The Washington Post on Tuesday retracted an op-ed writer’s distorted attempt to link conservative author J.D. Vance to white nationalism.
Left-wing writer Marissa Brostoff penned an op-ed for the Post accusing the mainstream pro-life movement of aligning with white nationalists.
Brostoff’s accusation depended on two examples: pariah Republican Iowa Rep. Steve King—whose comments on white nationalism were unanimously condemned by Republicans in January—and a quote from Vance’s July 16 speech at the National Conservatism Conference.
“Our people aren’t having enough children to replace themselves. That should bother us,” Brostoff quoted Vance saying. “Vance did not spell out exactly who was included in the word ‘our.’ He didn’t need to,” she concluded, implying that he was stoking fears about white birthrates specifically.
Vance made clear in his speech that he was talking about national birthrates, not just among white people: “There are a lot of ways to measure a healthy society, but the most important way to measure a healthy society is by whether a nation is having enough children to replace itself.”
The Post added an editor’s note after a backlash: “An earlier version of this story suggested that the author J.D. Vance lamented a falloff in white births; he was actually talking about American births.”
A spokesman for the paper declined to provide additional comment.
Contrary to Brostoff’s portrayal of Vance, the conservative author is in an interracial marriage and has a biracial son.
The misleading op-ed was widely denounced as a smear among conservatives, who pointed out that white nationalists like Richard Spencer often support abortion as a means to limiting minority populations.
Declining domestic birth rates in highly industrialized nations is a major public policy problem and branding it racist to talk about it is a non sequitur. Mind-numbing and silly.— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) August 27, 2019
Washington Examiner writer Tiana Lowe wrote that “it’s hard not to conclude that Brostoff’s piece was an intentionally vicious attempt at character assassination.”
National Review’s David French, who defended Vance as “a good man,” wrote: “The Post has published a number of pieces that lump prominent conservatives together with truly vile racists they oppose and that lump them together without the slightest shred of justification. Disgusting.”
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