Greg Sargent’s Standards

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on February 10, 2011

They aren’t all that admirable, are they?

Note that Sargent is tweeting in his capacity as a blogger for the Washington Post (his Twitter handle is ThePlumLineGS, which incorporates the name of his blog into the handle). I imagine that keeping up a social media presence on Twitter is part and parcel of his job at the Washington Post, and therefore, it strikes me that he should strive to be as accurate in his tweets as he would be in writings that actually appear on his Post-supported blog. The same journalistic standards for his blog should apply to his tweets, after all. And yet, here he is making stuff up, as the Baseball Crank properly points out. There isn’t a shred of evidence that the Tea Party wants to reverse “abolitionism, civil rights, & women’s suffrage,” which means that Sargent either should have ignored the original tweet saying as much, or disputed it, instead of retweeting it with a seemingly approving “Hah!”

It would be kind of nice if the Washington Post denounced this nonsense, and caused Sargent to retract. I would hope that the paper is more interested in protecting its reputation than Sargent appears to be in protecting his.

  • Anonymous

    After the “Journolist” embarrassment, of which Ezra Klein was the ringleader, EK seems to have cleaned up his act. It’s my guess that someone with gray hair told young EK that he could potentially grow into a respected policy wonk or opinion journalist, but if he ever expected to be taken seriously, he would have to stop the hackish blogging style. Whether that happened or not, his writing style has changed markedly since the “journolist” fiasco.

    It does not appear anyone had the same conversation with GS. Knowing that oftentimes the headline is the only thing that is read, GS, Matt Yglesias, and Steve Bennan of the Washington Monthly all write inflammatory and misleading headlines that often bear little resemblance to the substance of the story. Those three have chosen to remain in the hack business. I understand why Matty and SB engage in this kind of hackery. They understand they will never be policy wonks or respected opinionators. I don’t think GS will ever be a respected opinionator either. That’s why it is puzzling why WaPo allows GS to continue to soil the WaPo brand name.

  • Anonymous

    Are you familiar with Weigel’s Palin tweet index?
    http://www.slate.com/blogs/blogs/weigel/archive/2011/01/04/the-palin-tweet-index.aspx
    I didn’t count the words in your article, but I think it scores pretty badly on the Sargent Tweet Index (patent pending) considering his creative contribution apparently consists of the single word “Hah!”

    It would be much more interesting to hear your thoughts on the substance of Greg’s critique of Tea Party leaders explicitly comparing the movement to the abolition, civil rights and suffrage movements.
    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/02/the_rights_delusions_of_world-.html

    Do you think this comparison is fair? Which side of those debates would today’s conservatives likely have been on? What has the TP movement achieved that compares to movements that involved generations of struggle, and thousands of deaths?

    • Pejman Yousefzadeh

      1. Do you think Sargent disapproves of the sentiments of the tweet he retweeted? 2. I don’t disagree that “it’s a bit too soon to say whether the Tea Party deserves a place alongside” abolition, civil rights, and suffrage movements.” The Tea Party is an exceedingly young movement, after all. What does that have to do with this post? 3. Asking “which side of those debates would today’s conservatives likely have been on” is rather silly since (a) today’s conservatives don’t believe in slavery, do believe in civil rights, and have no problem with women voting; and (b) trying to do these kinds of counterfactuals is ridiculous, since we are taking a modern day political movement, with modern day thoughts (however right-0f-center they may be), and asking what that movement would do if we magically thrust it into the 19th century. This is, to say the least, an imprecise social science experiment. What are we going to do next? Speculate on how Dick Butkus would fare in the court of the Medicis?

      • Anonymous

        Since Sargent retweeted with the word “Hah!” I would guess he thought it was funny. The statement is — at best — hyperbolic and I wouldn’t approve of it myself, but I do find it funny that a conservative movement would compare itself to historical causes championed by liberals.

        On slavery and women’s suffrage — both long-settled issues — obviously conservatives don’t have any problems with those. Civil rights, however, is much more questionable. Almost every Republican in Congress voted against DADT repeal. Popular conservatives like Haley Barbour continue to exhibit ignorance of civil rights history. Conservatives on the Civil Rights commission hijacked it in order to forward ludicrous fantasies about a nationwide New Black Panther voter intimidation scheme. Republican-controlled state legislatures across the country are currently pursuing restrictive voting laws (under the guise of stamping out nearly-nonexistent voter fraud) in an effort to suppress minority voter turnout. And of course the conservative position on immigration has now been thoroughly hijacked by xenophobes with little concern for the civil rights of immigrants.

        Civil rights issues weren’t “solved” in 1964.On the civil rights questions of today conservatives are consistently on the side of reaction and repression. So yeah, I think its a bit ironic that Tea Party leaders would compare themselves to a movement that stands in stark opposition to nearly everything they stand for.

      • Anonymous

        Since Sargent retweeted with the word “Hah!” I would guess he thought it was funny. The statement is — at best — hyperbolic and I wouldn’t approve of it myself, but I do find it funny that a conservative movement would compare itself to historical causes championed by liberals.

        On slavery and women’s suffrage — both long-settled issues — obviously conservatives don’t have any problems with those. Civil rights, however, is much more questionable. Almost every Republican in Congress voted against DADT repeal. Popular conservatives like Haley Barbour continue to exhibit ignorance of civil rights history. Conservatives on the Civil Rights commission hijacked it in order to forward ludicrous fantasies about a nationwide New Black Panther voter intimidation scheme. Republican-controlled state legislatures across the country are currently pursuing restrictive voting laws (under the guise of stamping out nearly-nonexistent voter fraud) in an effort to suppress minority voter turnout. And of course the conservative position on immigration has now been thoroughly hijacked by xenophobes with little concern for the civil rights of immigrants.

        Civil rights issues weren’t “solved” in 1964.On the civil rights questions of today conservatives are consistently on the side of reaction and repression. So yeah, I think its a bit ironic that Tea Party leaders would compare themselves to a movement that stands in stark opposition to nearly everything they stand for.

        • Pejman Yousefzadeh

          1. Lies aren’t funny. 2. Republican views on DADT are not restricted to the number of Republicans in Congress; Bob Gates worked for DADT repeal, and conservatives like Dick Cheney and John Bolton supported it. 3. The anecdote of Haley Barbour is not data. 4. Hijackings are in the eye of the beholder. 5. Asking for voter ID is not “restrictive,” or “suppressive.” 5. Speaking of xenophobes, shall we talk about Rahm Emanuel, Chuck Schumer, the rest of the Democratic party, and Dubai Ports World? 6. No one said that civil rights issues have been “solved.” 7. “Repression”? Hyperbolic much?

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