Late Tuesday afternoon, some conservatives on Twitter started grumbling about an article the Washington Post published that morning. The op-ed in question accused best-selling conservative author J.D. Vance of being racist, and otherwise tried dubiously to connect the dots between mainstream pro-life advocates and white supremacists. At a speech in July, Vance said the following: “Our people aren’t having enough children to replace themselves. That should bother us.” Washington Post contributor Marissa Brostoff characterized the remark by saying, “Vance did not spell out exactly who was included in the word ‘our.’ He didn’t need to.” Her clear implication was that Vance was referring to the fact he only wanted to have white children. This would be news to Vance, since he’s married to a woman of color, and his best-selling “Hillbilly Elegy” – a movie version, directed by Oscar winner Ron Howard, is in post-production – is a very critical look at the mores of poor white Americans.
And Vance did, in fact, spell out exactly what his pronoun referred to. A couple of sentences earlier in his remarks, which Brostoff didn’t bother to read closely, he makes it clear he’s referring to all Americans. Low birth rates are a serious concern in Western countries for many reasons, including the need to sustain liberal welfare policies, which have nothing to do with racism.
The Post printed a correction after all this was pointed out, but that doesn’t answer the question of how it got published in the first place. Once upon a time, accusing people of racism was a serious matter. If you were going to do it in print, editors would demand it was sufficiently backed up by evidence. But if Brostoff is to be believed, “my editor suggested that Vance’s comments might be added to the list of evidence being marshaled” and “we both did our due diligence in putting them in context.” Perhaps it’s telling that this op-ed appeared in a section of the Washington Post’s website called “Post Everything,” a title that, based on many other ill-advised opinion pieces that have run under that heading, appears to have become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The whole point of journalism is that you don’t post everything – you make sure it’s fair and accurate first.
A few hours after the controversy over Brostoff’s article flared up, on Lawrence O’Donnell’s 10 p.m. MSNBC show he delivered a blockbuster report that a Russian oligarch co-signed loans Trump took out. O’Donnell apparently kept repeating “if true” in regard to the assertion throughout the segment.
And that’s just the beginning. Related: J.D. Vance just the latest right-thinker to be smeared by leftist lies.
If you want to understand the power of social media in weaponizing and accelerating the left’s attack on truth and decency, look no further than The Washington Post’s false accusation this week that J.D. Vance, author of the bestselling memoir “Hillbilly Elegy,” is a closet white supremacist.
This is the anatomy of a Twitter lynching, a good man’s reputation strung up and beaten to a pulp. In the impressionistic half-life of social media’s attention span, the damage can never really be undone.
Marissa Brostoff’s column trying to link the pro-life movement to white nationalism was stupid enough to have been rejected by a proper newspaper, but it is astonishing that the smear against Vance made it through any honest editing process.
Her thesis is that pro-life conservatives oppose abortion not because they believe every human life is sacred, but because they fear that abortion will accelerate the demographic “replacement” of white people by nonwhite immigrants.
It’s a stupid argument, considering black babies are aborted at five times the rate of white babies in America, as even the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute admits.
Brostoff arrives at the point only in her final paragraphs, in what amounts to a rhetorical drive-by shooting of Vance, whom she introduces as her sole example that white-supremacist ideas have become mainstream conservative thought.
She’s a lefty hack boosting a political agenda, without principles or morals. Or, in other words, a typical journalist today.