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Journalistic Shame at The Atlantic

Keith Higgons

Posted on April 21, 2018 10:32

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Liberal stalwart The Atlantic pathetically dismissed conservative journalist Kevin D. Williamson and he responded.

In a recent Wall Street Journal essay, journalist Kevin D. Williamson gives thoughtful insight (paywall) into what happened regarding his recent ouster from The Atlantic.

Former National Review writer Williamson was hired by The Atlantic sometime in March. He then published his first article “The Passing of the Libertarian Moment” (a benign piece) on April 2.

He was terminated April 5.

My first job washing dishes in high school lasted longer than that.

The fact that liberals would immediately decry the hiring of conservative Williamson was not lost on him as he expressed his concern to Atlantic editor in chief, Jeffery Goldberg (he bizarrely points out as Jewish, which isn’t germane), who assured him that The Atlantic was not “… high church for the liberals.”

While my personal pro-choice beliefs contradict Williamson’s pro-life, anti-death penalty views -- that seems more intellectually rational (depending on your beliefs) to me than the typical pro-life, pro-death penalty conservative mindset -- it was this pro-life belief that led to his termination.

Specifically, a tweet addressing a pro-choice (he uses the inflammatory “pro-abortion”, which is absurd, no one is “pro-abortion”) quip that pro-lifers should not be taken seriously unless they are willing to imprison women who have an abortion for murder. Which is, as he states and I agree, a “silly argument." If we keep that silly argument in mind, his response of “I have hanging more in mind” is equally as silly.

He admits to the comment as being “trollish and hostile” and let’s add boorish and unfunny, but hardly criminal and not worthy of further discussion. But that is not the time we live in anymore.

Folks, it’s social media, it’s Twitter, and these things are NOT journalism and they shouldn’t be considered as such.

Media? Yes.  Journalism? NO.

Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Medium, etc. are primarily vessels for people to espouse their personal beliefs. And if they are in poor taste or silly, so what? I may find posting personal beliefs or responding to trolls on social media brainless, but it’s not typically criminal or journalistically negligent. And certainly not in Williamson’s case.

Social media platforms are, and should remain, beacons of the first amendment (which makes it ironic that President Trump uses Twitter as his preferred communication platform yet seems hell bent on reversing net neutrality and restricting journalism and media ... perhaps an argument for another time).

When media bends to the will of the bloviating and “rage filled” social media, it runs the risk of impacting newsrooms. That’s something we should be afraid of, very afraid. Corporations have enough influence.

I am probably personally and politically in opposition to Kevin D. Williamson but on this we would agree: his termination from The Atlantic was both pathetic and shameful.

At least Williamson is taking the high road and rising above the fray “There isn’t much that can be done about this other than treating social media with the low regard it deserves.”

Take heed.

Keith Higgons

Posted on April 21, 2018 10:32

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Kevin D. Williamson, a columnist The Atlantic had hired late last month, wrote in a Twitter exchange and said on a podcast...

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