Sunday’s New York Times led with the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a three-term Democrat representing Tucson, in an assassination attempt in which six others were killed, including a federal judge and a nine-year-old girl.
The suspect in custody is 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner. The suspect’s Myspace and Youtube pages are filled with crazed syllogisms, dominated by thoughts of mind control. Loughner also recommending a video of an American flag being burned, and is evidently an atheist.
Not exactly the profile of a Sarah Palin fan, right? But that didn’t stop the Times from imposing a “violent rhetoric” template on its front-page Sunday story by Congressional reporter Carl Hulse and Tea Party beat reporter Kate Zernike, “Bloodshed Puts New Focus on Vitriol in Politics.” The unasked for and unprofessional speculation of Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik (who used the term "vitriol" while going after conservative talk radio and TV) also featured high in the Times's recounting, while Times reporters linked to Palin's now-infamous campaign "target map" from March 2010.
The shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords and others at a neighborhood meeting in Arizona on Saturday set off what is likely to be a wrenching debate over anger and violence in American politics.