Time Magazine’s Constitutional Illiterate, Richard Stengel

Bradley J. Fikes Bradley J. Fikes Leave a Comment


Richard “Scholar” Stengel, Time’s managing editor, has written a stupendously error-packed essay on the U.S. Constitution. This monument to ahistoricity contains howlers such as a claim that the Constitution makes it “… impossible for someone who was not physically born here to run for President.”

Tell that to John McCain, who was born in the Panama Canal Zone.  Stengel apparently hasn’t heard of jus sanguinis, or that the U.S. allows natural born citizenship for children of American citizens born abroad.

You can read a very comprehensive fisking of these errors at Patterico’s blog by clicking this sentence.

Stengel’s errors are too many to list in a short post (go to the link above for the whole enchilada. But for Rostrafarians I’ll give one more that should make anyone acquainted with early American history gasp in disbelief:

“The truth is, the Constitution massively strengthened the central government of the U.S. for the simple reason that it established one where none had existed before.”

Had Stengel kept in mind the Constitution’s opening words about “a more perfect union,” he might have remembered that before the Constitution we had the Articles of Confederation.

But Stengel wasn’t concerned with such details as accuracy, his is an advocacy piece to defend the constitutionality of ObamaCare.  And it gets worse: Stengel is a former president and CEO of the National Constitution Center.  As with many of his media peers, when constitutional knowledge clashes with a political agenda, Stengel chooses his agenda over scholarship.

The real shame for my profession is that journalists consider Stengel to be a reputable colleague, when his opinions have more in common with a howling street maniac. Any journalists who wonder why the public holds them in low regard should consider Stengel’s spectacularly ill-informed propaganda.


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