The Nation Posts a Narrow Apology. And Publishes Another Error.
(Reason) -- by Radley Balko --
Over the weekend, The Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel posted something that sort of resembled an apology for the whiff at investigative journalism Mark Ames and Yasha Levine attempted at the magazine's website last week. Ames and Levine, remember, wrote a meandering, conspiracy-mongering, wholly unsubstantiated article trying to link the anti-TSA backlash to the Koch family.* All the piece was missing was Glenn Beck's blackboard.
True contrition would have included apologizing to the The Nation's readers for the article's inexcusably shoddy journalism, to the many legitimately outraged activists and TSA victims that the article maligned as hired guns, and to the general public for providing a forum to an "everyone should spit on libertarians", "lets murder the people we disagree with" nut like Ames. Instead, vanden Heuvel delivered a heavily conditioned apology only to John Tyner, aka The Don't Touch My Junk Guy, while standing by the broader theme of the Ames/Levine smear. That theme, basically, is mindless D.C. tribalism.
The priorities on display here tell all. Both vanden Heuvel and Ames/Levine concede that the TSA's new policies are worrisome. But civil liberties violations and the encroaching security state take a backseat to a more important task: Smearing the people they're programmed to hate. It's very D.C. You stake out your position not by applying a consistent set of principles, but by making sure your position puts you in opposition to all the right people. (Kevin Drum of Mother Jones did the same thing, describing the TSA backlash as "catnip" for the right wing.)
Thing is, even if Ames/Levine had more convincingly (or at all convincingly) connected all the Koch conspiracy dots . . . so what? You'd think that the Kochs suddenly deciding to spend a bunch of money on the civil liberties side of libertarianism would be the sort of thing the The Nation would welcome. But that's assuming the The Nation is as concerned about protecting civil liberties as it is with protecting Barack Obama from criticism...MORE...LINK
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