James Fallows calls out David Mark of the Politico as exhibiting "classic and depressing Beltway 'could be perceived as problematic' style.... Please. If someone thinks certain views are outrageous, then say so. Not that they could be misperceived that way if not fully explained, et cetera."
I don't see why America needs journalists like David Mark, or organizations like the Politico. I really do not:
Jim Webb as "Confederate": I am underwhelmed by the latest "revelation" about him: that he has expressed sympathy and respect for Confederate soldiers, including many of his forbears.... First, this is hardly a secret or news. The dignity of ordinary Confederate troops and their battlefield leaders, as opposed to the evil of the southern slaveholding system, was a major theme in Webb's widely-noted and generally-praised book Born Fighting, published four years ago. In addition to that book, the main documentary proof of Webb's "problem" is a speech at the Confederate war memorial in 1990. That memorial, by the way, is in Arlington National Cemetery -- not in Richmond, Charleston, Natchez, etc. His speech contained a passage addressed to white descendants of the Confederate army that is hard to imagine coming from, say, David Duke:
The last twenty five years in this country have shown again and again that, despite the regrettable and well-publicized turmoil of the Civil Rights years, those Americans of African ancestry are the people with whom our [Southern whites'] history in this country most closely intertwines, whose struggles in an odd but compelling way most resemble our own, and whose rights as full citizens we above all should celebrate and insist upon....
Moreover, the article that "uncovers" this startling fact is written in classic and depressing Beltway "could be perceived as problematic" style. It doesn't flat-out say that there is anything wrong or illegitimate in Webb's views. In fact it includes one "to be sure" sentence: "There’s nothing scandalous in the paper trail, nothing that on its face would disqualify Webb from consideration for national office." But then we have:
Yet it veers into perilous waters since the slightest sign of support or statement of understanding of the Confederate cause has the potential to alienate African-Americans who are acutely sensitive to the topic. The distinctions Webb makes, however, tend not to receive a full airing in the heat of political debate. “Unless he is able to explain it, it would raise some questions,” [Ron] Walters said.
Please. If someone thinks certain views are outrageous, then say so. Not that they could be misperceived that way if not fully explained, et cetera.