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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Brave Rachael Larimore, the only one of 62 Slate.com personnel who even weakly supports McCain

Well. Here I am in the wee small hours of the morning after election day. I'd gotten behind in my cross-posting here for my new posts at HughHewitt.com. And now, Barack Obama is the President-Elect, and I'm doing ... file maintenance.

The good news is that up to the point of this post, I've now copied to this blog all of my posts from there, tacking them on to the foot of what were originally my teaser posts here. That's a lot of work done, although it's pretty mindless cut and paste stuff.

The bad news is that I still have a bunch of posts to cross-post here, and I have to find some teaser line at a time when I'm feeling blue and definitely not too witty.


Anyway, on October 28 I had a guest-post at HH.com in which I argued that Slate.com ought to just quit pretending it's anything but an instrument of the Democratic Party.


[Copied here for archival purposes on November 5, 2008, from the post linked above at HughHewitt.com.]

(Guest Post by Bill Dyer a/k/a Beldar)

Of itself, in the online page linked as "About Us" from the footer on the bottom of every page, Slate.com tells us the following:

Slate is a daily magazine on the Web. Founded in 1996, we are a general-interest publication offering analysis and commentary about politics, news, and culture. Slate's strong editorial voice and witty take on current events have been recognized with numerous awards, including the National Magazine Award for General Excellence Online. The site, which is owned by The Washington Post Company, does not charge for access and is supported by advertising revenues.

That, friends and neighbors, is an example of lying by omission.

Oh, I'll agree that Slate.com has a "strong editorial voice" and a "witty take on current events." In Mickey Kaus in particular, Slate has one of the smartest and most honest bloggers of the center-left, and I could easily list another half-dozen names who regularly contribute at Slate.com whose work I've enjoyed reading from time to time, and quite a few of them besides Mickey have also been very gracious in exchanges I've had with them via email or public postings. Slate.com has long been a fertile source of blogging topics for me because I can almost always find something there (a) with which I profoundly disagree and (b) which makes an easy target for mocking conservative snark. It's a online barrel of reliably liberal fish to shoot at.

And I do give Slate.com credit for handing all of us the unarguable empirical proof of the publication's true orientation: It's just published a comprehensive survey of its own staff and regular contributors in which it asked each of them to reveal who "they're voting for on Election Day and why." Here's the result:

Barack Obama: 55
John McCain: 1
Bob Barr: 1
Not McCain: 1
Noncitizen, can't vote: 4 [but 3 of those prefer Obama and the 4th voiced no preference]

The one McCain voter is Deputy Managing Editor and Copy Chief Rachael Larimore. I'm unsurprised that someone with her job title would be the sole McCain voter, since hers is a practical job. She writes:

This is a difficult election for me. But voting for John McCain is an easy choice. He's a man I admire, I agree with many of his policy positions, and, since I am a moderate but loyal Republican, I feel a kind of kinship with him. Barack Obama is an exciting candidate, and I wish I could share the enthusiasm so many Americans feel for him, but I feel like his worldview is Carter-esque, and I fear his economic policies will be, too.

However, I also think an Obama presidency can be a boon for Republicans, and not just because of the havoc a Democratic White House and a Democratic Congress could wreak. I don't hate President Bush like so many do, but even I can say his presidency has been a disappointment. And the Republican-led Congress was a disaster, as McCain pointed out, not in so many words, in his convention speech. I'm hopeful that an Obama victory would be a wakeup call as well as an opportunity — an opportunity for those who believe in limited government, individual freedoms, and free markets (yes, even in this crisis) to regain their influence, to take back the party from the religious right and social conservatives that have gained so much influence. So regardless of what happens on Nov. 4, I won't be too upset. But neither will I be too excited.

Bravo for Ms. Larimore, for the courage of her convictions, such as they are! But note that she writes with disdain of "the religious right and social conservatives," which some would say makes her a "RINO" (Republican in name only). Me, I'm a big-tent Republican glad to have Ms. Larimore in the party. But regardless of her particular degree of fervor, from this survey we can we confirm that Slate.com doesn't believe in tokenism: They don't bother to employ even a single self-identified social conservative, nor a single person who will be thoroughly pleased and excited if McCain wins.

Now, don't misunderstand me. There's nothing inherently wicked in Slate.com being a thoroughly liberal publication, top to bottom, which reports and comments on matters of public interest from an unmistakeably liberal point of view and with an undeniably liberal slant. There's plenty of room on the internet for self-avowed partisans — I'm one, and so is my host here, Hugh Hewitt. We hang a lantern on our pre-existing biases because we believe that it's important for readers assessing our credibility to know of those biases up front. Once those biases have been disclosed, then our readers (or in Hugh's case, listeners too) can evaluate the persuasiveness of our reasoning and, indeed, our advocacy, and make up their own minds accordingly.

But it is misleading for Slate.com to describe itself as a "general interest" magazine. And more importantly, by omitting to continuously self-disclose its consistent tilt, Slate.com pretends that it is something other than a publication of the political left, heavily skewed toward candidates of the Democratic Party. Just like its parent organization, The Washington Post, Slate.com pretends to an editorial balance, neutrality, and open-mindedness that it simply lacks.

No one — least of all Slate.com's own management — should be remotely surprised by the results of its internal election survey. It's fine for Slate.com to promise a "witty take on current events," but for it to continue to pretend to be anything but partisan is an unfunny joke.

— Beldar

Posted by Beldar at 04:08 AM in 2008 Election, McCain, Obama, Politics (2008) | Permalink


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