Monday, December 31, 2007

Observation about Kristol writing at the NYTimes:

Here is an excerpt from a story about the New York Times giving a rationale for hiring William Kristol to write in the op-ed pages:
The New York Times’ hiring of Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol to write for its op-ed page caused a frenzy in the liberal blogosphere Friday night, with threats of canceling subscriptions and claims that the Gray Lady had been hijacked by neo-cons.

But Times editorial page editor Andy Rosenthal sees things differently.

Rosenthal told Politico shortly after the official announcement Saturday that he fails to understand “this weird fear of opposing views.”

“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?”
Here's the deal. People aren't fearful of opposing views. Opposing views can be discussed in the news pages. Opposing views can be criticized in the op-ed pages. But it's a whole 'nother thing to put an advocate for an opposing view on the op-ed pages. And, pace Rosenthal, folks aren't fearful (nice ad hominem, though). They are pissed off.

To make the point painfully clear, consider what Bob Herbert wrote on the op-ed pages about the sex-slave trade:
What’s important to keep in mind is the great extent to which the sex trade involves real slavery (kidnapping and rape), widespread physical abuse, indentured servitude, exploitation of minors and many other forms of coercion. This modern-day variation on the ancient theme of bondage flourishes largely because of the indifference of the rest of us, and the misogyny that holds fast to the view of women — all women — as sexual commodities.
You can be damn sure that there are at least a few men who would take an "opposing view" on this matter. So why aren't they writing in the New York Times op-ed pages, presenting the upside for this kind of male entertainment? Because Andy Rosenthal doesn't want them there. He does, however, want Bill Kristol there. Not for the facile reason of presenting an "opposing view", but to advocate for said "opposing view" - which is the AEI/neo-con view. So, we can conclude that the "opposing view" explanation - at least read literaly, is bogus.

But let's look a little closer. The Times can address lots of views within the news pages. For example, they do that with global warming and evolution disputes. But there's no one on the op-ed pages promoting global-warming-denial or that Darwin was wrong (at least not yet). So why the exception for the neo-con? Probably because, at least in Rosenthal's mind, neo-con-ism is a credible opposing view. And what makes him credible? It's not his track record, that's for sure. However, Kristol is always extremely well dressed, is the editor of a magazine, and appears on television frequently (only FNC, natch). If only advocates for Intelligent Design had such a person. Then, perhaps, they would be deemed "respected" and "serious", and write for the Grey Lady.

By the way, it's not restricted to the New York Times. The Los Angeles Times gives Jonah Goldberg a weekly column, and he's the guy who advocates the "opposing view" that Liberals are fascists. Although, oddly enough, there are no columnists there who support Communism, Dominionism, or the theories of Velikovsky. Op-ed space is scarce, and choosing who writes there is reflective of a newspaper's ideology. The New York Times is not hostile to neo-cons, and so we will see William Kristol there in a short while.


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...

Of course, the problem is that K's neither serious nor respected.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/31/2007 10:22 AM  

The most amusing aspect of all of this is just how obvious they're making it that we have no free press and that there is an overt movement to convert the common man to a very twisted view of life. Do they honestly think that taking this path will result in our submission rather than full-on revolution?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/31/2007 12:16 PM  

About the promotion of viewpoints, there were the advertorials that Mobil pioneered on the NYTimes op/ed page. I seem to recall that Exxon continued the practice and may still do so though I haven't read the NYTimes regularly since the 1970s.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/31/2007 11:27 PM  

The New York Times isn't giving voice to opposing views by hiring Kristol. It is doing exactly the opposite. It is excluding opposing views by hiring yet another establishment liar to catapult the propaganda.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/01/2008 10:17 AM  

If they were sincere about the "opposing viewpoints" thing, every single major newspaper in the country would have a token Islamic fundamentalist, and a token Chinese-style Communist. They don't, because they aren't.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/02/2008 8:26 AM  

At least David Brooks respects opposing views and the readers enough to remain consistent in his incorrect views. Kristol couldn't care less when he's provably wrong. He only cares to support the glutton wing of the Bush barons and simply replaces his previous statements with the new, new contorted positions..and is never never being truthful.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/02/2008 8:46 AM  

Very well said. I'm new to uggabugga. I guess I've got some archives to peruse.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/02/2008 9:42 AM  

Good take. Still, the biggest issue I see is that Kristol is a disingenuous hack and he's hardly ever been right on anything. So nice that it continues to be true that if you're an imperialist, merit is no concern.

By Blogger Batocchio, at 1/02/2008 9:55 AM  

Now is the time to bring back Times Select.

By Blogger Farley, at 1/02/2008 10:31 AM  

One of the things I noticed is that they only have space for Op-Ed writers who already write from Washington or New York. Outsiders need not apply. And then when you add the class thing....

Who on the left is from DC or NY, went to Harvard or Yale, and already appears on TV frequently they could add?

By Blogger Gary, at 1/02/2008 12:36 PM  

Who on the left is from DC or NY, went to Harvard or Yale, and already appears on TV frequently they could add?

Amy Goodman

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/02/2008 4:40 PM  

It's just more self-loathing liberals, falling all over themselves to try to assuage far right in the face of accusations that they're not "fair and balanced." Still astonishing to me that they (and many like them among the MSM) haven't figured out yet that they're being rolled (and laughed at) by the Rove-schooled neocon bully-boys, who know full well that the more they scream and complain, the more the "reasonable liberals" (as Tom Tomorrow skewers them) will whiningly concede and grovel.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/03/2008 1:10 AM  

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