Political reporter—not humorist, not feature-writer, but reporter—David Farenthold of the Washington Post wrote a long feature (it is a hit piece, disguised) called “81 Things Mike Huckabee has denounced.” It doesn’t matter to me which politician this kind of junk is written to trash: Huckabee’s as deserving a target as anyone. On my rapidly growing list of candidates I would take a hacksaw to my neck before voting for, he is filed somewhere among Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal and The Donald. Farenthold’s article itself would be unethical if it was written about The Green River Killer. It is in that horrible abuse of journalism category known here as “Making Readers Dumber and Less Ethically Astute Than They Already Are.
Here are the 29 reasons why I am denouncing “81 Things Mike Huckabee has denounced.”
Reasons #1-7 It is dishonest.
It’s pretty obvious what the post is about, but the author doesn’t have the guts or the honesty to admit it. The real title should be, “Mike Huckabee opposes gay marriage, so it’s okay for me to trash him about everything I can think of whether it’s fair or not.” After correctly noting in his reasons 3 (“Same-sex marriage”) and 4. (“The Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.”) that Huckabee is not a fan of gay marriages, Farenthold also devotes 68 though 79, plus 81, on his list of his “things” directly to this, and in deceitful fashion places the last 13 of them at the end of his list. Many are misleading in the context of his stated purpose, giving me seven reasons to denounce his list:
- #68. claims that Huckabee “denounced” “Homosexuality, in general” when he referred to it as “a sin” 41 years ago in a Baptist newspaper advice column. That’s not a denunciation. To a Baptist, that’s a statement of fact. (Reason #1 )
- In #70, Farenthold says that Huckabee denounced “Homosexuality, in general” is this quote: “I’ve had people who are gay that worked on my staff. It’s not like I’m some homophobe. If you ask me is it the normal pathway? I don’t think so.” “I don’t think homosexuality is a normal pathway” is a “denunciation”? No, it’s an opinion, and not even an inflammatory one. Gays comprise less than 10% of the population: that alone is sufficient to justify “not normal.” (Reason #1)
- In #71. Farenthold accuses the Republican of “denouncing” gay parents by saying, “The children…really cannot, get critical early-life lessons in how a heterosexual family functions successfully.” OK, maybe, and so what? And adopted boys raised by a lesbian couple can’t get critical early-life lessons in how to use a urinal. (Reason #3 )
- For his 72nd item, Farenthold calls this statement…
“Of the seventy-three sex scenes shown that week…two involved male homosexual couples.”
…a denunciation of “Same-sex couples in TV shows.” Pointing out a statistic is now “denunciation”? (Reason #4)
- #74 alleges that “It actually became easier to get out of a marriage than to get out of a contract for the purchase of a used car!” is a denunciation of “Allowing heterosexual couples an easy path to divorce. ” In fact, he was talking about divorces generally, in a book about strengthening families, marriage, and commitment. (Reason #5)
- The stretching gets absurd in #75. Huckabee declared that citizens should engage in civil disobedience after the Supreme Court’s decision declaring same sex marriage a right. He did not, in any way, denounce “States allowing same-sex couples to marry, after the Supreme Court said they could.” He said that he would do something else. (Reason #6 )
- For his last “denunciation,” the Post’s Congressional beat reporter cites this question—“Do you want a president who follows? Or do you want a president who leads?” as one encompassing “President Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, for changing their minds and embracing same-sex marriage.”I could make this one about three reasons for an ethical denunciation , so dishonest is it, but I’ll be kind. Farenthold is spinning. Everyone in D.C., and most out of it, know that both Clinton and Obama based their public views on gay marriage on the polls and the opinions of the Democratic base, and didn’t have sudden epiphanies. Huckabee was quite accurately and fairly criticizing political cowardice and a lack of integrity on the parts of both Democrats, not the fact that they “changed their minds.” Just because a political reporter is playing in the sandbox of the Post “Style” section doesn’t mean that his blatant display of partisan bias is any less disturbing, or that it implicates his trustworthiness as a journalist any less. (Reason #7 )
We get it, Dave. You really, really dislike politicians who don’t support gay marriage and believe it should not be made a right. You could make that point legitimately rather than grossly mischaracterizing the nature of the arguments of one of them who disagrees with you. Continue reading