JESSE SINGAL: If You Can’t See That Adam Rubenstein Was Treated Unfairly, You’re Being A Jerk.

Perhaps the most famous journalist to express this view was the Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Times Magazine journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones. “Never happened,” she tweeted. Jon Levine, a journalist at the New York Post, asked a reasonable follow-up question: “How can you say that? Have you reported this out? Or do you just not like Adam?” To which Hannah-Jones responded, in a now-deleted tweet: “I’ve worked at the NYT for nearly a decade. That’s how I know.”

That was more or less the level of reasoning on display on Tuesday: I know this didn’t happen. How do I know? I just know. The problem was, Rubenstein had contemporaneously told a number of people about the sandwich event, including Levine and Bari Weiss, and they started coming forward to say so. This didn’t prove it happened, but it did seriously alter the factual contours of the story: for the story to be false, it would have to be the case that Rubenstein fabricated it, at the time, well before he was in any trouble at the Times, to a bunch of his friends. Why?

Anyway, I decided to take Hobbes up on his brilliant suggestion and send an email. A few hours later, an Atlantic spokeswoman responded with a bit more information about the fact-checking process: the details of the sandwich story, she wrote to me, “were confirmed by New York Times employees who had contemporaneous knowledge of the incident in question.”

I don’t think this proves the incident occurred the way independent confirmation from someone who was in attendance would, but on the other hand, come on. The remaining skeptics are demonstrating a textbook example of an isolated demand for rigor: If something happened to a left-leaning person in 2019 that made a right-leaning group look bad, and there was this much evidence for it, of course the sandwich truthers would disseminate it without any further thought. To take one of countless examples, in 2020 Hannah-Jones helped fan an absolutely unhinged conspiracy theory about the government using fireworks to undermine the Black Lives Matter movement before (to her credit) deleting the tweet and apologizing. That theory was evidence-based enough for her to disseminate it. Hell, she had no qualms about immediately calling Rubenstein a liar — a tweet that’s still up — despite being extremely well-positioned to quietly make a call or two and learn more about this incident prior to rendering judgement. I am not particularly well-connected to the Times, but even I have dug up some further off-the-record details (update: I should have mentioned that Megan McArdle also learned more about the incident and publicly said she’s convinced it happened), and it wasn’t difficult to do so. Hannah-Jones obviously could have done the same, but it was more important to tweet and to smear.

During the 20th century, New York Times reporters covered two world wars, Vietnam, and Korea. However, America’s Newspaper of Record reports that their young replacements aren’t holding up as well under pressure: Bomb Squad Called Into New York Times Offices After Discovery Of Suspicious Chick-Fil-A Bag.

UPDATE: Megyn Kelly and Mary Katharine Ham on the Gray Lady’s “Chick-Fil-A Truthers” and their meltdown over first chicken sandwiches and then an op-ed by a US senator: