Advancing a Free Society

A Reply to Daphne Eviatar

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I have a fair bit to say in response to Daphne Eviatar’s comments from earlier today concerning my post about yesterday’s New York Times editorial. Let me start with a brief comment about Daphne’s complaint about the derisive tone of my post.

I hope I come honestly by the frustration that my tone in that piece reflects. The Times has an incredibly important mouthpiece. Its editorials reach countless people every day. Yet in the areas that I write about for Lawfare, it has made–and I have documented on this blog–serial, often-comic errors of fact and law over a long period of time. These errors have not been on arguable points or matters of opinion. The paper has corrected none of them. I have never been contacted by a member of the editorial page staff to discuss the ones I have noted. Nor has the board ever sought to defend the factual accuracy of its statements publicly. The Times combines this cavalier attitude towards facts and law with a relentless stridency in denouncing those who don’t share its views–which, as I have also documented, can be extraordinarily hard to pin down. This is not the way to debate complex and difficult issues. It is a matter of personal sadness to me that the Times editorial page chooses to play the role of incoherent leftist gadfly, rather than to engage hard choices seriously from a liberal perspective. My derision, to put the matter simply, is well earned. Had the Times managed to state its case as honestly as Daphne has gamely stated the paper’s case for it in her post, I trust my tone would have been as respectful as I hope it is towards her argument–to which I will now turn.

Continue reading Benjamin Wittes at Lawfare