Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Time's very bad Kagan headline

by Eric Boehlert


Was Supreme Court Nominee Kagan a Youthful Socialist? 

The article by Time's David Von Drehle is about Elena Kagan's ancient, 1981 undergraduate thesis paper from her days at Princeton University, which, as most news consumers now know, was about socialism in America. Or, "was a detailed history of the rise and fall of New York's Socialist Party in the early 20th Century," as Von Drehle puts it. 

That's all well and good, but why the absurd headline suggesting that Kagan herself may have been a socialist? I mean really, if Kagan had written a detailed history of the Ku Klux Klan in America, would Time suggest that maybe Kagan was somehow a secret member? It's crazy. 

But that's the GOP-friendly angle the Time headline pushes, as well as the lede [emphasis added]: 

It's an impressive work for a young person -- and it is sparking questions about the extent to which the young Kagan had embraced left-wing views.

Oh really? Questions from whom? Which important, thoughtful commentators have suggested with a straight face that Kagan "embraced" socialism? Um, Erick Erickson at RedState. No joke. That's who Time points to as somebody who has raised the question of whether Kagan became a "youthful socialist" because she wrote an Ivy League paper on the topic. (Actually, right-winger Erickson claimed the paper "proved" Kagan was a communist.)

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