The New York Times: A Convenient Memory Hole Concerning Tucson

It is impossible to know the thoughts that go through the mind of a crazy man. Certainly Jared Loughner, the assassin who perpetrated the Tucson massacre which killed six and wounded 13,including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was a monster. It hardly seemed appropriate to dissect his political leanings immediately after his shooting rampage. Nevertheless, at a time when mourning is the only logical thing for people to do, the New York Times began the cacophony of finger pointing and has conveniently forgotten its heinous rush to blame. In a editorial run in the New York Times on January 9th, 2011, they stated:

It is facile and mistaken to attribute this particular madman’s act directly to Republicans or Tea Party members.

That statement seems innocuous enough, but then the next sentences were written:

But it is legitimate to hold Republicans and particularly their most virulent supporters in the media responsible for the gale of anger that has produced the vast majority of these threats, setting the nation on edge. Many on the right have exploited the arguments of division, reaping political power by demonizing immigrants, or welfare recipients, or bureaucrats.

Any pretense that it was facile to blame the right was immediately negated by … blaming the right. It was crystal clear that the New York Times and their leftist compatriots had every intention of blaming this on Republicans and Tea Party members.

As opposed to giving people time to mourn this terrible tragedy and law enforcement time to sort out the deeper issues involved, the New York Times chose to begin the blame game while advancing another significant plank of left’s agenda:

Its gun laws are among the most lenient, allowing even a disturbed man like Mr. Loughner to buy a pistol and carry it concealed without a special permit. That was before the Tucson rampage. Now, having seen first hand the horror of political violence, Arizona should lead the nation in quieting the voices of intolerance, demanding an end to the temptations of bloodshed, and imposing sensible controls on its instruments.

If only tighter gun control laws had been in place, perhaps this incident may never have occurred. Never mind that deranged men will eventually find a way to exact their horrific agendas. The law is rarely a detriment to an individual bent on breaking the law.

In a follow-up piece written after President Obama had spoken in Tucson, the highlighted some of the president’s words:

Mr. Obama called on ideological campaigners to stop vilifying their opponents. The only way to move forward after such a tragedy, he said, is to cast aside “point-scoring and pettiness.”

It was important that Mr. Obama transcend the debate about whose partisanship has been excessive and whose words have sown the most division and dread. This page and many others have identified those voices and called on them to stop demonizing their political opponents. The president’s role in Tucson was to comfort and honor, and instill hope.

The meaning of the president’s words could not be more clear, or so it seemed. Unfortunately the New York Times did not get the memo. Remember, the New York Times pointed out in their previous piece that the right are the partisan hacks to be blamed for this event. Instead of healing the Nation’s wounds, the hypocrites at the NYT attempted to cast blame for this unimaginably awful incident on the political rhetoric of the right even as they called for an end to divisive political rhetoric. At the same they began to mercilessly pile on Sarah Palin, as if she were the cause of this event. In fact, the vilification of Palin led to a display of vile rhetoric and death threats from the left that has to be seen(*warning) to be believed.

What a surprise then, that after leading the charge against vile rhetoric … by inciting vile rhetoric, the New York Times conveniently forgets about it entirely. Never an acknowledgement they were wrong. Never an apology to Palin whom they irresponsibly blamed. It is as if the pieces they published in January 2011 and the agenda they pushed ended up in a gaping memory hole. The most effective and pithy commentary on this reality?


Fast-forward to January 8, 2012. One year after that tragic day, it was Rep. Gabrielle Giffords who led a candle light vigil in Tucson to remember the victims of that day. What an amazing story that this remarkable woman persevered against all odds to be center stage. While there is no chance the New York Times will apologize for their misplaced blame, at least Rep. Gifford’s story is celebrated by both the right and the left.

(Thanks to Joshua Treviño for providing the links and tweets)

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