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Robert Naiman

Robert Naiman

Posted: January 8, 2011 07:07 PM

Is the target map that Sarah Palin published, showing Gabrielle Giffords' Congressional District under the cross hairs of a gun, relevant to press coverage of the shootings today in Arizona?

Apparently, the New York Times and the Washington Post disagree.

The New York Times noted the map in their coverage today:

During the fall campaign, Sarah Palin, the former Republican vice-presidential candidate, posted a controversial map on her Facebook page depicting spots where Democrats were running for re-election; those Democrats were noted by crosshairs symbols like those seen through the scope of a gun. Ms. Giffords was among those on Ms. Palin's map.

But the Washington Post passed by an obvious opportunity to note it:

The up-and-coming lawmaker, known as a moderate Democrat who paid close attention to constituent concerns, had been singled out by Sarah Palin's SarahPac as one of the 20 Democrats on the ballot in November who represented states that supported Sen. John McCain for president in 2008. "It's time to take a stand," Palin's fundraising appeal said of Giffords and the other Democrats, who had all supported the health-care bill.

A search on the Washington Post's website for "Giffords," "Palin," and "map" turned up only two blog post references, in blogs by Jonathan Capehart and Joel Achenbach.

This is from the blog post by Joel Achenbach:

FYI, via Dailykos commenters: Giffords was one of the 20 Democrats who were elected in 2008 and voted for health care reform and were then targeted for defeat by Sarah Palin in a "takebackthe20" campaign that included a map showing each congressional district in cross-hairs -- as in a gunsight. Rather incendiary.

Achenbach subsequently parries somewhat defensively criticism for noting the connection - something that appeared in the Times in the main news story, not merely in blog posts.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords certainly thought Sarah Palin's map was relevant to the threat of violence. This is what she told MSNBC on March 25, 2010:

"...for example, we're on Sarah Palin's targeted list, but the thing is that the way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district, and when people do that, they've gotta realize there are consequences to that action."

This passage starts at about 2:20 in the following video.

Why didn't the Washington Post think the Sarah Palin map was relevant to their press coverage?

UPDATE:: at 8:38 pm today - about an hour and a half after I posted this - the Washington Post posted an article that noted the issue of Sarah Palin's "crosshairs" map, although the Post failed to note that Rep. Giffords was specifically "targeted" by Palin; nor did the Post mention Gifford's own remarks about Sarah Palin's "crosshairs" map: "Gabrielle Giffords shooting in Tucson: Did it stem from state of political discourse?"

 

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