The facts are simple and incontestable. On January 8, 2011, deranged, obsessed druggie Jared Loughner opened fire at a political rally for Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, killing six, wounding 14, and nearly killing Giffords, who was the object of his obsession.
Loughner stands in a long line of similarly deranged murderers and attempted murderers of politicians such as Hinckley, Bremner, Sirhan, and Oswald.
These men, as far as their mental capacity gave them a logical reason, were motivated by concepts that ranged from obsession with an actress to conspiracy theories to "prov[ing] my manhood" and other bizarre motivations. In none of these cases could a direct causation be traced to a supposed motivation by or influence of a political figure not connected in any way to the assassin's victim.
Yet immediately after Loughner shot Giffords, Markos Moulitsas who runs the far-left "progressive" Daily Kos, tweeted, infamously, "Mission accomplished, Sarah Palin[.]"
What could have possibly motivated such a monstrous public statement, even from the purveyor of a site so lacking in morality that it was the home of the "Trig is not Palin's son" calumny during the 2008 election? Palin's PAC had put out a map with a series of "targets" (actually surveyor's marks, not bulls-eyes, as the left claimed) on various congressional seats, including Giffords, where voters were urged to defeat the Democratic candidate in the midterms.
From that, and without any scrap of connecting evidence whatsoever, Moulitsas and, to their shame, elements of the mainline media converged on Governor Palin. The fact that his Daily Kos had done exactly the same targeting (Kos, incredibly, had "targeted" with a bulls-eye Giffords also – as too conservative), as had the DNC, was shunted aside.
Once Loughner was identified as the shooter and his clearly psychotic, drug-addled background (and photograph) were presented, any person with the slightest discernment and thought processes could see that Loughner, who was an independent left-leaning voter, was not influenced by "Palin's map" (which it is highly unlikely he had ever seen) or Palin herself. That did not stop the media's descent into one of the most shameful episodes in history.
The New York Daily News' Michael Daly had an article out with this headline: "Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' blood is on Sarah Palin's hands after putting cross hair over district[.]" After accusing Palin of putting Giffords "in cross hairs of a rifle scope," Daly ranted that "anyone with any sense at all knows that violent language can incite actual violence, that metaphor can incite murder.
At the very least, Palin added to a climate of violence." This disgusting linkage, which had no basis in fact whatsoever as respects Loughner, was taken up, amongst many others, by the very odd Andrew Sullivan, Dem Congressman Grijalva, Eugene Robinson, and Paul Krugman.
The media, the left bloggers, and the Democratic Party personnel jumped on the Palin accusation bandwagon, without any evidence of a direct link, for utterly partisan reasons. Morality, truth, investigative journalism, personal scruples – all were buried in a hasty effort to damage the Tea Party, and most especially their hated opponent, Governor Palin.
How have things turned out? Moulitsas stands unapologetic, and his site continues with its hate rants. Palin stands even more influential and powerful than ever, judged not least by her incredible endorsement success in the 2014midterms.
Giffords, thankfully, recovered enough to make a valued public contribution, although her condition rendered her incapable of continuing her congressional career (her seat switched from Dem to the GOP in the midterms). Daly and all the other Palin attackers just shut up shop in the Giffords connection score, but they carry on as if there had been no damage to their reputations – such as they are.
Yet strong and respected conservative voices did challenge these leftists – not only in the aftermath (Bob Belvedere at The Camp of The Saints ["Markos Moulitsas: Blood Libelist"] and Robert Stacy McCain at The Other McCain ["Mission Accomplished, Markos Moulitsas"]) of the Giffords shooting, but whenever leftist hypocrisy raises its head. The tragic shooting of the two New York City policemen was just such a moment where the ethics and morality of the conservative voices and Governor Palin were raised, pointing out the blatant hypocrisy.
Mollie Hemingway at The Federalist reviewed the two instances and excoriated the leftist media for their unwarranted attacks on Palin while calling for balance in the future. That certainly is fair, but at the same time, the pit of hell that the media and many on the left fell into in their unreasoned and unreasonable blame game toward Governor Palin should never be forgotten.
This shameful episode should be raised whenever – sadly, since the deranged are always with us – such events occur again.