Goldberg and Podhoretz Still Don’t Get It


Last night, journalist Jill Carroll issued a statement. Here’s is an excerpt:

I also gave a TV interview to the Iraqi Islamic Party shortly after my release. The party had promised me the interview would never be aired on television, and broke their word. At any rate, fearing retribution from my captors, I did not speak freely…

I want to be judged as a journalist, not as a hostage. I remain as committed as ever to fairness and accuracy–to discovering the truth–and so I will not engage in polemics. But let me be clear: I abhor all who kidnap and murder civilians, and my captors are clearly guilty of both crimes.

Jonah Goldberg and John Podhoretz of the National Review feel this statement somehow justifies their attacks on Carroll in the hours after her release. It doesn’.

As I explained before Carroll’s statement was released, future comments by Carroll “may not be completely consistent with what she said moments after being released” but “Carroll is the only one who know the facts.” (Goldberg falsely claims that ThinkProgress and others “took her initial statements at face value.”) The point was that, until the full story is revealed by Carroll, it is inappropriate for pundits like Goldberg and Podhoretz to attack her personally.

Goldberg and Podhoretz both suggested that Carroll was suffering from a mental disorder. (Goldberg: “maybe JPod’s right about Stockholm syndrome.”) Goldberg said that he was “getting a bad vibe” from Carroll and she was “really starting to bug me.” He followed up by asserting that her “moral center” was not “in good order” and she wasn’t “thinking clearly.”

Now Goldberg and Podhoretz think I should apologize to them for criticizing their remarks. I will not. (Podhoretz claims that my earlier call for him to apologize – which I stand by – damages “civil discourse.” Goldberg, to his credit, apologizes for suggesting she was a terrorist sympathizer.) The attacks on her mental state and her character were completely unjustified. Carroll’s statement only underscores that.

UPDATE: JPod responds:

…of ThinkProgress is, basically, unbelievably dishonest.
He writes the following: “Podhoretz… suggested that [Jill] Carroll was suffering from a mental disorder.” I never suggested any such thing. I said, correctly, that people would might think she was suffering from Stockholm Syndrome — which is not a mental disorder in any case, but a form of post-traumatic stress.

Podhoretz said “[A]fter watching someone who was a hostage for three months say on television she was well-treated because she wasn’t beaten or killed”¦I expect there will be some Stockholm Syndrome talk in the coming days.” Podhoretz didn’t say Carroll had Stockholm syndrome but he clearly suggested it. (Jonah Goldberg understood that, writing a few hours later “maybe JPod’s right about Stockholm syndrome.”)

What’s incredibly dishonest is Podhoretz pretending, after it’s fairly clear the interview televised after her release was not evidence of Stockholm Syndrome, that his statement was purely about what other people might suggest.