Oh please God, just what the blog world needs: Martin Peretz. David Carr, in his too solicitous profile of The New Republic lets us in on the secret. The pro-Israel hack who “never met an Israeli military offensive he didn’t like” (Carr’s words, my beliefs precisely) will join the blog world next week. I don’t know about you but I can’t wait (cue gag reflex):
Martin Peretz, the editor in chief of the magazine and one of its owners, is less sanguine about the possibilities of online journalism than Mr. Foer. “The political dialogue has been digitally enhanced, but it has also been digitally diminished,” he said. He plans to address these issues, among other topics, on — what else? — a new blog called The Spine.
“I would hope the name is accurate, that I have the kind of conviction that will lend itself to the medium,” he said.
Oh, I have no doubt he’ll have conviction. But that’s all he’ll have: full of sound and conviction signifying nothing. All the rest will be ideological propaganda for his right-wing pro-Israel demagoguery.
His blog will have its debut next week. Mr. Peretz, who recently signed on to a committee to raise funds for I. Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Cheney’s former chief of staff, indicted on a perjury charge in the C.I.A. leak case, and who never met an Israeli military offensive he didn’t like, cares little for the conventions of objectivity that constrain most working journalists. Perhaps he was always a blogger waiting to happen. But is he ready for the blood sport that goes with it?
“I do not remember a time, even during the 60’s, when there was such uncivil discourse,” he said. “Even at Harvard.”
I do so look forward to reading his defense of Libby. I imagine that the latter has done some big favors for Aipac and the pro-Israel crowd over the years and they never leave their own behind wounded on the battlefield.
UPDATE: Here is part of what Peretz has to say about his good friend and “American patriot:”
Let me concede: I am a friend of Scooter Libby. But I do not like his boss. And I do not like his boss’s wife. I know this gets me no credit with the all-or-nothing crowd. Still, I like Scooter, who is quite brilliant, very honest, and brave. Also funny. I’ve contributed to The Libby Legal Defense Fund and have joined the fund’s advisory committee, which is not large because in Washington old pals dessert when even their college roommate gets into trouble. In a time when self-styled civil libertarians are giving money to defend Muslim terrorists, I am happy to help defend an American patriot, some of whose politics I do not share and some of whose politics I do, from a cynical onslaught of the special prosecutor who put journalists into jail for not telling him what he already knew.
C’mon Marty, you’re a neocon. Stop temporizing and beating around the bush (so to speak).
I bet there are a few of us lying in wait for Marty. But I also bet he won’t allow comments or if he does they’ll be heavily moderated. I don’t see him as someone who embraces a debate he can’t control.
UPDATE I: Marc Cooper has just written about The Spine’s inaugural post. It’s a turgid, stiff (get it, The Spine?), self-serving and self-promoting effort completely lacking in verve. I found this passage to be unintentionally funny for its self-delusion:
Then there is the spine of my past: a man in his mid-sixties, a family man with children, a teacher at Harvard for almost four decades, formerly of the New Left (very important to understanding my spine) now of the center, at the helm of The New Republic (which I have deliberately maintained as undogmatic center-left) for 32 years.
A “man of the center.” Indeed. But center of what? The Likud party? The Joe Lieberman party? How ’bout the New Republican representing the “undogmatic center-left?” That’s a real whopper.