This is kind of an inside-baseball Washington story that I usually don’t care much about, but it caught my eye because I am a former Heritage intern and have fond memories of my time there.

On Monday The Heritage Foundation held a panel discussion on Benghazi. It’s a think tank, they hold panel discussions all the time, and for whatever reason Dana Milbank decided he was going to attend this one.
Strike that – I think I know the reason.
Milbank’s bio at the Washington Post calls him a "reporter", but in fact Milbank is a very liberal columnist who spend years appearing on the Keith Olbermann showCountdown. Anyone see that show? Didn’t think so. Anyone think Olbermann is going to talk to someone who doesn’t agree with his viewpoint? Nope.
The only reason a liberal Washington Post reporter goes to a Heritage Foundation event is to get dirt. Milbank thought he found was he was looking for and wrote a column about it.
EDIT: Link not working – see here:
Heritage (not surprisingly) disagreed with Milbank’s assertions and Media Matters for America, of all places, dug up a video of the exchange Milbank spends most of his column on.
Armed with this video, Dylan Byers wrote a column calling Milbank’s reporting a "disaster."
Byers details all the places where the video contradicts Milbank’s reporting while leaving open the possibility that Milbank, having been in the room at the time, may have seen something the video didn’t capture.
Not about to be shown up by Politico, Milbankfired back todaywith another column defending his reporting and doubling down on the "hateful Heritage" narrative he laid out in his first column.
If you’re interested, read all three columns. If you’re not, just read Dylan Byers and watch the video he posted (about 9 minutes long).
Milbank’s disdain focuses on two things – (1) Brigitte Gabriel’s response to a question posed by a woman named Saba Ahmed, and (2) the response to that answer from the crowd in attendance.
I’d heard the name Brigitte Gabriel before, but couldn’t remember where so I Googled her. After you watch the video read the first paragraphof thislinkand then think about her answer again.
So here we have a question from a Muslim woman answered by a Lebanese Christian woman who as a child was wounded and saw her house destroyed by Islamic militants. Is Gabriel not supposed to be just a little bit passionate about her views? Milbank missed a huge story here, but it doesn’t fit his narrative so he discarded it.
Her answer does get a lengthy applause from the crowd but that’s likely because they know and understand her history.
What Milbank’s columns are really saying is that he doesn’t understand conservatives. A couple years ago University of Virginia ProfessorJonathan Haidtwrote a book suggesting that liberals have a harder time understanding the ideological positions of conservatives. This is the kind of ignorance Milbank puts on display here.
He goes on about the creepiness of Heritage, quoting Brian Beutler at the New Republic (a leftist publication) saying "the video format in general does a disservice to how uncomfortable lopsided encounters in that strange environment really are. It’s really jarring, and difficult to dislodge."
The Heritage Foundation was, during my time there, home to some of the nicest, most gracious people I’ve ever met. Panel discussions – and I’ve attended more than a few – were always respectful and all viewpoints were welcomed, as evidenced by the video of that day’s event.
It’s only creepy if you’re a liberal who disagrees with the values and ideals Heritage espouses.
This is really Milbank’s issue – but he can’t say this because he’s a "neutral" reporter.
Life would be a lot simpler – but perhaps less fun (?) – if he could just scrape up the courage to say what he’s really thinking.
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