Kevin D. Williamson left the relatively safe space of National Review for the combative liberal environs of The Atlantic. I’m not sure why he made that move, but he did. He stepped out from the right-of-center media sphere and into the lockstep mainstream sector.
It did not go well for him.
Almost immediately after his hiring was announced, the baying hounds of Leftism wanted blood. So they found a statement from Williamson suggesting that women who get abortions should be hung, as he believes the law should charge abortion as capital murder.
He said it years ago, well before his hiring by The Atlantic‘s Jeffrey Goldberg. Since his hiring, Williamson went fairly dark on social media. He wasn’t saying anything, much less anything controversial. None of that mattered, though.
Yesterday, Williamson was fired.
Goldberg explained his decision in a memo:
Full memo from Atlantic editor Jeff Goldberg to staff on Kevin Williamson pic.twitter.com/8R7rtEoS5L
— Max Tani (@maxwelltani) April 5, 2018
None of this was new information about Williamson. When Media Matters “uncovered” a podcast interview of Williamson where he also discussed this, they noted it was from 2014.
As controversial as Williamson’s comments may sound, I see where he’s coming from. I don’t necessarily agree, but he is presenting his opinion that abortion is murder and that logic dictates its circumstances would allow it to be prosecuted as a death penalty case.
Williamson was clear. Tani, whose tweet is shown above, reported Williamson’s original tweet at The Daily Beast. It stated that “the law should treat abortion like any other homicide.” It was when Williamson was pressed for a punishment that he said hanging.
In other words, Williamson thinks abortion should be illegal — like any other murder — and those who get abortions should be treated accordingly. He phrased it in an unsettling way, but so what? We’re adults and we’re talking about a deadly serious topic, and it’s always unsettling.
Goldberg has to know that. You don’t rise that high in journalism by being a complete idiot, contrary to how it seems much of the time.
But Goldberg attempted to argue that Williamson was not being fired for believing — as virtually the entire pro-life movement does — that abortion is murder.
At The Federalist, Warren Henry responds to Goldberg’s statement by saying, “As the kids would say, ‘NARRATOR: It was entirely about Kevin’s views on abortion.'” He continued, “In fact, the memo itself explains that Williamson was being fired because of his considered, but harsh position on the issue. Goldberg’s claim to the contrary is as clumsy and insulting to people’s intelligence as it is Orwellian.”
Specifically, the liberal hounds terrified Goldberg enough to fire him over something said well before his hiring, and that was not a secret at the time of his hiring.
As Henry also points out, the liberal hounds don’t care one whit if they are seen as hypocrites. They just refuse to be seen as “not-liberal.” Because The Atlantic continues to employ Ta-Nehisi Coates, for just one example:
Is Coates callous and violent? He has written that he can see no difference between a police officer who shot a Howard University student and the first responders to the 9/11 terror attacks: “They were not human to me. Black, white, or whatever, they were menaces of nature; they were the fire, the comet, the storm, which could — with no justification — shatter my body.”
Coates also stated regarding the Ferguson riots:
What clearly cannot be said is that violence and nonviolence are tools, and that violence — like nonviolence — sometimes works.
As Henry notes:
That was not an intemperate tweet, either; it was printed, even pull-quoted, by The Atlantic.
Yet Coates continues to have a platform, while Williamson was fired after just one column. Further, Coates wrote that while writing for The Atlantic. He continues to work, but Williamson doesn’t get that chance.
Look, I get that The Atlantic is a private organization. They can hire and fire whomever they want.
And the public has the right to judge them over it, and Jeffery Goldberg and his publication aren’t looking good from this angle. He fired Williamson because Williamson believes mothers who have abortions are criminals. This was not a secret. Goldberg simply caved to the outrage mob and backed out.
Such is the state of American political discourse these days. Right-leaning opinions are marched out of town. The Left wants you fired, silenced — and disarmed.