Reporter Turned NY Times Editor Firestone Rips Ryan: 'Intellectual Dishonesty Is Compounded By Cowardice'

Running scared? New York Times editorial board member and former Times reporter David Firestone, who has never hidden his liberalism in either position, accused vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan of "dishonesty" and "cowardice" on the Opinion Editor's blog early Thursday afternoon, "Beyond Factual Dishonesty."

An army of fact-checkers swarmed around Paul Ryan’s acceptance speech last night, and the verdict was swift and unanimous: lies, omissions, a sweeping rewrite of recent history. But there’s one question no checker can answer: Why was it necessary to lie in the first place?

Mr. Ryan could have made a sharp critique of the Obama years without changing the underlying facts. That he chose not to do so suggests he isn’t sure the facts are on his side.

Take the GM plant in his hometown of Janesville, which he suggested closed because of President Obama, when it really shut down in 2008, before he took office. More importantly, he failed to mention that the Obama administration’s bailout of the auto industry saved most of the GM plants and hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Actually, the plant slowed production but as the local paper noted, was still making trucks until April 2009, during the Obama administration.

Firestone oddly accused Ryan of "the deeper sin of intellectual dishonesty" and "cowardice" for not coming out against government bailouts of private industry:

If Mr. Ryan is opposed to a government bailout of private industry, as Mitt Romney was, why not stand up at the podium and forcefully make the case against it? The outlines of that argument are well-known – the bailout subsidizes the unions, it picks favorites, it distorts the free market, etc. Forget factual dishonesty; failing to even bring up the matter commits the deeper sin of intellectual dishonesty.

The reason, of course, is that the bailout is broadly popular among blue-collar workers in many of the swing states the Republican ticket needs to win, including Mr. Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin. Thus intellectual dishonesty is compounded by cowardice.

-- Clay Waters is Editor of the MRC's TimesWatch site