On Aug. 12, The New York Times published what The New York Times does best: a smear of conservatives in which they're attached to a national travesty. This time the headline was "How the El Paso Killer Echoed the Incendiary Words of Conservative Media Stars." The online article was illustrated with quotes from Rush Limbaugh, "Hannity," Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and Boris Epshteyn of the Sinclair TV stations.
In the newspaper, it was on page one, front and center under the shorter headline "How the El Paso Gunman Echoed the Words of Right-Wing Pundits." It is part of a series called "The New Nativists: A Shared Vocabulary."
The team of five reporters who wrote the article boasted, "An extensive New York Times review of popular right-wing media platforms found hundreds of examples of language, ideas and ideologies that overlapped with the mass killer's written statement -- a shared vocabulary of intolerance that stokes fears centered on immigrants of color."
They couldn't actually prove this conspiracy theory. "It remains unclear what, or who, ultimately shaped the views of the white, 21-year-old gunman, or whether he was aware of the media commentary," they wrote. But The Times energetically merged the two and called it "investigative journalism."
Reporter Jeremy Peters explained on Twitter that this story idea began with one of the newspaper editors asking about the "pervasiveness of language that dehumanizes and demonizes immigrants." The reporters never consider that on a daily basis -- including in this very piece -- their newspaper "dehumanizes and demonizes" conservatives.
The Times brigade was especially appalled by conservative media stars' using the term "invasion" to describe the influx at the southern border. Limbaugh explained that "invasion" describes the left's strategy to import new voters who don't share any particular affection for America's founding principles. "Invasion" is the correct word. It didn't matter to The Times that each month from March till June, we were faced with over 100,000 border apprehensions of immigrants surging into our country. Would Limbaugh be more politically correct if he were to categorize this more gently, perhaps as "increased travel"?
This is the kind of "news" story that the left has been uncorking for decades. Limbaugh was blunt: "It's been a constant attempt by the left since I started this program to discredit me, to impugn me. And their purpose has been to make sure I don't acquire an even larger audience."
Limbaugh has every right to be furious. When white supremacist Timothy McVeigh drove up to a federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995 and blew it up with an ammonium nitrate bomb, killing 168 people, the "news" media energetically connected it to the rhetoric of Limbaugh and the new Republican House Speaker, Newt Gingrich.
Then-Washington Post columnist David Broder complained that Limbaugh used the phrase "America held hostage" as a theme for his show, "as if the duly elected president and Congress were equivalent to the regime in Tehran." He added, "I think there will be less tolerance and fewer cheers for that kind of rhetoric."
Then-NBC host Bryant Gumbel said, "While no one's suggesting right-wing radio jocks approve of violence, the extent to which their approach fosters violence is being questioned by many observers," including then-President Clinton.
The liberal media are becoming increasingly more comfortable with impugning every reporter and commentator in conservative media as a poisonous instigator of violence. But don't you dare call Chris Cuomo "Fredo."
L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org.