The #New York Times took the occasion to editorialize about the shooting of Rep. Scalise and four others by a deranged Bernie Sanders supporter. In the midst of its meditation on the relationship between politics and violence in America the Times choose to dredge up a lie concerning #Sarah Palin and the shooting of Rep. #Gabby Giffords a few years ago along with the murders of six people, including a six year old girl, by another deranged shooter named Jared Lee Loughner.

What the New York Times wrote

The New York Times editorial stated, in part, “Before the shooting, Sarah Palin’s political action committee circulated a map of targeted electoral districts that put Ms.

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Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs.” The alleged link between the graphic and the mass shooting that took place at a public meet and greet in a supermarket parking lot was aired at the time. It caused a firestorm then and the Times resurrecting it has caused one now.

What really happened

In fact, the tactic of using a map wit crosshairs graphic predated Sarah Palin by quite a number of years. Democratic political strategist and former Fox News personality Bob Beckel claims to have invented the idea. The idea that such maps were a call for shooting politicians never occurred to anyone before.

More importantly, later reporting revealed that Loughner’s obsession with Giffords predated the map in question by several years. No evidence exists that the mass murderer ever set eyes on the graphic before he decided to open fire on a crowd of people, including a member of Congress.

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The embarrassment of the left

Loughner had a deep seated mental illness that had nothing to do with politics that drove him to do what he did. However, we know that the more recent shooter, James Hodgkinson, was a far left liberal, a supporter of Bernie Sanders, and someone who had been driven around the bend by the election of Donald Trump.

The Times did not choose to focus too closely on whether the super-heated rhetoric that issues from the left helped to drive Hodgkinson to open fire on a group of congressmen and staffers. If it had, it would have had to take a long, hard look at itself. The New York Times is a sponsor of the Public Theater, whose production of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” enacts the assassination of President Donald Trump night after night.

Does Sarah Palin have a libel case?

One might argue that the New York Times has fulfilled the two criteria for libeling a public figure. The newspaper has committed a reckless disregard for the truth in dredging up the link between the map and Giffords’ shooting. The presence of malice is also a given.

Palin has not been in the public eye recently. The irony would be all too delicious if she returned to the national stage by taking the New York Times to court and suing it for the attempted assassination of her character.