Don’t cry for Kevin D. Williamson

Kevin D. Williamson has been fired from The Atlantic, so you’re about to see much handwringing from “serious” conservatives about a purge of right-wing viewpoints from mainstream media outlets.

This is absolute stool in a box on your doorstep.

It’s not Williamson’s party that got him in trouble. It’s his politics. And yes, there is a vast difference.

Let us count the names of conservative writers and broadcasters who are celebrated for their work by most members of the pundit class and newsrooms

Radley Balko

Max Boot

Connor Friedersdorf

David Frum

Michael Gerson

Lester Holt

Peggy Noonan

Dana Perino

Jennifer Rubin

Nichole Wallace

George Will

That’s a brief list off the top of my head. And it doesn’t include republicans who are straight news reporters.

The problem with Williamson, who believes that women who have abortions should face capital punishment, is that he’s not inside the norm of respectable politics.

One thing that most people who criticize the media won’t admit is that many pundits and reporters cross the political spectrum when it comes to policy. Take the Washington Post’s Elizabeth Breunig, for an example. She is ardently prolife, but left of Bernie Sanders on most other subjects.

The media, in general, is doesn’t fit into the comfortable party box that everyone wants it to. First of all, it is far more likely to call out corruption or point out oppression, which can put if at odds with either party. It is also incredibly pro business because business reporters, in general, rarely check their sources like political, crime and sports reporters do. (Real world example: business announces it is adding 75 jobs thanks to a tax break. A year later, the journalist who covered that announcement rarely goes back to check and see if 75 people were hired.)

Anyway, Williamson wasn’t fired because he was prolife. He was fired because he’s espousing capital punishment for women who seek abortions. If you don’t see the difference, you probably don’t understand the issue. But here’s something to clarify the issue: How many pro-life politicians espouse that belief? How many pro-life organizations do?

Conservatives will also bring up the recent firing of Quinn Norton. She had been hired by the New York Times until she admitted she was friends with Nazis. Here’s the deal, I have friends, people I grew up with or am related to, who have beliefs that disgust me to my core. I still communicate with those people. A big part of that is because I hope to help them see the error of their ways. But I’m not going to try to get people to sympathize with them as Norton did.

I’m not sure I’d have fired Norton, who herself isn’t a Nazi. I wouldn’t employ a Nazi.

Look, I fundamentally believe people can believe what they want. They have a right to be wrong. And those people should be reported on.

But the media has to be responsible with whom it gives the power to report and opine. There is a large segment of the population that believes climate change isn’t real or that the earth is flat. Those people can be covered, but outlets should not be handing them microphones and acting like they have authority. If George Will or E.J Dionne opine tomorrow that we should bring back slavery (and not satirically), the Washington Post should send them packing.

Like Williamson, they aren’t entitled to an audience.

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