How Many Offended People Does It Take to Make True Facts “Inaccurate”?
HH: So tell me if you would, specifically, what was offensive, and specifically, what was inaccurate?
TM: And let me be clear, and I actually wrote an email to Mr. Will’s secretary today explaining the same question. He had a question about the inaccuracy. We weren’t referring necessarily to a factual inaccuracy, but we believed that the very assumption or opinion that sexual assault victims in any way on college campuses are seeking privileged status, or that universities are trying to bestow that status on women, is completely inaccurate, and don’t believe that the evidence shows that that is to be true. And mostly, it’s offensive. It allows, it continues for the victimization of women and diminishes the importance that we should place on the very serious prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses.
HH: Did you, so you are agreeing there is no place where a factual inaccuracy exists in Mr. Will’s column?
TM: To the best of my knowledge, no, there is not, and we did not correct one.
Mr. Messenger reflects well the spirit of Mrs. Clinton’s injunction that “We cannot let a minority of people — and that’s what it is, it is a minority of people — hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people.”
Except Mr. Will is quite an influential columnist. And it’s not at all clear that the vocal contingent who, even if they would put it so strongly as feeling “terrorized,” represent a “majority of people.”
So my question to those who support Mr. Messenger’s claim: What number of people claiming to take offense must there be to justify his statement? And I’m not talking about just his decision to fire Will. While I disagree with his pusillanimity, a paper’s business decisions get a wider berth than their purported justifications. Messenger chose to offer a statement supporting his decision, and that statement is objectively false.
Unless, that is, someone can explain the alchemy of how offense turns fact into “inaccuracy.”