David Brooks is correct in his overall analysis of the media smear against Sarah Palin and the Tea Party movement:
All of this evidence, which is easily accessible on the Internet, points to the possibility that Loughner may be suffering from a mental illness like schizophrenia….
In short, the evidence before us suggests that Loughner was locked in a world far removed from politics as we normally understand it.
Yet the early coverage and commentary of the Tucson massacre suppressed this evidence. The coverage and commentary shifted to an entirely different explanation: Loughner unleashed his rampage because he was incited by the violent rhetoric of the Tea Party, the anti-immigrant movement and Sarah Palin.
Mainstream news organizations linked the attack to an offensive target map issued by Sarah Palin’s political action committee. The Huffington Post erupted, with former Senator Gary Hart flatly stating that the killings were the result of angry political rhetoric. Keith Olbermann demanded a Palin repudiation and the founder of the Daily Kos wrote on Twitter: “Mission Accomplished, Sarah Palin.” Others argued that the killing was fostered by a political climate of hate.
These accusations — that political actors contributed to the murder of 6 people, including a 9-year-old girl — are extremely grave. They were made despite the fact that there was, and is, no evidence that Loughner was part of these movements or a consumer of their literature. They were made despite the fact that the link between political rhetoric and actual violence is extremely murky. They were vicious charges made by people who claimed to be criticizing viciousness.
Brooks names names, but not all names. Among the names missing from Brooks’ list of those seeking to smear Palin and the Tea Parties are The Board of Editors of The New York Times and fellow NY Times columnist Paul Krugman.
The New York Times was at the forefront of the attempt to hang the Tucson shooting around the necks of conservatives, Tea Parties and Sarah Palin.
Brooks should have manned-up and named names at The New York Times.