Transgender Activism Ethics Train Wreck Incident Report: Michelle Goldberg’s Unethical Op-Ed

Goldberg op-ed

One of the unexpected benefits of the weekly Ethics Alarms Open Forum is that participants sometimes focus my attention on something important that I otherwise would have missed.

In yesterday’s forum, johnberger2013 raided the matter of Michelle Goldberg’s op-ed that appeared on the New York Times site,called, in a starburst of irony, ““The Right’s Big Lie About a Sexual Assault in Virginia.”

It is ironic because there is no “big lie,” but Goldberg’s op-ed is entirely spin, distortion and misdirection in the pursuit of a deceitful narrative designed to confuse the intellectually flabby and soothe those already biased like Goldberg. Her op-ed turned up in my print Times this morning: I never would have read it without the forum thread alerting me. Goldberg is as unethical and dishonest as the more famous Times op-ed demagogues like Krugman and Blow, but not as intelligent as either. For me, reading her woke blatherings is as enticing as reading “Nancy” in the comic section when I was over the age of 10.

The only way someone as unqualified as Goldberg could acquire her current platform is that she reliably expresses the Times party line. Now, if I were an editor, it would bother me that her thinking is so shaky and her persuasiveness is so weak that her only use is preaching to the choir, and only the dumber members at that. But this isn’t my problem, though it does reveal how far the New York Times has fallen.

Her topic is the rape of one student by another at a high school in Loudoun County, Virginia, which gained national prominence because the fury of the victim’s father at the school’s response (a cover-up, among other things) resulted in his arrest. This was, coincidentally <cough>just a few days before the school board association asked the Biden administration to protect them from “domestic terrorists,” aka outraged parents who object to school policies and curriculum choices that they see as inappropriate. Attorney General Merrick Garland dutifully responded with a memo that could be used in a law school course as an example of how the government can chill free speech.

Goldberg’s thesis is laid out on a cut line in my print version: “An attack in a school bathroom had nothing to do with trans issues.” That is, beyond question, on the facts, a lie, yet the Times printed it. The only question is whether Hanlon’s Razor applies: is Goldberg intentionally lying, or is she stupid enough to believe it? Tough call.


1. The girl was raped by a student with the equipment to rape her who was in the girls bathroom. The objection to woke pro-transgender school bathroom policies is that students with male parts will be allowed in the bathrooms where female students seek privacy and safety. The rape is an example of the kind of incident such critics fear.

2. The motive for the sexual assault, which Goldberg and other gaslighters seem to think changes everything, is 100% irrelevant to the “don’t let students with penises enter the girls bathroom.” It doesn’t matter whether such a student is doing this because he “identifies” as a girl, or because, as in this case apparently, the girl asked to meet him there. Penis was in girls room where it doesn’t belong. Girl ended up assaulted. Fact.

3. Goldberg writes, “The boy was indeed wearing a skirt, but that skirt didn’t authorize him to use the girls’ bathroom. As Amanda Terkel reported in HuffPost, the school district’s trans-inclusive bathroom policies were approved only in August, more than two months after the assault.” That’s worse! It also explains why the victim’s dad went ballistic. Wait: a kid with a cock (and wearing a skirt) rapes a girl in a girls bathroom, and THEN the school board passes a policy that would allow future students with cocks and skirts to use the bathroom? Goldberg writes, “This was not, said Biberaj, someone ‘identifying as transgender and going into the girls’ bathroom under the guise of that.’” No, but now it would be! How can Goldberg say the episode has “nothing” to do with trans issues? That’s a rhetorical question: she can do it because bias makes you stupid, and Goldberg was stupid to begin with.

4. Goldberg also manages to skirt (pun intended) the rather important matter of the school covering up the incident, and the superintendent of schools, Scott Ziegler, lying about it. This has everything to do with trans issues: sexual assaults in bathrooms are among the risks that parents opposing trans-pandering bathroom policies want to avoid. A sexual assault in a girls room supports those critics regardless of the details—again, the only detail that matters is “penis in the girl bathroom”—regardless of the motive, even if the rapist wasn’t wearing a skirt. And that’s probably one of the reasons Ziegler lied: the extremist progressives on the Loudoun School Board were determined to have a pro-trans bathroom policy. They knew this incident, whatever the details, would give ammunition to its critics. Thus they tried to cover up a rape by a guy in a skirt.

I have to note here that Ann Althouse, who also wrote about Goldberg’s op-ed yesterday, either wasn’t paying attention or isn’t as smart as I thought she was.”People were making assumptions that nudged this case into serving as a great example of something they were worried about — that males would fake transgender status to victimize women and girls in bathrooms,” she writes. What assumptions? Again: critics of progressive trans bathroom policies are concerned that students with dicks might sexually assault girls in those bathrooms. A student with a dick in fact did assault a girl in a bathroom, and the fact that he was wearing a skirt was relevant, even if that wasn’t why he was there. Under the policy subsequently passed in that school, it could be the reason he was there. The critics want to keep penises out of girls’ bathrooms. The rape shows why.

Try to keep up, Ann.

Goldberg ends her trash with this: “A sad and complicated truth is probably no match for an exquisitely useful lie.” She obviously hopes so.

7 thoughts on “Transgender Activism Ethics Train Wreck Incident Report: Michelle Goldberg’s Unethical Op-Ed

  1. Is Goldberg justifying this episode based on the actions of the victim? I guess that victim blaming is ok if it is furthering a leftist argument.

  2. To say nothing of the fact that both teens knew each other and had allegedly engaged in sexual behavior in the bathroom before is being used as an excuse to rationalize a “Nothing to see here” response. As if, all of a sudden, being or having been in a relationship with someone automatically means that consent is always implied.

  3. I think part of why the NYT has attacked it and are happy to dismiss it, is because it was a story broke by the Daily Wire. Which, I think, is attempting to rise to legitimate journalism, while NYT seems to want to sink to tabloids. Ie Daily Wire is a growing threat to “mainstream media”.

  4. “A sad and complicated truth is probably no match for an exquisitely useful lie.”

    Hell, I thought this was the legacy media’s mantra these days!

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