Sunday, June 01, 2008


You might recall the Wingnut Luttwak op-ed in which he claimed Obama was an Islamic apostate and thus much more likely to be assassinated. Via Atrios, I learn that the Public Editor has come out and said the op-ed was FALSE and misleading.

Did Luttwak cross the line from fair argument to falsehood? Did Times editors fail to adequately check his facts before publishing his article? Did The Times owe readers a contrasting point of view?

I interviewed five Islamic scholars, at five American universities, recommended by a variety of sources as experts in the field. All of them said that Luttwak’s interpretation of Islamic law was wrong.

David Shipley, the editor of the Op-Ed page, said Luttwak’s article was vetted by editors who consulted the Koran, associated text, newspaper articles and authoritative histories of Islam. No scholars of Islam were consulted because “we do not customarily call experts to invite them to weigh in on the work of our contributors,” he said.

That’s a pity in this case, because it might have sparked a discussion about whether Luttwak’s categorical language was misleading, at best.

Luttwak can't come to terms with this and insists he is correct and the Islamic scholars, all 5 of them, are wrong:
Luttwak said the scholars with whom I spoke were guilty of “gross misrepresentation” of Islam, which he said they portrayed as “a tolerant religion of peace;” he called it “intolerant.”

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