Did David Axelrod participate in discussions of who to kill? Did President Obama personally add names to a “kill list?”
According to many outlets, yes. Those outlets would reference the New York Times as their source, but according to The New York Times, they never said any of it.
In fact, in the Times article reported that Mr. Axelrod had attended some Tuesday counterterrorism meetings in the White House Situation Room in the aftermath of the failed bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day in 2009. It did not say that Mr. Axelrod had participated in discussions of which terrorists should be placed on the so-called kill list. But that assertion was falsely attributed to The Times article by The Weekly Standard and other conservative media outlets.
On the left, too, there were thousands of posts with inaccurate claims about what The Times had reported. Many picked up what a blogger for the conspiracy-minded PrisonPlanet wrote on the day the article appeared: that The Times had said Mr. Obama had placed several Americans and a 17-year-old girl, all with alleged links to the branch of Al Qaeda in Yemen, on the kill list. What the article actually said was that Mr. Obama was shown an intelligence document at a Tuesday counterterrorism meeting in January 2010 with the names and photographs of the Qaeda suspects, including some Americans and a 17-year-old girl. The article said Mr. Obama knew that he might be asked to add such terrorism suspects to the kill list — but it did not say he had been asked to do so in this case. Nor did it say that he had done so.
Referring to a list of potential terrorist targets assembled by the intelligence community as a “kill list” is hyperbolic in itself and is clearly intended to evoke dystopic images in readers’ heads. Going a step further and calling the president a “murderer” or implying that he has personally chosen people to be on the list is grossly irresponsible and misleading, among other things.
And that’s before you consider the fact that they all got it wrong.
What really happened is a chain of outlets staffed by hipsters seeking greater hipster-cred, on the far-left and far-right, all quoted each other in a circle jerk game of “who can write the most hyperbolic shit?” And the winner of this game wins nothing other than embarrassment.
Bob was right to call it a “conspiracy nexus” because that’s exactly what this is, and at some point in this nexus the far-left and far-right meet each other face to face and, instead of disagreeing, shake each other’s hands as they express their common distrust of The Man.
Needless to say, these opinions are my own. I won’t be quoting Alex Jones’s Prison Planet.