John Daly, in an opinion piece published at BernardGoldberg.com, ranks the attempt to connect Sarah Palin to the Gabrielle Giffords shooting as one of the most egregious and "bone-headed media indictments of my lifetime":
Now, it’s lame enough when the media speculates on influences to murderers based on who authored the books that sat on their shelves at home, or who sang the songs they enjoyed listening to. But this was far more of a stretch. At the time the Palin connection was being suggested, the media knew practically nothing about the shooter. They had absolutely no idea of his political leanings. They had no idea if he even had access to the internet, let alone had ever visited the website of Palin’s political action committee.h/t: Conservatives 4 Palin
And despite the concept of targeting districts being used for decades by numerous political strategists (often accompanied with visual representations off cross-hairs, targets, and bulls-eyes), its metaphorical context was selectively disregarded by many in the mainstream media for the purpose of creating a link to Palin. In their well-documented disdain for the former Alaska governor, many despicably went ahead and suggested that she could have been some sort of spiritual accomplice to the shooter.
In the end of course, Loughner was found to be a complete nut-case who former friends actually described as a “liberal” who regularly welled up in anger at the sight of George W. Bush. His longstanding, dangerous fixation on Congresswoman Giffords predated the Tea Party and Sarah Palin’s introduction onto the national scene. Palin was of no influence on him, nor was any coherent political ideology.
One would have thought that the revelation would have put to rest the reckless and politically-motivated media assault on Palin, but as we’ve found out over the last two weeks, it didn’t.