In an editorial that was as predictable in its point as it was just sad, the New York Times used the shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise to once again call for gun control. However, that is not the controversy generated by their column – it was, as I said, predictable.
No, the scandal here is that the New York Times used a debunked myth or, rather, a straight-up, disproven lie to make the case that political rhetoric is a problem on both sides of the political aisle.
— Jeff B, fightin' the COVID one bootleg at a time (@EsotericCD) June 15, 2017
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.
In 2011, the media, including the New York Times, was quick to jump on Palin’s graphic as the cause for Loughner’s rampage. The only problem is that Loughner was not a conservative seeking to stop a liberal agenda. He was a crazed leftist who was upset that Giffords would not take his calls.
It was proven virtually immediately after the media tried to tie the shooting to the Tea Party. No one disputed this, and the media dropped it.
Not content with just mentioning the lie again as truth, the Times doubles down mere sentences 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.
Again, and I don’t know how many times it must be said: There was no direct incitement in the Giffords attack. The man was no disciple of Sarah Palin, nor was he even a conservative. It is a lie through-and-through.
If the New York Times would like to look at more evidence of political rhetoric causing devastating tragedies they can look no further than the crazed liberal who attempted to shoot up the Family Research Council, planning to shove Chick-Fil-A sandwiches in the mouths of his victims. Why did he do it? The left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center labeled the FRC as a “hate group.”
When is the last prominent tragedy caused by a conservative who has gone completely off the reservation? You’d be hard pressed to find one in the modern era. After some research, I could only come up with Scott Roeder, who killed an abortion doctor in 2009. But, Democrats have been the loudest in recent months about the need to “fight back” against the current presidential administration.
That is not to say, however, that the Democrats are alone in using violent rhetoric. I can think of several instances off the top of my head where conservative voices have loudly been crying out about a civil war and fighting for our rights, as well.
Nor am I saying that Democrats are responsible for James Hodgkinson’s attempted assassination. The fault lies squarely on Hodgkinson, who in his Trump derangement, failed to see that this was the wrong way to affect political change and that the taking of life is never the answer.
The rhetoric used today is violent, but 99.9 percent of Americans realize it’s rhetoric, not instruction. But, for that 0.1 percent, who are already unhinged, the dangers of that type of rhetoric are genuine. It is up to our politicians and us to realize that words do, in fact, still mean things and that they can still be quite potent.
But, using a straight-up lie to say “SEE? THEY DO IT TOO!”? That’s dishonest. It’s worse than dishonest. It’s a malicious slander against people the Times disagrees doesn’t like. That does not help the current political climate.
It only exacerbates it.