Now the DHS tells us that there was no DHS memo tying Jared Loughner to Jared Taylor. Great work, Fox! Or is this new story a plant as well?

Greg Sargent of the Washington Post reported yesterday (via Daniel Foster at the Corner):

Official: DHS has not determined any possible ties between Arizona shooter and right wing group

For the last 24 hours, the Web has been alive with speculation that the Arizona shooter has some sort of ties to a right-wing group called American Renaissance. The primary source for this claim is a Fox News report from yesterday saying that law enforcement had made this determination based on information provided by the Department of Homeland Security.

But a DHS official tells me that the department has not established any such possibility, undercutting what appears to be the primary basis for this claim.

Fox News’s report yesterday initially claimed that a DHS memo had outlined the possible connection, and defined American Renaissance as a “pro-white racist organization” that Jared Loughner “mentioned in some of his internet postings.” Fox later walked back the report a bit, sourcing the claim to “a law enforcement memo based on information provided by DHS.”

The Fox report caused a splash, with some news orgs reporting that anonymous officials had confirmed such possible ties. Some conservatives railed at DHS for supposedly trying to tie the shooter to the right for political reasons, and others disputed the suggestion that this displayed the shooter’s ideological leanings.

But DHS has not officially provided any such information to any law enforcement officials, the DHS official says.

“We have not established any such possible link,” the official says.

The official cautions it’s conceivable that a law enforcement official got unofficial info from a DHS official somewhere along the lines of what Fox reported. But he emphasizes that DHS has not even concluded in any official way that even the possibility of such ties exists. The official adds that it wouldn’t be DHS’s place to reach any such conclusion in the first place, since the FBI is leading the investigation.

Spokespeople for Fox didn’t immediately return an email for comment. For now, however, it looks like this could further complicate efforts to pin down the shooter’s beliefs. [LA replies: Meaning that Sargent still wants to connect Loughner to conservatives.]

[end of Greg Sargent article]

Think of how much power major news organs have, how with a single short article they can set the whole country believing something, obsessing on something; and think of how they abuse that power, whether through ideology, greed, or sheer indifference to the truth. Fox ought to lose its broadcasting license for having published this false story, or be fined millions.

But wait, let’s not jump to conclusions. This new story by Sargent also raises questions. Didn’t Fox News directly quote passages from the supposed memo? (For example, see the Christian Science Monitor’s careful article, which quotes several of Fox News’s quotes from the memo.) Where did those passages come from? Did Fox make them up? Or was there a DHS memo after all, and the DHS is deeply embarrassed by it, and now the Washington Post is helping the DHS pretend that the memo never existed?

Someone once said that the U.S. has become an ideological state, in much the same sense, though not in as extreme and comprehensive a sense, that the Soviet Union was an ideological state. Clearly that is true, with the government, the news media, schools, law enforcement officials, the military, all more or less colluding to make the citizenry believe the approved line. In this once-free country we are learning, to our horror, what it is like to live in an ideological state, where all the existing powers are manipulating us, and it is almost impossible to get at the truth.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 11, 2011 07:53 PM | Send

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