The Atlantic magazine last month hired Kevin Williamson, formerly of the conservative National Review, as a columnist. I have long been aware of Williamson’s horrible views and was shocked that a supposedly liberal magazine would hire him but Goldberg has pretty conservative views too. For example, he was an enthusiastic cheerleader for the Iraq war.
This hiring caused an uproar because Williamson has said that most appalling things about women and blacks. One item that surfaced immediately was Williamson in a tweet calling for women who have abortions to be hanged for murder. But the editor Jeffrey Goldberg had a weird defense of his decision to hire Williamson despite that statement.
Upon first announcing Williamson’s hiring last month, The Atlantic faced enormous uproar over some of his more controversial bits of commentary. Critics pointed to one 2014 National Review column in which Williamson described an encounter with a young black boy using racially loaded terms like “three-fifths-scale Snoop Dogg” and describing the boy as a “primate.”
And, perhaps more notoriously, Williamson suggested on his now-deleted Twitter account that “the law should treat abortion like any other homicide. When asked for a specific punishment, he offered hanging.
Goldberg initially defended Williamson’s hiring, dismissing the fringe view as simply “extreme tweeting” for which he deserved a “second chance.” New York Times conservative columnist Bret Stephens echoed that defense, writing, “[F]or heaven’s sake, it was a tweet.”
However, on Wednesday, Media Matters for America revealed that Williamson’s deadly solution for women who’ve had abortions wasn’t just an aberrant tweet. In a 2014 podcast, the liberal watchdog found, Williamson repeatedly and forcefully defended his view that those women should be executed.
He described current methods of execution—like lethal injection—to be “too antiseptic” and suggested that the state administer more “violent” forms of capital punishment befitting the “violence” of an abortion.
But what is curious is the idea that what is said on Twitter is unimportant. Why is this? Is Twitter supposed to be some kind of safe house where you can say the most appalling things and not have to bear any consequences for them?
Williamson is one those conservatives who are opposed to Trump and thus are being given a pass these days by liberals who should know better. Others include Bill Kristol, Dvid Frum, Max Boot, and Andrew Sullivan. I want to make my point perfectly clear: JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE DOESN’T LIKE TRUMP DOES NOT MEAN THAT THEIR OTHER OBNOXIOUS VIEWS SHOULD BE EXCUSED.