Liberal blogger Matt Yglesias likes to call his political opponents “dishonest,” but in a revealing exchange on the website Twitter Friday he advocated lying for political purposes.
“Fighting dishonesty with dishonesty is sometimes the right thing for advocates to do, yes,” said Yglesias.
The exchange, with Washington Examiner writer Mark Hemingway, came on the heels of a debate between the two on transportation policy.
Yglesias pressed his point with another conservative writer, saying, “Do you really think deception is immoral in all circumstances?”
In an interview, Yglesias said he was not referring to his own conduct as a blogger for the nonpartisan think tank, the Center for American Progress, in advocating dishonesty.
Asked who he meant by “advocates,” Yglesias said, “Politicians, things like that.” Not bloggers? “Not me. No I don’t think that’s conducive to what I do. I’m trying to inform people, so I try to present them with accurate information,” Yglesias said.
“What I write on my blog is honest,” Yglesias said.
Yglesias’s spat with Hemingway revolved around estimates for high-speed rail lines about how many people would ride on those trains. On that subject, Yglesias wrote more than a year ago that advocates for high-speed rail may need to present “unrealistically optimistic” ridership estimates to obtain government funding for the projects. “For better or for worse, that’s politics,” Yglesias said then.
But what set off a flurry of Tweets today – and Yglesias’s advocacy of lying – was a charge by Yglesias via Twitter that Washington Times reporter Eli Lake has a “deserved reputation for dishonesty.” Hemingway, Lake and others confronted Yglesias on Twitter about the charge, pointing out that Yglesias himself had actually advocated dishonesty.
Then, Yglesias dug in, saying lying was a necessary part of politics.
Yglesias’s Twitter opponents also charged he does not take criticism well.
In concluding his interview with The Daily Caller, Yglesias said “go fuck yourself” and hung up the phone.