Sunday, December 30, 2007

Kristol Mess? The Neocon Controversy at New York Times

The hiring of William Kristol at the New York Times triggered a Pavlovian reaction among the left-wing blogosphere. You've got to love it! Oh, the outrage! No, not the evil neocons at the Old Gray Lady!

See my earlier entry on Kristol's new position
here. The Times' decision to hire Kristol is discussed in this piece from the Editor & Publisher:

A day after the Huffington Post first reported it, The New York Times has announced that it has indeed hired conservative pundit, and Fox News analyst, Bill Kristol, as a new regular op-ed columnist.

Liberal bloggers had been up in arms over the move. Kristol said, in an interview with, it gave him some pleasure to see their "heads explode." Kristol was perhaps the most influential pundit of all in promoting the U.S. invasion of Iraq and has strongly defended the move ever since.

Times' editorial page editor Andy Rosenthal defended the move. Rosenthal told shortly after the official announcement Saturday that he fails to understand “this weird fear of opposing views....We have views on our op-ed page that are as hawkish or more so than Bill....

“The idea that The New York Times is giving voice to a guy who is a serious, respected conservative intellectual — and somehow that’s a bad thing,” Rosenthal added. “How intolerant is that?”

Unlike The Times’ other regulars, Kristol will write only once a week, with his first column set for Jan. 7, and he has just a one-year contract. The paper noted in its own announcement: "In a 2003 column on the turmoil within The Times that led to the downfall of the top two editors, he wrote that it was not 'a first-rate newspaper of record,' adding, 'The Times is irredeemable.'”

Kristol, on Fox News in 2006, suggested that the paper should face charges after its big banking records scoop: "I think it is an open question whether the Times itself should be prosecuted for this totally gratuitous revealing of an ongoing secret classified program that is part of the war on terror.”

In 2003, on NPR's "Fresh Air" show, he said, "There's been a certain amount of pop sociology in America ... that the Shia can't get along with the Sunni....Iraq's always been very secular."

In the July 14, 2006 issue of The Weekly Standard, which he edits, Kristol called for a "military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. Why wait? Does anyone think a nuclear Iran can be contained? That the current regime will negotiate in good faith? It would be easier to act sooner rather than later. Yes, there would be repercussions--and they would be healthy ones, showing a strong America that has rejected further appeasement."

Kristol, in the current issue of The Weekly Standard, argues that Gen. David Petraeus should have been picked as Time's person of the year, but "Our liberal elites are so invested in a narrative of defeat and disaster in Iraq that to acknowledge the prospect of victory would be too head-wrenching and heart-rending." In the Dec. 17 issue he argued, "Resisting the temptation to throw away success in Iraq by drawing down too fast or too deep is the greatest service this president can render his successor."
Well, the editors of the Editor & Publisher don't sound too happy about Kristol's new gig!

See more commentary at
Memeorandum, and especially this piece over at The Politico. Or Check out Greg Mitchell's blog, who's hoping Kristol will be "laughed off the page."