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.