Jared Taylor writes: The 48 hours after Fox News began to report that my magazine, American Renaissance, was associated with the murderer Jared Loughner were very lively. Politico.com carried a number of articles about these false accusations, so I decided to send their Opinion Editor an account of just how lively they were. The results have been edifying:
Wednesday, Jan. 12, 3:58 p.m. I send my piece by e-mail. I turn off the computer about 11:00 p.m.
Thursday, 12:27 a.m. Miss Silver sends me an edited version, asking for a one-sentence description of American Renaissance. She ends the message with "Thanks again for this swell piece!"
Thursday, 11:00 a.m. I get to my e-mail later than usual. At 11:20 a.m. I write to Miss Silver to tell her the edits are fine, and I send her the sentence she asked for: "My magazine takes a conservative position on race and immigration and argues that diversity of the kind we are supposed to be celebrating is a weakness for the country, not a strength."
Thursday, 11:57 a.m. She writes back with one line: "Got it, thanks!"
Thursday, 2:19 p.m. She writes: "There has been too much of a time lag on this one. So we are not going to be able to use it now."
We really do live in fast-moving times, don't we? A story can go from "fascinating" and "swell" to stale news in less than 12 hours. Or even from "Got it, thanks!" to stale news in a little over an hour.
VDARE.com has kindly agreed to publish this stale story.
Last Saturday, like most people, I went to bed shocked at the news that someone had tried to kill a congresswoman and had murdered six other people. The next morning at about 9:00 a.m. I got a call from CNN, asking what my publication, American Renaissance (AR), had to do with the carnage.
I nearly fell out of my chair. CNN said that Fox News was quoting a Department of Homeland Security memo saying it had a "strong suspicion" that AR—described as "anti-government" and "anti-Semitic"—was linked to the killer, now identified as Jared Loughner. [Arizona Suspected Gunman Had 'Troubled Past,' But Mostly Flew Under Radar, by Jana Winter, Foxnews.com January 9, 2011.]
They say there is no such thing as bad publicity. But I draw the line at being thought to have influenced a mass murderer.
I immediately went through AR's records and found no trace of anyone named Loughner as a subscriber, donor, or even commenter on our web page. I needed to tell Fox this, but I had no contacts. I went to their website and sent a "stop-the-presses" message to every address of every official and correspondent I could find. I called the telephone number on the page, but it seemed to be a help line for people getting bad reception. I left a frantic message anyway.
I then fielded phone calls. The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, various bloggers, and an Australian radio station (!) wanted me to tell them all about this crazed killer. I told them I had never heard of him.
Finally, after several other Fox correspondents had already spread the word about the AR-mass murderer connection, James Rosen of Fox finally called.
He wasn't even replying to my desperate e-mail messages. Bless his heart, he was thinking like a reporter and had decided to call the notorious American Renaissance himself.
So, after Bret Baier, Jennifer Griffin, and Greta Van Susteren had calmly told the world that AR was under "strong suspicion", Rosen went on the air at 11:00 a.m. and quoted me as calling the DHS memo "complete nonsense."[American Renaissance Denies DHS Charges, Any Affiliation With Shooter, by Patrick Summers, January 09, 2011].
Over the next few days, both Fox and DHS started backing away from the memo, which ceased to be a DHS memo but a local law enforcement document put together with information from DHS.
But the damage had been done. The Internet was howling. There was a chorus of lefty blogs claiming this was proof of the "climate of political vitriol" we have heard so much about. The Jewish Telegraph Agency fretted that if "anti-Semites" were pulling the strings, it meant Congresswoman Giffords was shot because she was Jewish. [Memo notes Giffords' Judaism in motives of alleged attacker, JTA, January 11, 2011]
Expert hate-sniffers were trotted out, who explained that although American Renaissance is guilty of various varieties of wickedness, anti-Semitism isn't one of them, and a connection to murderers was awfully unlikely.
But like so many errors that make much racier news than the hum-drum facts, this one went around the world. The London Daily Mail ran a big headline about the "fanatical pro-white magazine" American Renaissance.
And so the hate e-mail began to pour in. Most of it we deleted unread, and a shocking amount of what we did read was unprintable. Some of the milder lines were "Kudos on teaching Jared Loughner how to hate" and "You must be popping your Champaign [sic] corks that a Democrat was killed." Early on Monday morning we got a voice-mail bomb threat: "Evacuate the office! Evacuate the office!"! My wife kept expecting a SWAT team to show up at the front door. I had a hard time explaining any of this to my 8-year-old daughter.
By Tuesday, sanity was returning. Politico.com ran a great story that went a long way towards clearing the air. The "memo", which originated in the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center (ACTIC) rather than DHS, was just an internal e-mail from a low-level guy to his superior. It was full of errors, hastily written right after the shootings, and not intended for outside dissemination. Fox is mum on how it got hold of it.
David Denlinger, the head of Arizona's ACTIC [Email them] telephoned me on Tuesday to say he is trying to find out what happened. He won't say who wrote the e-mail, and he still doesn't know how anyone could have connected Jared Loughner to Jared Taylor.
But I have a theory. When reporters asked me what could possibly have led anyone to associate the killer with me I would joke that it must have been because the crack sleuths at DHS noticed we have the same first name.
That may not be completely crazy after all. The ACTIC e-mail says Loughner was linked to us "through videos posted on his myspace and YouTube accounts". Before Loughner became famous, you could reportedly find his goofy clips on YouTube. Maybe right after the shooting, the ACTIC guy who wrote the e-mail typed in Jared Loughner's name and got—along with Loughner's ravings—some computer-generated suggestions of other clips to watch, including some of mine.
Jared isn't that common a name; it's just the sort of coincidence computer algorithms look for. In the mad scramble after the shooting, maybe that was all ACTIC needed to start baying for blood.
How it then turned us into anti-Semitic, anti-government loonies is still a deep mystery. Maybe ACTICs Denlinger will tell me some day.
In the meantime, the hate mail is tailing off and my wife figures the SWAT team must have read the Politico article and has decided not to come.
Jared Taylor (email him) is editor of American Renaissance and the author of Paved With Good Intentions: The Failure of Race Relations in Contemporary America. (For Peter Brimelow's review, click here.) The long-awaited sequel, White Identity: Racial Consciousness In The 21st Century, will be published this year.