The Times Op-Ed page, quite properly, is home to a lot of provocative opinions. But all are supposed to be grounded on the bedrock of fact.That’s from the New York Times Public Editor’s response to the public response to Edward Luttwak’s incredibly bat-shit crazy column, "President Apostate."
To briefly summarize Luttwak’s column: A President Obama would be marked, so Luttwak alleged, for assassination by Muslims, so Luttwak alleged, because Obama was a Muslim by birth, so Luttwak alleged, and would be considered, so Luttwak alleged, an apostate by devout Muslims, so Luttwak alleged, who, under Muslim law, so Luttwak alleged, would not be punished for killing an apostate, so Luttwak alleged.
As best decoded, the point to Luttwak’s column was that the humane thing would be not to vote for Obama so that he wouldn’t get his head whacked off.
Clark Hoyt, the Public Editor, now admits that, regarding Luttwak’s column, the NYT did less due diligence in its fact-checking and vetting than is done for a typical episode of Cash Cab. In professional terms, Luttwak’s column was egregious bullshit.
With a subject this charged, readers would have been far better served with more than a single, extreme point of view. When writers purport to educate readers about complex matters, and they are arguably wrong, I think The Times cannot label it opinion and let it go at that.Can you hear me laughing….