riseabove

    Blame Palin, blame Backmann and Beck and Limbaugh and O’Reilly and Talk Radio and Pima Community College and the Sheriff’s Department and SB1070 and the citizens of Arizona and the people of the country and rest of the world but whatever you do, don’t hold completely accountable an evil man who had the capacity to plan ahead and then get out of bed, put his clothes on, tie his shoes, open the door, walk down the street, call a taxi-cab, make purchases and conclude transactions, find his target, raise the gun and start shooting.

    Just one more example of the Left’s faulty reasoning. If we as a society lived by that rule, we’d all be in prison because we can never, ever know whether or not we ever said or did anything that may have triggered something in somebody else that could’ve ultimately led to a crime. If they pin this on Palin then they must, by all rationality, blame the whole world for everything everybody else does.

    The Left, unwittingly, has given us permission to point the finger at hardcore porn, explicit song lyrics and violent video games for instigating and provoking crime.

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  • gregg

    There is nothing wrong with Stephanopoulos’ question or his response. :)