At least in this case, it's true. Turns out Salon, a left-wing website so rabid it routinely refers to conservatives as "wing-nuts" in headlines and prints opinions so bizarre I read it just to gawk, agrees with me on one point: Slate's Jamelle Bouie has no idea what he is talking about.
Hello? Aren't editors supposed to fact-check?
By the time both the conservative National Center for Public Policy Research and the left-wingnut Salon say a piece is wrong -- and for the same reason! -- there's strong reason to question the merits of a piece.
There are thousands of people of all political persuasions who would gladly write opinion pieces for major newspapers -- newspapers should never settle for writers who are loose with the facts. (If they do, what is the point of having newspapers at all?)
For those who didn't already see it, here's my blog post from yesterday criticizing Bouie's work.
Here's how Salon criticized Bouie:
...left-leaning opinionators frequently go after education topics with all the sophistication of a high school cheerleader on game day.
The latest example of this is from Jamelle Bouie who waded into the current controversy about the Common Core the other day with a piece on Slate. Sizing up the controversy over new standards as exclusively a matter of “conservative tribalism” versus “President Obama’s embrace of it,” Bouie decided I’m with Obama. And, That’s it.
By conflating differences of opinion over the new standards with Republican objections to light bulb regulations, the Koch Brothers war on solar energy, and George Will’s disdain for mass transit, Bouie assigned disputes over the Common Core to the category of other polarized issues that liberals are supposed to contest against conservative troglodytes.
Nowhere does Bouie consider that maybe some liberals have problems with the Common Core and that maybe there are some good reasons for their concerns..."
Yes. Maybe there are good reason for their concerns. The left's concerns, and the right's concerns.
Bouie proved he knows little about criticism of Common Core or the politics and economics of the light bulb ban. Furthermore, his evidence that the right dislikes expensive mass transit programs only because the left likes them was both scant and contradicted by his own comment ("to the right-wing, mass transit is just another liberal attempt to force Americans into a kind of brutalist conformity").
Understanding issues and analyzing actual concerns takes more work than writing pieces with a simplistic left-good; right-bad meme. Maybe that's too much to expect from Slate.
But perhaps there's hope. If you had asked me yesterday, I would have said it was too much for Salon.