No Room for Conservatives: The Atlantic Caves Under Pressure
After bravely standing up to the overwhelming chorus of liberal anger for, like, three whole weeks, The Atlantic finally caved on Thursday and fired its brand new conservative columnist, Kevin Williamson of National Review fame.
According to the magazine’s editor, Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic could no longer employ Williamson after an old podcast came to light in which the conservative thinker said that women who have abortions should be subject to the death penalty. This was a sentiment he’d also expressed in a since-deleted tweet that had already made the rounds, but Goldberg apparently felt he could not withstand the onslaught now that an actual recording of the words had surfaced.
“Late yesterday afternoon, information came to our attention that has caused us to reconsider this relationship,” Goldberg explained to his staff. “Specifically, the subject of one of Kevin’s most controversial tweets was also a centerpiece of a podcast discussion in which Kevin explained his views on the subject of the death penalty and abortion.
“The language he used in this podcast—and in my conversations with him in recent days—made it clear that the original tweet did, in fact, represent his carefully considered views,” Goldberg continued. “The tweet was not merely an impulsive, decontextualized, heat-of-the-moment post, as Kevin had explained it.”
So: Merely saying that “abortion is a form of murder” is one thing, but seriously advocating the extension of that logic – that it should be treated as homicide by the courts – is a bridge too far. Apparently Goldberg and other liberals think conservatives are just being cheeky when they use that phrase.
And to be fair, there is not a great deal of support in America for “hanging” women who have had abortions. We’re not necessarily jumping in line to push that opinion, either. But to take one old, rather insignificant opinion – said more to shock than to comprise a platform – and use it as an excuse to fire the ONE conservative on The Atlantic’s payroll…well, that really speaks to the left’s total and complete intolerance of any ideological viewpoint to the right of, oh, let’s say George Will? And we’re not even sure the bridge extends that far.
Now plenty of conservatives in the media have had plenty to say about The Atlantic’s cowardice on this issue, but really, that cowardice was on display from the moment they picked Williamson in the first place. And their cowardice is the same found at The New York Times, which has recently made an anemic effort to hire some conservative writers to “balance” the opinion page. The problem with all of these hires is that they are, to a person, all NeverTrumpers. Not one serious mainstream newspaper or magazine has a Trump-supporting writer on staff. Therefore, the conservatives they do hire – though they attract the same amount of scorn from the left – are largely irrelevant to anything that’s ACTUALLY happening in American politics.
Which is exactly what makes them safe to hire.
That’s the theory anyway. As we saw this week, the left doesn’t draw the line at Trump. To them, anything less than full-throated support of the progressive agenda is a sign that you are some kind of “___-IST”, and they will dig through your entire history until they determine exactly what sort. And then you’ll be history.