New York Magazine’s “Science of Us” vertical admits that Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank’s Tuesday attack against the Heritage Foundation is riddled with inaccuracies but still insist he was right.
In a post titled “Real-Life Muslims Like Saba Ahmed Pose an Existential Threat to Hate Groups,” writer Jesse Singal goes even further than Milbank to attack Heritage panelist Brigitte Gabriel, of ACT! for America, as “unhinged” and suggests that ACT! is an anti-Muslim hate group. Singal then accuses another panelist, Frank Gaffney, of having a “long history of hateful rhetoric.”
Singal doesn’t make the mistake Milbank made; the NY Mag article isn’t filled with outright lies or out-of-context quotes. In order to avoid the Milbank Problem, Singal just hurls ad hominem attacks at Gabriel without providing a single fact or shred of evidence. Singal did post the video of the event but is obviously hoping readers won’t bother to sit through it.
It’s rather astonishing that New York Magazine would allow a post filled with name-calling and smears to be published without an editor demanding something to support the charges.
Moreover, what Singal describes as a “long history of hateful rhetoric” from Gaffney is supported with only a single link to the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center. But, surprise-surprise, the SPLC’s attack on Gaffney is also an ad hominem attack with no supporting evidence.
The only thing Singal gets right are the quotes from Milbank’s article, which has now been debunked even by left-wing outlets like Politico. Even Singal is forced to admit (in offhand parentheses) that Milbank published a gigantic whopper and lied through omission:
( … I think [Milbank’s] summary is fair, other than the fact that he should have mentioned that Gaffney answered Ahmed’s question first, and that Gabriel asked rather than “demanded” to know whether Ahmed was an American.)
Rather than condemn Milbank’s lying about and intentionally mischaracterizing the Heritage event, instead Singal wrist-flicks the lies in parentheses as though they don’t matter… then Singal doubles down on the smears with no supporting evidence.
Milbank’s criticism was that the panel attacked some poor Muslim student asking a perfectly innocent question. His false accusation was about a single act of bad behavior. Singal is screaming “hate group” and “unhinged.”
Like Milbank, though, Singal also lies through omission. Nowhere in the article does the author tell the readers one very important piece of information: That both Gaffney and Gabriel agreed with the questioner’s premise; that she was correct about most Muslims being peaceful.
Milbank also never mentioned this. The reason is simple: To give the reader that vital piece of context completely negates both Milbank’s and Singal’s assassination attempts.
Milbank and the Washington Post lie for one very simple reason… they can. As long as the target of their lies is the political right, outlets like New York Magazine will defend the behavior because the intentions behind the lies are honorable.
Milbank might be lying and making things up, but at least it’s for The Cause.