The same blogs who busted The New Republic’s chops for its bang-up job on the Thomas Scott Beauchamp fiasco are now holding it up as a beacon of journalistic excellence.
How did this occur, almost overnight?
Three little words: dis Ron Paul.
DBKP tries to stay neutral in the whacked out world of Ron Paul zealots and Ron Paul haters. That’s hard enough, as both sides can see no middle ground on the Texas Congressman and Republican Presidential candidate.
Just weeks ago, most of the right Blogosphere raked TNR over the coals and laughed at its journalistic standards over Thomas Scott Beauchamp and his faux reporting in the Baghdad Diaries (as well as other past TNR trainwrecks involving Stephen Glass, Ruth Shalit, Lee Siegel and Spencer Ackerman).
Now, TNR reprints some years-old remarks from a newsletter that Ron Paul has repeatedly and pointedly denounced as “a newsletter… published under my name that I did not edit.”
Is this fair?
All’s fair in love, war and politics, they say.
Is it rehabilitated journalism from a publication not known for practicing it over the last several years?
It is if you abhor Ron Paul.
Some of the headlines from the Blogosphere show the same good journalistic practices as TNR. One wonders why this crew didn’t climb on TNR’s bandwagon during the Beauchamp affair?
A skeptical blogopshere held TNR’s feet to the fire then. But mention “Ron Paul” and “racism” in the same sentence and you’ve bought yourself a free pass in these very same precincts, apparently.
We saw these exact same quotes and charges months ago. After looking into it, we felt that it was a slur: the candidate explained in a statement his position on the issue and on the remarks in question.
Since it’s been known for candidates to spin when confronted with uncomfortable evidence, we looked at Paul’s other pronouncements over the years regarding free speech and racism, as well as his life-long principled commitment to Libertarianism.
We feel that a candidate should be judged on his actions, not words that were long ago disavowed as having been penned under his name and his distancing himself from the newsletter in question when it was brought to his attention.
By penning these words, we fully realize that nothing but vitriol awaits.
We don’t believe in Free Speech only when it’s convenient or fits a particular agenda.
We also don’t believe that TNR is much different today than it was a few months ago. Like the friend of a reformed drunk, we hope for the best for The New Republic, but we expect the worst.
This latest story confirms the wisdom of that approach.
As we’ve stated dozens of times, we agree with Ron Paul’s positions; we disagree with Ron Paul’s positions. Ho hum. That’s almost every candidate.
What has us scratching our heads is that normally shrewd and wise people abandon all judgment and discrimination when the words “Ron Paul” are mentioned.
That’s on both sides.
But right now, the anti-Paulians are our subject.
If the National Enquirer had run the John Edwards Love Child story (complete with facts, pictures, names, dates, etc.) under the headline, “John Edwards Love Child: Ron Paul Denies it Happened”, a certain portion of the blogosphere would have leapt on that story immediately.
John Edwards would never have gotten a chance to any other another question from these stalwarts.
Our opinion of this long-ago Ron Paul newsletter is the same as it was when we checked into it a few months ago.
Not credible with what we know.
Our opinion in that same time period of The New Republic’s high standards for truth and reporting haven’t changed either.
Unlike others of our blogging brethren.
In response to an article published by The New Republic, Ron Paul issued the following statement:
“The quotations in The New Republic article are not mine and do not represent what I believe or have ever believed. I have never uttered such words and denounce such small-minded thoughts.
“In fact, I have always agreed with Martin Luther King, Jr. that we should only be concerned with the content of a person’s character, not the color of their skin. As I stated on the floor of the U.S. House on April 20, 1999: ‘I rise in great respect for the courage and high ideals of Rosa Parks who stood steadfastly for the rights of individuals against unjust laws and oppressive governmental policies.’
“This story is old news and has been rehashed for over a decade. It’s once again being resurrected for obvious political reasons on the day of the New Hampshire primary.
“When I was out of Congress and practicing medicine full-time, a newsletter was published under my name that I did not edit. Several writers contributed to the product. For over a decade, I have publicly taken moral responsibility for not paying closer attention to what went out under my name.”
The New Republic article ended with this catchy sentence, “In short, they suggest that Ron Paul is not the plain-speaking antiwar activist his supporters believe they are backing–but rather a member in good standing of some of the oldest and ugliest traditions in American politics.”
It’s not sure if TNR meant the “dredging up of accusations made and answered, with a touch of liberal pontification, masquerading as hard-hitting, up-to-minute journalism”.
But it might have: that last sentence left the reader to make his own judgments.
I made mine.
TNR gambled that it could get back into the good graces of some readers and bloggers alike, who thought not so very long ago that it was a washed-up and broken down publication.
Right about now, looks like TNR gambled right.
* Ron Paul’s Statement on the New Republic and Old Newsletters
* Angry White Man
[DISCLAIMER: When writing this post, “we” is the royal “we”. This is my viewpoint at this early hour and mine only, as no others at DBKP could have been consulted. I speak for myself only at this point about this issue. I thought that should be clear.–Mondoreb]