The New York Times peddled a debunked theory about the 2011 shooting outside of an Arizona grocery store that critically injured then-Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ).
The New York Times published a highly-controversial and flawed editorial on Wednesday that used a debunked 2011 theory about the gunman who shot former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ).
The editorial, which addressed Wednesday’s shooting in Alexandria, drew considerable backlash from across the media. Public pressure may have forced the Times to issue a correction.
The point of controversy in the Times editorial is the following paragraph:
“Was this attack evidence of how vicious American politics has become? Probably. 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.”
According to Axios, the Times’ editorial:
“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 media outrage directed at the Times’ editorial was swift and vast.
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes tweeted:
Let me chime here to say: yeah, that's nuts.
— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) June 15, 2017
Mother Jones’ Senior editor Ben Dreyfuss tweeted, “This NYT editorial is, in fact, stupid. Palin didn’t make that loon shoot Gabby Giffords. “Rhetoric” didn’t make today’s whacko shoot either.”
While the New York Posts’ John Podhoretz tweeted:
The NYT editorial falsely claims Loughner shot Giffords due to a target on a photo. It's not yet 11. They can change it. Let's see.
— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) June 15, 2017
The editorial features editor for the Wall Street Journal tweeted, “Unbelievable. The Times is still peddling this despicable lie.”
CNN’s Jake Tapper said of the editorial, “even way back in Jan 2011 we knew that Loughlin’s obsession began 3 years before the Palin map.”
The outcry of criticism eventually caused the Times’ to issue the following correction:
“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.”
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