Monday, January 26, 2009

End Of An Error


Goodbye New York Times, hello Washington Post.

Your liberal media: still not liberal.
William Kristol is gone from the New York Times.

The thing is, this clown never should have been hired to begin with. His columns were riddled with embarrassing errors, even in his very first piece.

Look, it’s fine to offer a conservative opinion in your op-ed pages but what is up with hiring political operatives for this task? Folks like Kristol have drunk so much Kool-Aid, they are deeply in the tank for the GOP, rendering their “opinion” nothing more than RNC talking points. That’s not reality-based opinion, that’s media spin:
Such willful blurring of the line between journalists and political partisans has consequences. One is the shock—even outrage—that results when a journalist has the temerity to behave like one. Recall the uproar when CNN’s Brown challenged Tucker Bounds, McCain’s spokesman, to provide an example of a decision Sarah Palin had made in her role as commander in chief of the Alaska National Guard. The McCain camp had held up this experience as evidence of her readiness for the vice presidency, and when Brown asked Bounds to back up that claim, he either could not or would not—and Brown wouldn’t let it go. Bounds cried foul, suggesting she was somehow out of line. Hmmm. Tenacity and an adversarial tone. That does seem suspicious. In the days following that exchange, there was far too much serious discussion of Bounds’s ridiculous charge.

The Brown-Bounds dustup was an early salvo in the McCain campaign’s full-throated deployment of the well-worn media-bashing strategy—a strategy that benefits when everyone (from Nick Kristof to Bill Kristol to the anonymous blogger on the partisan site Daily Kos who spread a rumor that Palin’s newborn son actually belonged to Palin’s seventeen-year-old daughter Bristol) is mashed together under the banner of The Media. Serious news outlets do themselves—and the rest of us—no favors by encouraging this distorted understanding of what they do and why.

I’m no fan of Nick Kristof but as the CJR pointed out in December, Kristol,

writing once a week since January, has had five published corrections for errors of fact in his column; the former, [Kristof] writing twice a week in that same period, has had no published corrections but did take the extraordinary step of using an entire column to apologize to Steven J. Hatfill, the scientist who was named (and recently exonerated) by the government as the leading suspect in the 2001 anthrax attacks; in 2002, Kristof had written columns urging closer scrutiny of the then-anonymous “person of interest” who turned out to be Hatfill.

Let’s hope the New York Times learned a valuable lesson from its failed Kristol experiment and quit blurring the lines between political operatives and journalists.