Read this on Ann Coulter.
In the most bald-faced lie I have ever read in The New York Times — which is saying something — that paper implied Loughner is a pro-life zealot. This is the precise opposite of the truth.
Only because numerous other news outlets, including ABC News and The Associated Press, reported the exact same shocking incident in much greater detail — and with direct quotes — do we know that the Times’ rendition was complete bunk.
ABC News reported: “One Pima Community College student, who had a poetry class with Loughner later in his college career, said he would often act ‘wildly inappropriate.’
“‘One day (Loughner) started making comments about terrorism and laughing about killing the baby,’ classmate Don Coorough told ABC News, referring to a discussion about abortions. ‘The rest of us were looking at him in shock … I thought this young man was troubled.’
“Another classmate, Lydian Ali, recalled the incident as well.
“‘A girl had written a poem about an abortion. It was very emotional and she was teary eyed and he said something about strapping a bomb to the fetus and making a baby bomber,’ Ali said.”
Here’s the Times’ version: “After another student read a poem about getting an abortion, Mr. Loughner compared the young woman to a ‘terrorist for killing the baby.'”
So that’s how the Times transformed Loughner from a sicko laughing about a dead fetus to a deadly earnest pro-life fanatic. (Never believe a news story written by Eric Lipton, Charlie Savage or Scott Shane of The New York Times — or for simplicity, anything in the Times.)
It being Coulter, I checked myself.
She’s right – those quotes do appear where she says. They appear to be genuine. Here’s the full quote from The Times.
Don Coorough, 58, who sat two desks in front of Mr. Loughner in a poetry class last semester, described him as a “troubled young man” and “emotionally underdeveloped.” After another student read a poem about getting an abortion, Mr. Loughner compared the young woman to a “terrorist for killing the baby.”
“No one in that class would even sit next to him,” Mr. Coorough said. Another fellow student said that he found Mr. Loughner’s behavior so eccentric — including inappropriate remarks and unusual outbursts — that he wondered if he might be on hallucinogens. Mr. Loughner grew up in Tucson and was an unremarkable student at Mountain View High School, classmates said.
But the Times’ version is from another student. They haven’t taken one quote and reworded it. That was my initial impression of what Coulter was saying. I have no reason to believe the person quoted is quoted incorrectly.
Outside that, there are two possiblities.
1. He’s genuinly mistaken. He may have thought Loughner was making crazy statements all over the show. Or he may have heard “abortion” and “terrorist” and connected them in the most commonly used way.
2. He could be talking about another incident. Unlikely, but there’s nothing to say that never happened.
If we assume The Times is genuine in it’s quoting however, it really makes little difference. The guy either changed his extremist rhetoric like the weather, or he made a particularly sick statement about killing babies. Either way, the guy was more than a few screws loose.That’s clear from the quote regardless.
To me, the only question that remains is if the NYT quoted selectivly. I doubted that initially. Searching for a phrase from quote in the ABC story reveals only one news hit. Then I went to the NYT search and searched for “Lydian Ali”. Turns out, they quoted the guy for two paragraphs.
Lydian Ali, a classmate at Pima Community College, said, “He would laugh a lot at inappropriate times, and a lot of the comments he made had no relevance to the discussion topic.”
Mr. Ali, 26, continued: “He presented a poem to the class that he’d written called ‘Meathead’ that was mostly just about him going to the gym to work out. But it included a line about touching himself in the shower while thinking about girls. He was very enthusiastic when he read the poem out loud.”
So the truth is a bit complicated. It’s possible the NYT didn’t have the other quote, but highly unlikely. It seems to my eye that they picked the parts out that didn’t contradict the “crazy right wing christian” meme too badly.