The New York Times: “We Never Blamed Conservatives for Tucson…”

Sarah Palin felt the need to defend herself after she was indicted– without due process– for inciting the violence in Tucson, and while some might question her word choice– I don’t– there is no question that she was entitled to speak out against the irresponsible reporting emanating from the mainstream media.

So, it probably makes sense that the New York Times would  say that they had no part in this irresponsible reporting, blame conservatives for an excessive backlash of criticism, and accuse alternative media sources for initiating the poor reporting to begin with….

Oh, wait, that actually doesn’t make sense at all…

In an article designed to be the New York Times’ defense of their reporting of the shooting, the Times effectively criticizes conservatives– again– and apparently forgets that their own Paul Krugman’s article was…well…biased.  Here’s the first line:

FOR every action in politics today, there’s an overwhelming and opposite reaction.  Last week, the reaction came from conservative politicians….

So, right off the bat, the Times goes on the offensive against the Conservatives for a perceived “overwhelming reaction.” That’s really great, thanks for toning down the rhetoric…

Moving on, it becomes glaringly obvious that the New York Times is completely oblivious to the entire situation.  After taking a dig at Sarah Palin’s blood libel comment again– after all, why not, right?– they move on to pose a strange question, asking exactly which media sources the Right was accusing of jumping to conclusions:

The question left unanswered: which journalists and pundits?

Well, let me just start by first and foremost accusing the New York Times.  They pretend to not understand why they are being criticized despite a plethora of articles such as this one titled “The shame and hypocrisy of the New York Times” by HotairOr “The Times Loses It” by the Weekly Standard. Or this one by Redstate.  Or this one by Big Government….

Hope that cleared things up a little bit.

Then, they bring in a “professional source” who supposedly lends credibility to two arguments: 1) the mainstream media reported responsibly 2) liberal alternative media are to blame for the accusations against the right:

Tim McGuire, who teaches at the Arizona State University Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, said that accusations against the media result in part from confusion about how to define the media in the digital age.

“I don’t see that the mainstream media has been pointing fingers or coming to conclusions about who is to blame. I think they’ve reported,” Mr. McGuire said. “You can talk about the fact that there has been certain legislation in Arizona and that people have used vitriolic language around target practice and the like. You can talk about those things without citing a cause-and-effect relationship. But I see very few mainstream media operatives trying to draw a cause and effect.”

Here’s the problem: you actually can’t talk about political vitriol and Jared Lee Loughnerin the same story without implying a cause and effect relationship.  The implication is blatant.  Why else would a news organization mention the two subjects in the same report?  Just for the hell of it?  Just because they felt like talking about political rhetoric and an attempted assassination for the sake of producing an incoherent and confusing narrative that in no way ties together? Um, no.  These people are professional writers and producers, and you certainly don’t mention two completely independent themes in one story if you don’t intend or expect them to be connected…any assertion to the contrary is ignorant.

Secondly, McGuire seems to imply that ZERO mainstream outlets directly implicated political rhetoric and the shooting.  To be brief, that implication is false. Period.  Exhibit A: I turned on the TV to CNN when the shooting was reported and immediately heard reporting to the effect of ” Boy, it’s hard to think that the harsh political rhetoric did not have something to do with this tragedy…” Point made, assertion refuted.

Apparently– and I actually did not know this prior to reading this article– the Times is not completely delusional.  They do understand some select aspects of reality.  So, they do not go so far as to assert that the link between political rhetoric and the assassination attempt sprung out of thin air.  But, who made the connection?

That’s easy, it was alternative media, of course:

But on the Web, where anonymity often reigns, the blame game was much more pointed. In The Huffington Post, Gary Hart wrote about attacks on liberals and concluded that “today we have seen the results of this rhetoric.”

On Ms. Palin’s Facebook wall, thousands of supporters and detractors argued about whether she and other right-wing voices had any culpability in the shootings. Conservatives denounced Markos Moulitsas, the founder of the liberal blog Daily Kos, for writing on Twitter, “Mission accomplished, Sarah Palin” and linking to the bull’s-eye map that featured Ms. Giffords’s district.

Mr. McGuire chimed in to say that:

“I think there was some of that on social media, some were trying to do that. But that’s the nature of social media: citizens expressing their opinion.”

While it is true that liberal blogs engaged in blaming conservatives, that fact does not exonerate the reporting of the mainstream media.  Isn’t is possible that they both committed the same crime?  I think so.

For instance, when Paul Krugman writes:

When you heard the terrible news from Arizona, were you completely surprised? Or were you, at some level, expecting something like this atrocity to happen?

Put me in the latter category. I’ve had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach ever since the final stages of the 2008 campaign. I remembered the upsurge in political hatred after Bill Clinton’s election in 1992 — an upsurge that culminated in the Oklahoma City bombing. And you could see, just by watching the crowds at McCain-Palin rallies, that it was ready to happen again.

Or this:

Where’s that toxic rhetoric coming from? Let’s not make a false pretense of balance: it’s coming, overwhelmingly, from the right

Or maybe this:

So will the Arizona massacre make our discourse less toxic? It’s really up to G.O.P. leaders. Will they accept the reality of what’s happening to America, and take a stand against eliminationist rhetoric? Or will they try to dismiss the massacre as the mere act of a deranged individual, and go on as before?

If Arizona promotes some real soul-searching, it could prove a turning point. If it doesn’t, Saturday’s atrocity will be just the beginning.

Is it any different than what is said by liberal blogs?  Well, no. No it is not.

It is highly ironic that Krugman uses the phrase: “let’s not make a false pretense of balance” when referring to the shooting in Tucson.  Because that is exactly what the Times is trying to do in covering up their obvious journalistic blunder.  Don’t worry though, we can see right through it.



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