New York Magazine apparently believes that opposing foreign aid is literally xenophobic - rooted in irrational fear of foreigners - and is willing to engage in some pretty sketchy journalistic practices to make its case. Those are a pair of lessons Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., learned on Tuesday.
Paul's opposition to all foreign aid - including that given to Israel - is not so much "anti-Zionism," New York wrote. "Actually, it's more xenophobic," since he opposes it as a matter of policy. The New York article went on to selectively quote a Politico piece noting that Paul “skipped out on [Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s] speech, sitting quietly at his desk shuffling through papers and newspapers,” in what was described as a “silent protest of America's foreign aid to Israel.” While that is of course worth noting, New York then chose to ignore the four subsequent paragraphs addressing Paul's defense.
Whether or not Paul was actually protesting the speech is a secondary point. New York Magazine is apparently bent on ignoring facts that contradict - or even claims that present alternatives to - their attack on Paul.
Here's what New York had to say about Paul's supposed protest:
At least one member of Congress wasn't clapping — or even listening. Tea party freshman Rand Paul, "staging what appeared to be a silent protest of America's foreign aid to Israel," opted instead to shuffle through papers on his desk. But don't mistake Paul's protest as anti-Zionist. Actually, it's more xenophobic. Earlier this year, he came under fire from both sides of the aisle for proposing cutting all U.S. foreign aid.
Claiming opposition to foreign aid is "xenophobic" uses the same delusional reasoning that wrote off all opposition to Obama as racism. By this reasoning, all too prevalent among liberal media types, disagreement can only stem from some irrational hatred of "the other." To New York Magazine, Paul not agreeing with a distinctly liberal brand of foreign policy can only be rooted in bigotry.
New York drew from the first paragraph of Politico's article, but completely ignored the four following paragraphs, which detailed Paul's defense. Assuming New York actaully read the Politico article it quoted, there really is no way it could have missed Paul's defense. But alas, it did not consider that defense noteworthy.
As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received a warm welcome from a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, freshman Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) skipped out on the speech, sitting quietly at his Senate desk shuffling through papers and newspapers.
Earlier this year, Paul proposed eliminating all U.S. aid to Israel, but his office and other Republican senators said Paul’s decision to remain on the Senate floor during the address concerned a dispute with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) over amendments Paul proposed to the Patriot Act extension.
Paul, a tea-party-backed senator who opposes the Patriot Act, has said he wants to “drag out” the process of renewing key provisions of the counter-terrorism law which expire Friday. He remained on the floor through most of Tuesday – including during the speech – to block Democrats from asking for unanimous consent which would allow the chamber to immediately move onto the bill.
Paul spokeswoman Moira Bagley flatly denied Paul’s absence was related to Israel funding, pointing out that her boss had heard Netanyahu speak Monday night while attending the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference.
“This is about the PATRIOT Act and Reid not yet keeping his agreement on amendments,” Bagley said.
New York Magazine completely ignored half the story in its effort to tar Paul as xenophobic, apparently dismissing the possibility of there being any other logical reason for him to sit out Netanyahu's congressional address.