Beyond "Beyond the Headlines"

by David Weigel

Justin Raimondo bases his latest column on my post about Dana Milbank's coverage of Mearsheimer and Walt's appearance at the National Press Club. Milbank saw a sloppy presentation and picked it apart; I called the column "brutal."

Milbank, "brutal"? Oh please the Washington political gossip   columnist's sneering "review"   of the distinguished scholars' performance consists of noting that Mearsheimer   pronounced two congressmen's names incorrectly (a big no-no in D.C., where politicians   are akin to rock stars) and the same tired,   old accusations of anti-Semitism if anyone looks cross-eyed at the   Lobby or its partisans. Oh, but you see, Mearsheimer is claiming to be an   "expert" on how policy gets made in Washington, therefore not getting   two congressmen's names right effectively debunks everything he has to say.   And that is what passes for "logic"   among the Washington cognoscenti.

Well, that wasn't everything Milbank saw. And those weren't the parts I played up. What I played up was Mearsheimer's misrepresentation of a poll on the Israel-Hezbollah conflict and the weird "Fight the Israel Lobby" button that he happily accepted after the speech. The bogus usage of the poll was, to me, Mearsheimer's biggest mistake. Like I implied earlier, I take their arguments seriously and would love it if a serious debate broke out about the subject of their research. Curiously self-serving mistakes like this make it easier for the screeching Krauthammers of the world to dismiss Mearsheimer et al as anti-semites and frauds, and I absolutely don't want that.

Raimondo links to the C-Span tape of the speeches, which is still worth a listen.