This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things

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An amateurish conservative media on display:


A conservative journalist has admitted to infiltrating the group of protesters who clashed with security at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum on Saturday -- and he openly claims to have instigated the events that prompted the museum to close. 

Patrick Howley, an assistant editor at the American Spectator, says that he joined the group under the pretense that he was a demonstrator. "As far as anyone knew I was part of this cause -- a cause that I had infiltrated the day before in order to mock and undermine in the pages of The American Spectator," Howley wrote. (The language in the story has since been changed without explanation.)

The story has since been taken down, but you can read it here.

Dave Weigel isn't buying the provocateur argument, though I'm not sure why. "In order to mock an undermine" seems pretty damning. 

Anyway, as an opinion journalist, it's always a good idea to maintain some distance between yourself and the activist who have your sympathies. You may think it would be totally hilarious to disrupt a pinko commie rally. But you can't really do it and expect to be taken seriously.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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