Sherry Sylvester

Sarah Palin Didn’t Fire a Shot – and Nobody Died for the Dow

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Ever since the Johns Hopkins report came out the other week, I have been waiting for headlines across the country to appear saying “Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick was Right.”  Lockdowns had virtually no impact on COVID-19 deaths or infection rates.

On March 23, 2020, Lt. Gov. Patrick told Tucker Carlson on Fox News that as a person in the high-risk age group for Covid, he did not believe the country should sacrifice the economy or imperil the future of our grandchildren to protect seniors like himself by locking down. He made it clear he was only speaking for himself, and he repeatedly advocated seniors take every step necessary to protect themselves from exposure. But he said he was more afraid of the collapse of the economy than he was of dying. He told Tucker he’d spoken with other older Americans who agreed with him.

It only took minutes for the media and the left to accuse Lt. Gov. Patrick of telling older Americans that they should sacrifice their health or even die to keep businesses open. Media and the left across Texas and the rest of the country—and even in Europe—lambasted him, insisting that he’d said that old people should be sacrificed for the economy. They shortened the message to “Die for the Dow,” and it trended on Twitter. At the same time, the very same media was effusively praising then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who was actually killing old people with his pandemic strategies.   

We are still calculating the costs of shutting down the economy—beyond killing businesses and putting millions out of work. Staggering suicide rates, drug and alcohol addiction, mental health issues, delayed medical tests and treatments and the devastating impact on our schools and children are all part of the fallout from lockdowns that we now know were totally unnecessary.      

The media should have been asking the questions Johns Hopkins asked in its lockdown analysis from the first day the orders were proposed, but they didn’t. Instead, they presented Patrick and other leaders who opposed lockdowns as insensitive and hateful. President Joe Biden even accused lockdown opponents of “Neanderthal thinking.”  

So now the data shows that Lt. Gov. Patrick was right, who holds the media accountable? Judging from what happened at the trial last week, when former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin sued the New York Times, it looks like nobody. 

Like Lt. Gov. Patrick, the media accused Palin of being responsible for killing people. In 2017, after Congressman Steve Scalise and several other Republicans were shot playing baseball in Washington, D.C., the New York Times wrote an editorial headlined America’s Lethal Politics charging that Palin was at least partially responsible for the shooting:  

In 2011, when Jared Lee Loughner opened fire in a supermarket parking lot, grievously wounding Representative Gabby Giffords and killing six people, including a 9-year-old girl, the link to political incitement was clear. Before the shooting, Sarah Palin’s political action committee circulated a map of targeted electoral districts that put Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs.

The Times deleted the line “the link to political incitement was clear” pretty quickly, and later it was forced to admit that the shooter had never seen the graphic in Palin’s PAC map. A recent report by the Wall Street Journal’s James Freeman notes that the paper admits its work was sloppy. It also said it had a policy to never apologize for errors. 

 That’s it. The official response from the national newspaper of record was to shrug it off with a “my bad.”  

Editorial Page Editor James Bennett said he hadn’t meant to imply that Palin had incited violence. 

So, in addition to the “my bad” shrug, the editor told the court that he didn’t really mean what he wrote. But the New York Times didn’t actually back down. Its editorial still suggests Palin, somehow, was responsible for the shooting; it just can’t prove it. Here’s what the “corrected” editorial that is posted online now says about it:

Jared Lee Loughner opened fire in a supermarket parking lot, grievously wounding Representative Gabby Giffords and killing six people, including a 9-year-old girl. At the time, we and others were sharply critical of the heated political rhetoric on the right. Before the shooting, Sarah Palin’s political action committee circulated a map that showed the targeted electoral districts of Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs. But in that case no connection to the shooting was ever established. 

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff called the Times editorial an “honest mistake,” and he says he plans to throw the case out after the jury returns. 

 But, of course, it wasn’t honest and it wasn’t a mistake. The media routinely uses tactics like this to demonize individual conservatives. They use various forms of lying—hyperbole, twisting words, exaggeration, taking statements out of context or simply making things up. If they can concoct a charge that involves people being killed, that’s even better. 

National Public Radio (NPR) icon Nina Tottenberg reported recently that conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch refused to put on a mask when liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayer asked him too. The story noted that since Sotomayer has co-morbidities and is at a high risk for COVID-19, Gorsuch’s actions could kill her. However, both Gorsuch and Sotomayer issued a statement saying it wasn’t true. Obviously, Tottenberg either made it up or she published something she hadn’t confirmed. NPR is standing by the story. Apparently it has a “no apology” policy too.

 Palin is expected to appeal the judge’s decision to dismiss the case, but no one expects the New York Times to admit she was right, just like the media will never report that Lt. Gov. Patrick was right to oppose lockdowns early in the pandemic. It is ironic that the media calls challenges to the 2020 election “the Big Lie” when clearly, those in the media are the big liars, whether it be through their attacks on conservatives or conservative issues.

Here are just a few of the facts they continue to misreport. Photo Voter ID doesn’t suppress the vote. Turnout has increased since it passed.  Banning critical race theory doesn’t prohibit teaching about slavery and racism, it requires it. School choice isn’t for rich kids, it’s for poor kids, a proven way of obtaining better performance outcomes. But don’t hold your breath waiting for the media to report those facts. And don’t ever expect them to apologize when they lie.       

 TPPF’s Distinguished Senior Fellow Sherry Sylvester, has spent decades working at the nexus of public policy and politics. She began as a left-leaning Democrat on the East Coast but years of working closely with progressives pushed her to the right. After two decades in Texas, she is a committed to Keeping Texas Texan — a beacon of freedom and liberty, a center of innovation, and a major force in the global economy. Coming off a 17-year stint working around the Texas Capitol, including 7 years as Senior Advisor to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, 9th & Congress, presents her insights and updates on politics, policy, the news and history.

 In case you missed Sherry’s op-ed on the New York Times’ 1619 Project – America’s History is Not Black and White – you can read it here: https://townhall.com/columnists/sherrysylvester/2022/01/31/americas-history-is-not-just-black-and-white-n2602621 

Sherry’s op-ed on the transgender attack on women’s rights, you can read it here: Women’s Rights & Trans Rights