Leave it to The New York Times to spread a conspiracy theory that the release of Lee Zeldin’s attacker on no bail was a “ploy” to boost the candidate’s “anti-crime” message, even resorting to a Trumpian some-people-are-saying frame to push it since the paper’s own reporters found nothing to back it up.
“How Did a Man Accused of Attacking Lee Zeldin Go Free Without Bail?” screamed the Times main headline on a story posted Wednesday near the top of its New York page. The decision “was seen by some Democrats” as a ploy to fuel Zeldin’s “anti-crime campaign” as he runs for governor, the subhead suggested.
Some Democrats? The story cites just two: Assemblyman Demond Meeks (Rochester) was surprised Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley filed only a charge of second-degree attempted assault, which isn’t bail-eligible, given her reputation as “aggressive.” That was “definitely a political ploy,” Meeks asserted.
Assemblyman Charles Lavine (Glen Cove) also questioned the charge but was less sure of the motive. Was it drafted in a way to allow Zeldin to complain about the bail laws? “That I don’t know,” said Lavine.
The Gray Lady further claimed “many” Dems “seized” on Zeldin’s ties to Doorley, whom his website had listed on as a campaign co-chair, and on the fact that the sheriff who filed the charge was a “vocal opponent” of New York’s bail law — yet it provided no names of these “many” Democrats, beyond Meeks’ and Lavine’s.
You have to read down, well past all the ludicrous suggestions of a plot to bolster Zeldin’s message, to see the paragraphs debunking the idea: “No evidence has emerged” to back the theory, the paper admits.
Doorley had nothing to do with filing the charges, and neither did that sheriff. Rather, an investigator — who never talked to the sheriff or Doorley before determining the charges (and didn’t even know who Zeldin was) — made the call.
Plus, “several” defense attorneys and prosecutors say the charge was reasonable. Oh, and Doorley distanced herself from Zeldin’s campaign back in April and is now recusing herself from this case.
Look: Zeldin doesn’t need a preposterous scheme to back his call for fixes to the disastrous bail laws. The Post (and even other outlets) offer horrifying real examples of dangerous suspects set free almost daily. This week’s poster boy: a 16-year-old who attacked a cop and was released on no bail, even though he’d been freed on no bail for a gun charge in April and again for robbery just days before the assault.
This reeks of some Times editor(s) ordering up a hit — and insisting on running a story to push the charge even after the reporters failed to gin up anything more than idle speculation. It’s pure clickbait for the paper’s lefty readership.
Rather than question the motives of those who filed charges against Zeldin’s attacker, readers should question the motives of the Times.