Apparently, simply naming your sources qualifies as good journalism nowadays. This is at least true according to New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan in her blog post The Strange (and Welcome) Case of a Political Story With No Anonymity. The post is in reference to the Rand Paul hit piece by Sam Tanenhaus and Jim Rutenberg that I criticized yesterday for taking quotes by writers of the Mises Institute completely out of context. What I decried as something that “would cause a 6th grade student to fail a writing assignment” was praised by Sullivan as “example here worth following.”
There are a lot of inferences that the writers of the Mises Institute were supporters of the Confederacy and/or supported slavery (at least didn’t think it was all that bad). These are some pretty hefty accusations. You would think that these quotes would require some additional research if there were a political figure that was influenced by such an organization. Amazingly, we have the technology to quickly check the accuracy of such things.
But no, it’s good enough to simply say who the cherry picked quote is from. Erik Wemple of the Washington Post got in on the praise parade. He said, “Under the bylines of Sam Tanenhaus and Jim Rutenberg, the Times did a ton of reading with the hope of defining the ins and outs of the senator’s ideology.” And then he quoted the section of the article that brings up Lysander Spooner, an American philosopher and anarchist (heavens, an ANARCHIST?!).
The point of bringing Spooner into the picture is to tie Rand Paul to anarchism, which makes him appear as a nutty extremist. Who cares if Rand Paul agrees with something an anarchist said? I’m sure most people would agree with a lot of things Spooner said, but that doesn’t make all of those people anarchists. And being an anarchist doesn’t make you a crazy danger to society by the way. If you really want to find out if Rand Paul is an anarchist, ask some anarchists. Their answers would all be no.
“He obviously wanted to portray Rand Paul as a crazed “anarchist” who favored abolishing the government altogether (not that there’s anything wrong with that) since he kept asking me if Rand has ever read Lysander Spooner. I told him that it would not surprise me if Ron Paul had shared his education, including his readings of Spooner, with his children, but I had never met or communicated with Rand Paul. I also told him that if he listened to any of Ron’s speeches over the past 30 years, he would immediately learn that Ron is a limited-government constitutionalist, not an anarchist, and that in my opinion Rand Paul is a bit more of an interventionist than his father is. Neither is an anarchist, in other words. The “reporter” was obviously very disappointed with my responses and ignored them.”
I guess it is a good thing that Lysander Spooner is getting some attention in the mainstream media. We can learn a lot from him and my favorite thing about him was how he successfully competed against the US Post Office until they sued him out of business (only because it is illegal to compete with them).
Speaking of the mainstream media, where is Fox News on all of this? Aren’t they supposed to be fighting the liberal media bias and their lies? Why are they being so complacent? Just ten minutes of research would show how malicious this article by Tanenhaus and Rutenberg is. It’s so easy to show how they misconstrued and cherry picked quotes to push their agenda. It’s a slam dunk. Their silence shows where their allegiance actually is (not that I needed to be convinced of this).
They’re not ignoring us anymore. They’re bringing up people like Murray Rothbard, Lysander Spooner, and Walter Block, even if they make things up about them. People who would have no idea who these people are may decide to do their own research and start reading. If they have any sort of intellectual integrity, they’ll see what kind of hacks Tanenhaus and Rutenberg are. Word is getting out. And they’re scared.