A lieditorial

James Taranto explains the term I made up for this blog:

The New York Times’s Timothy Egan thinks Donald Trump is a “pathological liar.” …

An additional irony is that Egan’s column appears in a newspaper that itself can fairly be characterized, in the institutional voice of its editorial board, as a pathological liar.

We base that admittedly harsh assessment on today’s editorial about Sunday’s Islamic terror attack on a gay bar in Orlando, in which the Times asserts this:

While the precise motivation for the rampage remains unclear, it is evident that [attacker Omar] Mateen was driven by hatred toward gays and lesbians. Hate crimes don’t happen in a vacuum. They occur where bigotry is allowed to fester, where minorities are vilified and where people are scapegoated for political gain. Tragically, this is the state of American politics, driven too often by Republican politicians who see prejudice as something to exploit, not extinguish.

In fact, the motivation is entirely clear. The Washington Post reports that during the attack, Mateen phoned a local TV station and told a producer: “I did it for ISIS. I did it for the Islamic State.” He told 911 operators the same thing.

Where might Mateen have developed an antipathy toward gays? On Monday we noted that after the attack his father posted on his Facebook page that “God himself will punish those involved in homosexuality.” Mateen père is not a Republican but an Afghan immigrant reportedly sympathetic to the Taliban.

The Times faults Republicans for opposing same-sex marriage, antidiscrimination laws (which the Times believes should be enforced without any exception for religious conscience) and the use of ladies’ rest rooms by persons whose “gender identity” does not match their sex. In itself, that’s fine. There is room for civilized disagreement about such matters. But falsely blaming your political adversaries for mass murder is hardly civilized.

There’s an additional irony to the Times’s post-Orlando jihad against Republicans: Trump, notwithstanding his total disregard for liberal pieties, has never, so far as we know, said anything remotely hostile to sexual minorities—in contrast with Mrs. Clinton, who opposed same-sex marriage until 2013. That was true at a time when society as a whole was far less tolerant: In his 1987 book, “The Art of the Deal,” Trump mentions the homosexuality of his late friend Roy Cohn and is totally blasé about it.

The editorial notes in passing that “Trump, unlike some other prominent Republicans, called the Orlando massacre what it was: an attack on gay people.” Actually he went further than that: In a speech Monday, he said: “Our nation stands together in solidarity with the members of Orlando’s LGBT community.”

Trump also was honest in acknowledging the ideology behind the attack: “A radical Islamic terrorist targeted the nightclub not only because he wanted to kill Americans, but in order to execute gay and lesbian citizens because of their sexual orientation.” He faulted the Obama administration’s “politically correct response”—meaning its steadfast refusal to acknowledge that Islamic terrorism is Islamic—which he said “cripples our ability to talk and think and act clearly.”

That prompted a response from the president himself that CNN calls a “tirade” and the Times, in another editorial today, calls “powerful words”:

[Obama] addressed the accusation—a fetishized Republican talking point, repeated by Mr. Trump after Orlando—that Mr. Obama is surrendering to the enemy by avoiding the label “radical Islam.” The idea that reciting those words would help magically defeat the terrorists is absurd, and worse. It plays into the desire of groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda to make the war, as Mr. Obama said, “a war between Islam and America, or between Islam and the West. They want to claim that they are the true leaders of over a billion Muslims around the world who reject their crazy notions.”

Obama and the Times are setting up a straw man. “The problem with Obama’s conduct isn’t that naming radical Islam would solve the problem,” Commentary’s John Podhoretz observes. “Of course, it wouldn’t solve the problem. The issue is that the refusal to name radical Islam is part of the problem.”

The Times’s slander against Republicans is nothing new: In 2011, as we noted, an editorial blamed “Republicans and particularly their most virulent supporters in the media” for the Tucson, Ariz., attack whose victims included then-Rep. Gabby Giffords. By the time that editorial ran, it had been established that the killer had no discernible ideological motivation.

In the Orlando case, however, the Times’s dishonesty is doubly despicable. The paper falsely blames its political adversaries for a grievous crime that was ideologically motivated, while furthering the official lie that the killer’s ideology amounts to nothing more than “crazy notions.”


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