I like Joe Gandelman (turns out Joe didn’t write this, Michael Stickings did, and since I don’t know him from Adam, I can’t very well say I like him), but this sort of attitude is everything that is wrong with this country and everything that is wrong with discourse in the United States:
There certainly has been misrepresentation of his “view,” particularly by those who have taken his statements out of context. But this should not let Bennett off the hook. I don’t think he’s a racist — anyone who looks at his career and at what he’s said and written over the years can see that — but he shouldn’t have used a sensitive racial example to make a point about how reductio ad absurdum arguments are philosophically and politically problematic.
As a public figure with a good deal of experience dealing with the media — indeed, as a high-profile member of the media himself, as someone with high-level political experience — he should have used his head before his mouth and considered just how his comments would likely be taken once out there in the public domain. In short, he should have known better.
I’m not sure who needs to apologize to whom, nor even if apologies are necessary, but this is already an overblown story that should go away. Bennett’s critics should think about what he actually said before calling him a racist, but Bennett himself should take some time to mull over what was an astonishingly stupid thing to say.
In other words, he isn’t a racist, he isn’t advocating racist views, he was using a certain type of argument to make a point, and he has clarified what he meant in subesequent discussions, YET, according to Joe (and others), he still was stupid and should have known that some jackasses would intentionally distort his commentary, so therefore maybe he should apologize.
Brilliant. It doesn’t matter what he was saying. It doesn’t matter that we KNOW what he was saying. There exists the possibility somewhere that someone might get offended, or, as it is in this case, FEIGN deep offense, so “he should have known better” and therefore should not say such “astonishingly stupid” things.
Find me a more chilling or Orwellian concept than that.
(Might I add that most of the people outraged (SHOCKED! APPALLED!) at Bennett’s comments are members of the esteemed “John Kerry Nuance Brigades.”)