Jared Loughner, the suspect arrested in Saturday's shooting death of a federal judge and critical wounding of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Arizona), is no right-winger and certainly not a military veteran.
All the same, Newsweek published an article today suggesting that Loughner's deadly rampage on Saturday was the consequence of conservative politicians dismissing the warnings of a Homeland Security report from 2009 warning about "lone wolf" attacks by right-wingers, particularly those who are armed forces veterans.
In "The Missed Warning Signs," Aaron Mehta, a reporter for the Center for Public Integrity, sought to lay the blame for the shooting at the feet of Rep. John Boehner and other conservatives.
First, the article does not "lay the blame for the shooting at the feet of Rep. John Boehner and other conservatives"; it re-examined the controversy over the DHS report in light of the shootings. At no point does Mehta call Loughner a "right-wing extremist," and he states that DHS "have not established any such possible link" between Loughner and right-wing extremism.
Second, Shepherd presumably had to fight off the MRC kneejerk urge to dismiss the CPI as liberal, made even more implausible by the fact that it's now run by John Solomon, former editor of the conservative Washington Times.
Then, after quoting Mehta stating that the DHS report "was overwhelmingly criticized by conservative commentators and lawmakers, who derided it as political propaganda from the Obama administration. Some experts worry that its findings were ignored due to political blowback," Shepherd writes: "The political blowback centered on findings in the report that some military veterans were likely to radicalize and be lone-wolf terrorists."
In fact, conservatives used the report as a cudgel to advance paranoia against the Obama administration, deliberately misconstruing to claim, in the words of one Fox News host, that the administration "basically is labeling anyone who disagrees with the agenda of the administration should be watched by the law enforcement agencies in this country, because they could be possible domestic terrorists."
Further, Shepherd failed to concede that the DHS report cited an FBI report authored during the Bush administration as as evidence that "some returning military veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have joined extremist groups."
Shepherd huffed that Mehta suggested that "it's Republicans like Boehner and conservative bloggers like Michelle Malkin who are to blame for pooh-poohing a real threat." But Shepherd doesn't disprove the notion.