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Has Jeffrey Goldberg made ‘The Atlantic’ a ‘safe space’?

By JACK SHAFFER [Politico] —Atlantic Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Goldberg climbed out on a limb last month to add conservative fire-breather and Never Trumper Kevin D. Williamson of National Review to join his growing staff. On Thursday, Goldberg retreated to a safe place near the trunk and proceeded to saw off the branch, casting Williamson down to the ignominy of unemployment.

The sacking ofCN150excerpt the barely hired Williamson brought joy to everybody to the writer’s left, which is to say the better part of the universe. Media Matters for America earned an assist in his firing by drawing pointers to his inflammatory back pages, which helped stir up opposition to him. The organization danced on his pink slip when Goldberg let him go, as did NARALGuardian columnist Jessica ValentiPolitico Magazinecontributing editor Virginia Heffernan, Paste’s Jason Rhode, the American Prospect’s Adele M. Stan and many others.

I, however, did not dance….

Continued at Politico

By CONOR FRIEDERSDORF [The Atlantic] — More specifically, I dissent from the way that [writer Kevin D.] Williamson was dragged, regardless of his position. That dragging would be a small matter in isolation, but it is of a piece with burgeoning, shortsighted modes of discourse that are corroding what few remaining ties bind the American center. Should that center fail to hold, anarchy will be loosed.

And I dissent from the termination that followed—a matter for which responsibility must fall on The Atlantic, not on Williamson’s critics, even those critics who most egregiously distorted his words or their prominence in his journalism.

What about the mode of Williamson’s dragging alarmed me?

Word of Williamson’s hiring was greeted by some as if by mercenary opposition researchers determined to isolate the most outlying and offensive thoughts that he ever uttered, no matter how marginal to his years of journalistic work; to gleefully amplify them, sometimes in highly distorting ways, in a manner designed to stoke maximum upset and revulsion; and to frame them as if they said everything one needed to know about his character. To render him toxic was their purpose.

That mode was poison when reserved for cabinet nominees; it is poison when applied to journalistic hires; and it will be poison if, next week or year, it comes for you…

[Ed. Note — Readers are encouraged to consider our own view on this topic:

THE FORTNIGHTLY REVIEW will…address the cultivated readers of all classes by its treatment of topics specially interesting to each; and it is hoped that the latitude which will be given to the expression of individual opinion will render it acceptable to a very various public. As one means of securing the best aid of the best writers on LITERATURE, ART, SCIENCE, PHILOSOPHY, FINANCE, and POLITICS generally, we propose to remove all those restrictions of party and of editorial ‘consistency’ which in other journals hamper the full and free expression of opinion, and we shall ask each writer to express his own views and sentiments with all the force of sincerity. He will never be required to express the views of an Editor or of a Party. He will not be asked to repress opinions or sentiments because they are distasteful to an Editor, or inconsistent with what may have formerly appeared in the REVIEW. He will be asked to say what he really thinks and really feels; to say it on his own responsibility, and to leave its appreciation to the public. — From our 1865 ‘Prospectus‘.]

Continued at The Atlantic | More Chronicle & Notices.

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