Cutting Corners

Science, technology, and life.
May 4 2010 9:44 AM

Cutting Corners

Kevin Williamson, the deputy managing editor of National Review , has written a curious blog post at NR 's " The Corner ." He says yesterday's Slate piece about partisan echo chambers ignored close-mindedness on the left. He calls me "a liberal guy" who "can find almost nothing to criticize other than the (tendentiously described, if not outright mischaracterized) intellectual shortcomings of those who hold opinions other than his own."

To prove the point, Williamson then quotes me—and carefully removes the parts where I criticized the left. Check it out:

William Saletan William Saletan

Will Saletan writes about politics, science, technology, and other stuff for Slate. He’s the author of Bearing Right.

Advertisement

Williamson's clipped quote #1:

6. Conservatives who see the epistemic-closure conversation as a political threat describe politics as a " team " contest. ...

What Williamson clipped out after the ellipses:

I've seen the same dynamic on the left, where internal critics are dismissed as " concern trolls ."

Williamson's clipped quote #2:

7. Some writers have turned the epistemic-closure conversation into a debate over which party is more smug. Conor Friedersdorf, a blogger at the American Scene , aptly mocks their hypocrisy : "There may be a problem in our thinking, but the important thing to focus on is that the other guys are worse." [Jonah] Goldberg, a perpetrator of this blame-deflecting tactic ....

What Williamson clipped out after the ellipses:

is right about one thing: Epistemic closure isn't unique to any era or faction. It's a problem " for all human associations and movements ." Challenging your community's delusions is your responsibility, whether that community is CPAC or Jeremiah Wright's church .

Another line Williamson clipped out:

Then MSNBC booted guest host Donny Deutsch off the air after he used two MSNBC anchors to illustrate left-wing rage.

As a longtime fan of Rich Lowry, Ramesh Ponnuru, Jonah Goldberg, and other writers at NR , I'd like to believe that these omissions are just oversights or unavoidable casualties of excerpting a longer article. But I'm having trouble mustering that defense for Williamson. He clipped quote #2 in the middle of a sentence to hide from NR readers the fact that the next words were an endorsement of Goldberg's observation that close-mindedness is not just a conservative problem. In so doing, he also neatly removed my criticism of Jeremiah Wright's church. Having done this, he derisively and dishonestly titled his post, "Because Liberals By Definition Cannot Be Closed-Minded."

None of the ellipses in what I've written above are mine. They're all Williamson's.

I challenge Williamson or the editors of NR to defend his use of the ellipses.

 

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Republicans Like Scott Walker Are Building Campaigns Around Problems That Don’t Exist

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge

The World

Iran and the U.S. Are Allies

They’re just not ready to admit it yet.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

Farewell! Emily Bazelon on What She Will Miss About Slate.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 16 2014 2:11 PM Spare the Rod What Charles Barkley gets wrong about corporal punishment and black culture.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 2:35 PM Germany’s Nationwide Ban on Uber Lasted All of Two Weeks
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 1:27 PM The Veronica Mars Spinoff Is Just Amusing Enough to Keep Me Watching
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 1:48 PM Why We Need a Federal Robotics Commission
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 16 2014 1:39 PM The Case of the Missing Cerebellum How did a Chinese woman live 24 years missing part of her brain?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.