NYT issues correction to editorial linking Giffords shooting to Palin

Dylan Stableford
Senior Editor
The Times has issued a correction to a column linking the shooting of Giffords (left) to Palin. (Photos: Spencer Platt/Getty Images, Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images, Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The New York Times has published an editor’s note correcting an editorial that linked the 2011 shooting of Rep. Gabby Giffords in Tucson, Ariz., to a fund-raising email by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. The editorial drew complaints from many conservatives and from Palin herself, who hinted she might explore legal action against the newspaper.

“An earlier version of this editorial incorrectly stated that a link existed between political incitement and the 2011 shooting of Representative Gabby Giffords,” the note reads in its entirety. “In fact, no such link was established.”

The Times did not offer an apology.

The editorial, published Wednesday, had drawn a distinction between the assault on Giffords and the shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and four others at a Republican congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Va., earlier in the day. The Times’ editorial board said that while Wednesday’s attack by a left-wing activist was “probably” motivated by divisive political rhetoric, there was a “clear” link in Giffords’ case.

“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,” the editorial said. “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 were quick to point out that there is no evidence that Loughner was motivated by the map, and that his journals revealed he had been obsessed with Giffords for years.





Palin responded to the Times in a statement posted to Facebook early Thursday:

 

With this sickening NYT’s editorial, the media is doing exactly what I said yesterday should not be done. Despite commenting as graciously as I could on media coverage of yesterday’s shooting, alas, today a perversely biased media’s knee-jerk blame game is attempting to destroy innocent people with lies and more fake news. As I said yesterday, I’d hoped the media had collectively matured since the last attack on a Representative when media coverage spewed blatant lies about who was to blame. There’s been no improvement. The NYT has gotten worse.

 

On Twitter, Palin added that she was “talking to attorneys” to explore her legal options.



Representatives for the Times did not immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did Giffords, who penned her own op-ed on Scalise’s shooting for the Washington Post calling for lawmakers to acknowledge “an unacceptable rate of gun violence in this country.”

“I woke up Wednesday morning to images I have prayed I would never see again: a member of Congress and a congressional aide, shot. Children and bystanders scrambling for cover,” Giffords wrote. “Fear. Danger. Rage, apparently, from the shooter, at a quiet neighborhood field where my former colleagues were having baseball practice before Thursday night’s charity game. As my fellow lawmakers had been when I was shot outside a supermarket in Tucson six years ago, I was glued to the television, texting former colleagues and dear friends anxiously and offering my prayers as I awaited news.”

Giffords added: “We will all need courage to speak to one another and actually listen; to put aside partisan political differences and talk with one another, not yell or call names. We can stand shoulder to shoulder and say differences will not prevent us from working toward solutions. We are Americans; it’s in our nature to work toward a better, safer union.”

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