The New York Times provided several days of amusement this week after hiring racist technology writer Sarah Jeong, with full knowledge of her twitter history. That history? Here’s a small sample:
The Times was in full bore defense mode of their pick:
On Thursday, The Times released a statement saying that it knew about the tweets before hiring Ms. Jeong, 30, and that she would stay on the editorial board.
“Her journalism and the fact that she is a young Asian woman have made her a subject of frequent online harassment,” The Times said in its statement. “For a period of time she responded to that harassment by imitating the rhetoric of her harassers. She sees now that this approach only served to feed the vitriol that we too often see on social media.”
So virulent racism is OK as long as it’s used as a counter attack against trolls? It’s a brand new argument which isn’t even remotely intellectually defensible, but it’s one I’ve seen copied across forums and message boards throughout the week. Of course at this point I fully expected a defense of her hiring, I was just curious as to what form it would take. It’s almost disappointing that they put such little effort in mounting a defense. What makes Jeong’s tweets perfectly acceptable compared to say, Roseanne Barr’s comes down to, “it’s just different OK?”
Just a couple of observations…
In a political sense, this is good news for the GOP. The Democrats have really been driven off the rails this year with the party being pushed into indefensible positions on abolishing ICE and embracing socialism (whatever that means, and I suppose that most have no clue). This is all in a year when the Democrats should have expected some Congressional gains. Instead, it’s turning into the “I don’t believe in borders, #CancelWhitePeople” party. If Trump and the GOP have any wit about them, they’ll capitalize on this. Every Democratic Congressional candidate should be asked about Jeong’s tweets, whether they are acceptable, is the New York Times supporting #CancelWhitePeople? “Candidate A, do you believe that white men are bullshit?” They need to be made to own their crazy.
Also in a political sense, but in a more long run view, how does being the anti-white party influence Democratic Party prospects? During the 2016 election, I observed that some of these guys really were serious about having a case of the ass for white people. Key to the Democrat’s “Demography is Destiny” voter replacement plan is that at least for the short run (the next two decades) white voters will continue to vote for the Democrats at about the same percentages. But how much comparison to white people as “groveling goblins” can Democrat white voters handle? I’ve no doubt that a certain type of NPR listening, sweater wearing, herbal tea drinking white person, reading Jeong’s tweets, could chuckle and say, “Yes we are the worst!” Nor would this be anything but catnip to your typical white college radical; but what about families? Does the typical white Democratic voter with children really want to support a party that targets their children and see them as a problem? I’m not so sure.
And that brings me to my final observation, that the lack of even a pretense of intellectual evenhandedness in the defense of Jeong shows that the left has gone full tribalism. They are defending Jeong, not because she’s misunderstood, or there is merit to her tweets, but simply because they are in the same tribe and are defending one of their own. We live in an age when intellectual and political arguments are passé. The only thing that matters is which side you are one.
So how will this play out in the midterm elections? I’ve already made my predictions, but hopefully at least through October Trump should be reminding voters what the “failing New York Times” thinks of them.