Mary Katharine Ham's dishonest omission

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

In a follow-up to The Daily Caller's non-scoop about liberal journalists coordinating on an open letter (how does the Caller expect joint open letters to come about? Spontaneously, by magic?) The Weekly Standard's Mary Katharine Ham claims the article proves that "the left's incessant cries of 'racism' have become largely a cynical political ploy." But Ham's argument is spectacularly dishonest.

Ham quotes the Daily Caller revealing that "In one instance, Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independent urged his colleagues to deflect attention from Obama's relationship with Wright by changing the subject. Pick one of Obama's conservative critics, Ackerman wrote, 'Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists.'"

Ham then writes:

What better to paper over the cynicism and contradictions of the Democrats' candidate than some good, old-fashioned, crude shouts of "racist"?

Liberals do it because it works. In a standard that works rather conveniently for liberals, and has been embraced by much of the media during the post-Obama Tea Party era, white conservatives and their allies are considered racists for merely being white conservatives. No video evidence is necessary to condemn, and no number of repuditations is sufficient to clear conservatives of this taint.

Ham, in other words, portrays Ackerman as having argued for baseless allegations of racism against conservatives he knows aren't racist. But in order to do so, she had to omit a key part of the Daily Caller article, which acknowledged: "Ackerman did allow there were some Republicans who weren't racists. 'We'll know who doesn't deserve this treatment — Ross Douthat, for instance — but the others need to get it.'"

So, according to the Daily Caller article Ham cites, Ackerman explicitly said that conservatives who don't deserve to be called racists shouldn't be called racists. But Ham omitted that fact from her post, and instead portrayed Ackerman as having advocated the "cynical political ploy" of baselessly accusing non-racists of racism.

Again: Spectacularly dishonest.

UPDATE: Josh Trevino defends Ham, claiming: "Douthat wasn't exempted for non-racism, but for irrelevance." Nice try, Josh, but that's completely false according to The Daily Caller report Ham cited. Here's The Daily Caller:

Ackerman did allow there were some Republicans who weren't racists. "We'll know who doesn't deserve this treatment — Ross Douthat, for instance — but the others need to get it."

That absolutely does not say Douthat was exempted for "irrelevance." It quite clearly says Douthat was exempted for "non-racism." Like I said: Nice try, Josh.

UPDATE 2: Trevino further argues that the "lack of hard evidence" that Fred Barnes is a racist proves Ham's point, and disproves mine. This displays a stunning lack of reading comprehension, or stunning lack of honesty. I'm not sure which.

Anyway, here's why the question of whether Fred Barnes is racist is totally irrelevant to Ham's point and my refutation of it: Ham didn't accuse Ackerman of being wrong about whether people were racists. If she had done so, the question of whether Fred Barnes is racist might be relevant. But what Ham actually accused Ackerman of was wanting to label as racist people Ackerman knows are not racist. (That's presumably why Ham used the word "cynical" rather than "false" to describe Ackerman's proposed tactics.) So Ham's point is not proven by showing that Ackerman called a non-racist racist; one must show that he argued for so labeling someone who he stipulated is not a racist.

And the record -- which consists solely of the Daily Caller article upon which Ham based her entire post -- shows quite the opposite. it shows that Ackerman specifically excluded Douthat from such labeling. And Ham left that fact out of her post.

And, because I don't want to have to write a third update, I'll point out right now that no information that may or may not exist in the future has anything to do with this discussion. Ham's claim was based on the Daily Caller article.

UPDATE 3: Oh, all right: one more. Trevino hilariously suggests the Daily Caller's description of Ackerman's reference to Douthat is unreliable. I certainly don't blame Trevino if he finds the Daily Caller's assessment of anything unreliable. But if Trevino finds the Daily Caller's account of Spencer Ackerman's emails unreliable, I wonder why he isn't criticizing Ham for basing a blog post on it?

The Weekly Standard
Mary Katharine Ham
The Daily Caller
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