In the annals of American political narratives, few were worse and more malicious than the notion that a young Muslim jihadist decided to shoot up a gay nightclub in Orlando because of an alleged “climate of hate” created by American Christians.

This was no mere fringe view. Remember the astonishing piece by the New York Times editorial board on June 15, 2016 — published a mere three days after the attack? Here’s a taste:

“While the precise motivation for the rampage remains unclear, it is evident that Mr. Mateen was driven by hatred toward gays and lesbians. Hate crimes don’t happen in a vacuum. They occur where bigotry is allowed to fester, where minorities are vilified and where people are scapegoated for political gain. Tragically, this is the state of American politics, driven too often by Republican politicians who see prejudice as something to exploit, not extinguish.”