Jonah Goldberg’s article yesterday contributes to the growing genre of right-wing criticisms of the mainstream media that actually don’t address what Romney said. The sad part is, this silence was brilliantly eviscerated three days ago by Greg Sargent of the Washington Post. It’s worth quoting his economic takedown in full:
But all of this skirts the thing that made Romney’s comments problematic, which is what he said: His accusation that the Obama administration sympathized with the embassy attackers.
The claim is false. The statement was issued before the attacks. Conservatives argue the Embassy reaffirmed the statement on Twitter after the attacks. So what? The statement does not sympathize with, or apologize for, any perpetrators of violence. The repeated claim that the White House distanced itself from the Embassy’s statement — proving Romney was right — is similarly irrelevant, as is the related claim that the White House was too slow in doing so. The statement still never did what Romney said it did, and did not constitute sympathy for attackers by the administration or anyone else. Romney’s initial claim — and his repetition of it yesterday at a high profile press conference — were lies, and carried despicable implications.
So why is the conservative media doubling-down on this claim? Or more importantly, why are they still not addressing the substance of Romney’s comments? The answer must be pure self-motivated cynicism. The conservatives are actively trying to change the narrative about their candidate, and they are resorting to the old blame-the-liberal-media baloney that is a mainstay of conservative critiques. Their collective silence on the substance of Romney’s statement suggests that they can’t defend it, so they are just going to leave it out.
This is why the National Review and other such conservative publications are not taken seriously.