If you sent your kid to the bookstore to get some SAT prep materials, and he came back with a Kaplan book that said there was no need to study math because the SAT doesn’t cover math anymore, two things might happen. One, you might immediately recognize that Kaplan was selling a product that contains serious errors. Alternatively—and worse—you and your son might decide that Kaplan was a trustworthy source of information about the SAT and prepare for it wrong. Either result would, of course, be devastating to Kaplan’s reputation and thus to a revenue model that depends on students and their parents having confidence that its materials contain accurate information about standardized tests.
The National Review, meanwhile, is in the business of representing the ideas of the conservative movement. If what the conservative movement wants to do is lie to people about Barack Obama, then The National Review will lie to people about Barack Obama. That’s understandable enough. I’m not one of those so naive as to pretend to be shocked, shocked to discover that there’s lying happening in politics.
But what about the Washington Post? If Charles Krauthammer wants to write a column in which he lies about Barack Obama, why would the Post print it? I mean, here’s Krauthammer on January 1:
And just to make sure even the dimmest understand, Obama banishes the term “war on terror.” It’s over — that is, if it ever existed.
Obama may have declared the war over. Unfortunately, al-Qaeda has not. Which gives new meaning to the term “asymmetric warfare.”
And here’s Obama giving an address in May about his policies on al-Qaeda: “we are indeed at war with al Qaeda and its affiliates.”
Or as John Brennan spelled out in some detail in August:
This leads directly to the second element of the President’s approach—a clear, more precise definition of this challenge. This is critically important. How you define a problem shapes how you address it. As many have noted, the President does not describe this as a “war on terrorism.” That is because “terrorism” is but a tactic—a means to an end, which in al Qaeda’s case is global domination by an Islamic caliphate. Confusing ends and means is dangerous, because by focusing on the tactic, we risk floundering among the terrorist trees while missing the growth of the extremist forest. And ultimately, confusing ends and means is self-defeating, because you can never fully defeat a tactic like terrorism any more than you can defeat the tactic of war itself.
Instead, as the President has made clear, we are at war with al Qaeda, which attacked us on 9/11 and killed 3,000 people. We are at war with its violent extremist allies who seek to carry on al Qaeda’s murderous agenda. These are the terrorists we will destroy. These are the extremists we will defeat.
It makes you wonder what the Post’s owners and editors think the purpose of the product they’re putting out is. Is it supposed to convey accurate information to readers? If that’s what it’s supposed to be doing, they’re not doing a very good job of it. But what’s more, they don’t even seem to be trying.