Politics

NYT Uses GOP Shooting To Falsely Attack Sarah Palin With Debunked Conspiracy Theory

The New York Times used the attempted assassination of dozens of Republican congressmen by a left-wing Bernie Sanders supporter to attack former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin with a baseless conspiracy theory blaming Palin for inciting mentally ill Jared Loughner to shoot Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords in 2011.

“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 editors wrote.

They added later: “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 evidence to support the conspiracy theory that Loughner, a schizophrenic, was at all inspired by Palin’s electoral map.

As CNN’s Jake Tapper pointed out in response to the NYT editorial: “even way back in Jan 2011 we knew that Loughlin’s obsession began 3 years before the Palin map.” Tapper made that same exact point back in 2011 when he worked for ABC.

Other commenters pointed out the NYT’s bizarre and inexplicable dishonesty.

“The NYT editorial falsely claims Loughner shot Giffords due to a target on a photo,” Commentary editor John Podhoretz wrote. “It’s not yet 11. They can change it. Let’s see.”

The Washington Free Beacon’s David Rutz pointed out that the NYT’s “editorial board has now done editorials about Pulse and Alexandria shootings that found a way to blame Republicans.”

“This NYT editorial on today’s shooting is just despicable,” said another Free Beacon writer, Stephen Gutowski. “What absolute trash.”

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Ben Dreyfuss, a senior editor with left-wing Mother Jones, called the editorial “stupid,” adding: “Palin didn’t make that loon shoot Gabby Giffords.”

“Unbelievable. The Times is still peddling this despicable lie,” said Wall Street Journal editor James Taranto. He added: “This is shockingly dishonest.”

This is the second time that the NYT’s editors have blamed Palin for Gifford’s shooting. The NYT ran a similar editorial in 2011 that — again, without any evidence to support such a conspiracy theory — cast blame at Palin for Giffords’ shooting.

Update: Almost 12 hours after this article was published, the NYT removed the language blaming Palin for Giffords’ shooting. The updates were initially done without an editor’s note but after further criticism the NYT conceded: “An earlier version of this editorial incorrectly stated that a link existed between political incitement and the 2011 shooting of Representative Gabby Giffords. In fact, no such link was established.”