Yesterday, I posted about a new op-ed by the WaPo’s Karen Tumulty, entitled “I’m sorry I said nice things about Glenn Youngkin.” Tumulty’s column was a long belated retraction of her absurd op-ed back in July, in which she laughably argued that Glenn Youngkin – get this – should run for president in 2024, because supposedly Youngkin represents some sort of “alternative, rather than an amplification, of the worst aspects of Trumpism.” Uhhhh…no. No no no no no. Did I mention NO?!? LOL
Anyway, a day later and there are nearly 4,000 (!) comments on Tumulty’s retraction/apology/whatever. And the results…are not pretty. See below for some of the top-rated comments, including by far the highest-rated one (with 921 “likes”), which says:
“Apology not accepted.
Anyone paying attention saw what Youngkin was. If not obvious from his culture warrior rhetoric, all you had to do was look at the party he aligned himself with.
Blind, biased, irresponsible journalists with a platform have elevated these dangerous people and contributed to the problems we now face: deterioration of American democracy, the fascist takeover of the American conservative movement, and subsequent dehumanising of all non-Republicans. Again, I don’t accept your apology.”
It’s very hard to argue with that, of course, given that if you were paying almost ANY attention to the 2021 Virginia governor’s campaign – let alone if your full-time, paid JOB is to stay on top of this stuff!!! – you would have known back in the winter/spring of 2021 that Youngkin was hard-right, an election denier, a climate denier, vehemently anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ, you name it. But somehow Karen Tumulty managed to miss all this, even after 6+ months of Youngkin’s governorship, and actually wrote a piece about how Youngkin should run for president because he’s *totally* not like Trump, blah blah blah? And it took her another 3+ months to realize that she massively f’ed up on that?
Anyway, here we are, and I’d argue that it’s better if journalists at least belatedly recognize how badly they misread Youngkin – and did a disservice to their readers – than to never admit how badly they f’ed up. And yet…the top-rated comments on Tumulty’s article are not forgiving. Here are a few more that jumped out at me, just to give you a flavor.
352 likes: “Optimist that I am, I still hope that a tribune of sanity will emerge in the Republican Party. Sorry, NOT OPTIMISM. Pure and oblivious stupidity . . .I often wonder, how many of those who supported the Nazi party in 1930s Germany regretted their decision when people were being dragged off in the middle of the night, when they had to disassociate themselves from longtime friends because of their religion, when the food was running out, and when the bombs started dropping on Berlin? ANYONE, and I mean ANYONE at this point in our history who supports the Republican party whatsoever is a textbook pathological narcissist – and that is putting it mildly.”
322 likes: “WAPO ought to offer a collective apology for their rosy coverage of this phony for the past 22 months.”
267 likes: “Well stop it because using your platform to be willfully naïve is hurting the rest of us.”
189 likes: “I honestly cannot understand how someone whose job it is to report or opine on politics could not see almost from the get-go that Youngkin, much like T****, very clearly was unfit for the governorship. His culture wars style campaign was a dead giveaway. This “apology” is especially egregious because Ms. Tumulty is a member of the editorial board of the WAPO which, supposedly after much research and deliberation, endorses candidates in an election. A hope that a candidate might turn out to be acceptable is no alternative for an unbiased evaluation of their history, positions, and qualifications that readers (might) depend on when deciding whom to vote for. So to the editorial staff as well as Ms. Tumulty herself I say you need to reflect a lot more on what you allow to go to print and how you endorse candidates, or democracy may die in the fog of your shallow reporting.”
123 likes: “It was quite apparent, from the very very beginning, that he is no more than an ambitious, amoral, sleazeball. Wolf in sheep’s clothing for those who couldn’t see it. Not unusual, though.”
110 likes: “If Ms. Tumulty were a school teacher or a gas station clerk, then maybe that would be understandable. She is literally paid to understand these things; things that were so painfully obvious from the start. The only way you could be fooled by Younkin’s act is if you really, really wanted to be fooled. And yes, maybe she clears the Thiessen bar, but that bar is on the floor. You can be “better than Thiessen” and still terrible.”
89 likes: “This ‘apology’ actually doubles down on Tumulty’s appallingly naive support for Youngkin by referring to him as ‘a fresh and sunny political newcomer with proven bipartisan appeal,’ in the present tense, without a qualifier. A competent editor would have suggested a revision such as ‘who appeared to a fresh and sunny political newcomer with bipartisan appeal.’ It’s still naive hype, unjustified given that Youngkin was running culture war red meat from the get go, but it’s a plausible take on how he was (mis)perceived.”
33 likes: “So Karen, Youngkin’s Turn-in-a-Teacher hotline wasn’t enough to convince you he was a total dirtbag? It’s too late to say you are sorry.”
24 likes: “The fact that he’s a phony was very clear from the beginning of his campaign. His initial Trumpiness wasn’t playing well in Virginia so he distanced himself from the election denial tropes and focused on education. Of course parents supported greater participation in the curriculum—they just didn’t realize that it included teacher harassment, book bans, and a lack of Covid safety precautions.”
23 likes: “VA resident here. What took you so long. His campaign was filled with lies and efforts to divide Virginia citizens. You should have been smart enough never to have complemented him. Welcome to reality. So glad he is term limited.”
23 likes: “Anyone paying attention during his campaign could see who he really was. Riding ‘the culture war’ for all it was worth showed his willingness to appeal to the worst instincts of the voters. Your current statements are way too late. You have contributed to the rise of fascism.”