Photo by alextorrenegra / Flickr Creative Commons

The New York Times posted an editorial Wednesday night that 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 editorial followed the shooting attack at a Congressional baseball practice Wednesday that was carried out by 66-year-old James Hodgkinson, who upon further investigation was found to have deep anti-Republican sentiments and had volunteered for Bernie Sanders campaign. The piece drew comments condemning the reporting from journalists whose audiences represent many different political perspectives, like MSNBC, Mother Jones, The New York Post and National Review Online.

Why it matters: The partisan pull that The Times' editorial says has gripped the country will only get worse with this piece, as it gives conservatives fuel to bash the "mainstream," "liberal," and "elite" media for arguably overstating a key element of their argument.

The piece drew comment from different media outlets on Twitter

  • CNN host Jake Tapper: "even way back in Jan 2011 we knew that Loughlin's obsession began 3 years before the Palin map.
  • WSJ editorial Editor James Taranto: "Unbelievable. The Times is still peddling this despicable lie"
  • New York Post commentary Editor John Podhoretz: "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."
  • MSNBC host Chris Hayes: "Let me chime here to say: yeah, that's nuts."
  • Mother Jones senior editor Ben Dreyfuss:"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"
  • National Review Online Editor Charles Cooke: "This editorial is an unconscionable disgrace and the Times should be ashamed. Its editorial board is a joke."

Here's the controversial passage from the editorial:

"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.

Conservatives and right-wing media were quick on Wednesday to demand forceful condemnation of hate speech and crimes by anti-Trump liberals. They're right. 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."

And the corrected version:

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.

Conservatives react:

  • Washington Examiner article: "NYT still peddling trash about Palin and the Gabrielle Giffords shooting"
  • Daily Caller article: NYT Uses GOP Shooting To Falsely Attack Sarah Palin With Debunked Conspiracy Theory
  • Townhall editor Guy Benson tweets: "Spent all day trying to be fair to the Left, then their 'paper of record' pumps out this libelous bilge. They make it really hard. Seething."
  • Michelle Malkin tweets: "NYT blames Palin's 2010 map for Loughner's fixation w/Giffords that began in *2007.* Read your own paper, liars==>"
  • Mary Katharine Ham tweets: "The NYT is disgusting. Apparently it takes more than six years for the esteemed Gray Lady to understand the facts of a breaking news story."

Go deeper

Trump says he wants 9 justices in case Supreme Court must decide 2020 election

President Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday that part of his urgency to quickly push through a replacement for the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is that he believes the Supreme Court may have to decide the result of the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump claimed at the Republican National Convention that the only way he will lose the election is if it is "rigged," and he has declined to say whether he would accept the results of November's election if he loses to Joe Biden.

"Not enough": Protesters react to no murder charges in Breonna Taylor case

A grand jury has indicted Brett Hankison, one of the Louisville police officers who entered Breonna Taylor's home in March, on three counts of wanton endangerment for firing shots blindly into neighboring apartments.

The state of play: Angering protesters, the grand jury did not indict any of the three officers involved in the botched drug raid on homicide or manslaughter charges related to the death of Taylor.

Judge orders Eric Trump to testify in New York probe before election

Photo: Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images

A judge on Wednesday ordered Eric Trump to comply with a subpoena to testify before the presidential election in a New York probe into the Trump family business.

The state of play: New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) last month said her office had filed a lawsuit to compel the Trump Organization to comply with subpoenas related to an investigation into whether President Trump and his company improperly inflated the value of its assets on financial statements.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!