Jun 23, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 39 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
Two weeks ago, George Will wrote a column about how progressives have exaggerated the prevalence of rape on college campuses. The column was not well received by some or even, as a great many of the histrionic responses would indicate, well understood. Last week a press release landed in The Scrapbook’s inbox, headlined: “87,000 Call on The Washington Post to Address Sexism, Fire George Will.” A group called UltraViolet was touting the success of an online petition they’d whipped up over the controversy. From the release:
The Washington Post should take a stand against rape—starting by firing George Will, said Nita Chaudhary, co-founder of UltraViolet. “From mocking survivors to misleading the public on demands for college sexual assault reform and blaming women for violence against them—the Post has left the realm of honest debate and entered the realm of hate-speech and dog whistles.”
Perhaps needless to say, nothing in Will’s column was remotely outside the lines of civil discourse. Here’s a more interesting line of inquiry: Who is UltraViolet cofounder Nita Chaudhary, and why does she hate free speech? In 2004, she was a Democratic National Committee staffer. She is also a former campaign director at MoveOn.Org. While with MoveOn, Chaudhary aggressively defended the organization’s infamous “General Petraeus is likely to become General Betray Us” ad. What’s more, Chaudhary is the wife of Jesse Lee, the White House’s “Director of Progressive Media and Online Response.” In fact, Valerie Jarrett helped Lee propose to Chaudhary at a state dinner. In past administrations, positions such as the one held by Lee, charged with partisan media strategies and rapid response, were outsourced to the party organizations, so as not to politicize the presidency. Alas, this White House lacks that kind of respect for the office. Now Lee is paid to write blog posts on the White House website attacking “lies” from Fox News.
The crusade against Will did not stop with Chaudhary. The National Organization for Women is also calling for the Post to drop his column. And four Democratic senators—Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Dianne Feinstein of California, Robert Casey of Pennsylvania, and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut—signed a letter to Will accusing him of “treating [rape] as a socially acceptable phenomenon,” a borderline libelous characterization.
Does the broader progressive movement, which encompasses some of America’s most powerful leaders, no longer believe in free speech? We’re referring to actual free speech, not the increasingly common progressive view where you point out that the First Amendment pertains to government restraint of expressions so as to deflect criticism of your own Stalinist impulses. Real free speech implies a culture where we tolerate opinions that bother us, in the understanding that this will make us a freer, more thoughtful, and, yes, tolerant people.
Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt, thankfully, stood firm. “George Will’s column was well within the bounds of legitimate debate,” Hiatt told the left-wing activist group Media Matters for America. “Rather than urge me to silence a viewpoint they disagree with, I would urge others also to join the debate, and to do so without mischaracterizing the original column.”
The perpetual adulation of Herblock.Feb 10, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 21 • By ANDREW FERGUSON
Herblock: The Black & the White, a documentary about the editorial cartoonist Herbert Block, had its cable premiere on HBO last week, and we can expect repeated showings for many weeks to come, creating a low-buzz Herblockfest interspersed dizzily among re-airings of Girls.
1:51 PM, Jan 20, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
In this week's issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD, the boss writes that nothing about Hillary Clinton's candidacy, nomination, or election to the presidency in 2016 is inevitable. Here's an excerpt:
Dec 9, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 13 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
"If today’s extremist rhetoric sounds familiar, that’s because it is eerily, poignantly similar to the vitriol aimed squarely at John F. Kennedy during his presidency. And just like today, Texans were leading what some of them saw as a moral crusade. To find the very roots of the paranoid right of 2013, just go back to downtown Dallas in 1963, back to the months before the Kennedy assassination. It was where and when a deeply angry . . .” (Bill Minutaglio, Washington Post, November 21).
9:01 AM, Nov 3, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The Washington Post has done a thorough job of reporting on the creation of Obamacare. It is a tale of how political hubris prevailed over prudence, as summed up in a single quotation:
8:33 AM, Oct 29, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
With a week to go before election day, Virginia voters favor Democrat Terry McAuliffe for governor over Republican Ken Cuccinelli by more than 10 points, according to a new poll from the Washington Post. The survey found that 51 percent of likely voters support McAuliffe and just 39 percent support Cuccinelli. In addition, Libertarian party candidate Robert Sarvis pulls in 8 percent support.
3:07 PM, Oct 2, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
The Washington Post today printed President Obama's letter to all federal employees, which was sent yesterday. The printed version appears on B4 of the paper's Metro section, "The Federal Worker" page, and is titled, "President gives shutdown notice while praising public servants."
Sep 16, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 02 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
Readers will, we hope, forgive The Scrapbook for the undue pleasure we have taken in Washington Post stories about the impending sale of the Post to Amazon founder Jeffrey Bezos.
Jul 22, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 42 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
In just a few years, Washington Post wunderkind Ezra Klein has made himself the go-to journalist whenever the NPR-totebag set wants to understand a complicated policy issue. In particular, he’s established himself as arguably the leading health care pundit, thanks to his tireless efforts blogging and reporting. Far too many reporters, young and old, are lazy, and to Klein’s credit he works hard. Of course, if your job were to come up with explanations for why Obamacare is working, you too would end up busier than a beaver in a lake of espresso.
5:50 PM, May 17, 2013 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
The Washington Post editorial board is quite upset with “Republicans and conservative media obsessed” with the “phony” issue of the administration’s misleading public explanation of the nature of the attacks in Benghazi. In a lengthy editorial, the Post makes a haughtier and more condescending version of a complaint we’ve heard from others. So it’s worth a response.