Challenge to David Bernstein

He attacks the New York Times for a story concerning McCain’s mendacity. Is he willing to defend McCain in a face-to-face debate?

Volokh Conspirator David Bernstein thinks the New York Times was being “one-sided” when it reported Joy Behar’s challenge to two of John McCain’s assertions without reporting Behar’s political orientation. If Bernstein has any objection to McCain’s tactics, he doesn’t say so in his post.

If Bernstein is willing to defend the two claims by the McCain campaign that Behar called (accurately, in my view) “lies,” my challenge to go on is out there. To date, no defender of McCain has picked up the gantlet.

If, as would be natural, Bernstein is unwilling to defend those claims because they were, in fact, lies, then I’m not sure I see what the fuss is supposed to be about. As Tom Edsall points out today, the McCain Campaign is blazing new trails in mendacity, trying to rewrite the rules of Presidential campaigning to include no truth constraint whatsoever. Part of the strategy is to “poison the well” by pre-emptively discrediting the press, thus protecting the lies from effective exposure. Bernstein’s willingness to collude in that effort comes as a disappointment.

The willingness of some of Bernstein’s commenters to try to parse the law Obama voted for as requiring that kindergartners be taught every element of a comprehensive K-12 sex education program is not, alas, a disappointment. It’s what we’ve come to expect out there in ditto-head land.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: