National Review writer distorts my piece on Adam Laxalt

You write stuff, you get criticized.

Do it long enough and you are called many names by trolls and blowhards, partisans and pedants. Fair enough.

But rarely have I seen anything as mendacious as what was posted by Kathryn Jean Lopez at National Review Online’s “The Corner” Wednesday evening.

First let me say that I am a great admirer of NRO writers and contributors, including Jonah Goldberg and Jim Geraghty. But this post by Lopez is simply a tendentious piece of garbage, which intentionally misquotes what I wrote in Politico Magazine about Adam Laxalt and then allows the attorney general candidate to lament “the missed opportunity” to discuss the campaign’s substance when he – wait for it – refused to be interviewed for my piece, a fact Lopez did not mention.

Lopez begins by criticizing my piece for not being about the candidate but mostly about his family. Not so. The story explores how a complete political unknown would have support from national GOP figures – the answer is that his grandfather is Paul Laxalt, a once-towering Nevada political presence.

This is the paragraph that raised my blood pressure the most, the third one in her post, the pivot point of her entire article:

Her son is the aforementioned candidate, Adam Laxalt, and he is running for state attorney general. Which Jon Ralston describes in his Politico piece as a “joke.”

No niceties needed here: This is a lie.

You can read my piece for yourself, but she is twisting part of a quote – and it’s not from me but from a GOP source in Nevada who suggests the race would not be competitive (“a total joke,” he said) if Laxalt’s last name were different. This is no Delphic feat of political punditry; it’s obvious.

My comment in the piece after the source’s quote is: “But his name is Adam Laxalt, and that’s why Democrats aren’t laughing.” That is, Ms. Lopez, I explicitly don’t think his candidacy is a joke.

Indeed, the piece has several quotes from his supporters suggesting the contest could be close and concludes with one source saying that if Laxalt keeps the contest tight into the fall, he could win.

So I did not say, nor does the piece say, nor do I think that his candidacy is a joke.

Lopez also wrote: Adam’s youth and pedigree leads Nevada’s most respected political reporter to declare the candidate a “cipher until recently.”

Adam? How familiar.

Thanks for the respect, Ms. Lopez, but my use of the word "cipher" had nothing to do with his age or family history. Laxalt the Younger simply has been invisible in Nevada until he decided to run for AG. That's called a fact.

Then there is this:

Laxalt lamented the “missed opportunity to discuss the substance of the campaign and the importance of the job” in the piece.

Missed opportunity! Laxalt would not be interviewed for the piece. I tried several avenues to get him to talk; he rebuffed all of them. You know what that is? Lamentable.

Most of the post features Lopez simply allowing Laxalt to go on unchallenged about how wonderful he is, how he is connecting with voters and donors and so on. She has every right to post a puff piece about him. So be it.

But if she has any ethics whatsoever, she should immediately correct her piece and append the important fact that Laxalt refused to talk to me. If she does not do so, her post will remain – and you can quote me – a joke.