One of my readers just informed me that the NY Times announced on December 30th that it had hired Bill Kristol to write a weekly column (HuffPost broke the story on December 28th–where have I been?). Say what? You heard me: Bill Kristol. David Brooks is bad enough and John Tierney was pretty horrible until he moved to the Science section. But what does Bill Kristol have to offer NY Times readers? Yet another apologia for the Iraq war? Another saber rattling about war against Iran? Where our next military adventure will occur? What will we learn from this guy?
Kristol acknowledges he and Time Magazine, where he wrote a column, just severed their relationship “by mutual consent.” Why is the Times picking up Time’s dregs? It wasn’t bad enough that the Times fronted for Judith Miller and then supported her till the bitter end. Now they need to bring in another member of the cheerleading squad for American adventurism abroad.
Phil Weiss correctly notes the Times announcement mistakenly labels Kristol a “conservative” and called his father, Irving Kristol, a founder of the American conservative movement. I guess the Times doesn’t realize it hired a NEO conservative whose father was one of the founders of American neoconservatism. Isn’t that pathetic that the Times (at least this reporter) didn’t realize the difference (which is pretty vast).
Phil also notes that Kristol’s mother is Gertrude Himmelfarb, one of the intellectual forces behind Commentary. This fact made me realize that Kristol is a first-cousin of Martha Himmelfarb, who I knew (though not well) when she attended Barnard and I attended the Joint Program in the 1970s.
I would say in all the time Brooks has written for them I’ve read maybe five of his columns. Kristol will no doubt be no different.
It’d be nice to think that this decision had something to do with the old Mafia saying: “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” At least that would mean the Times editors want to know what conservatives are thinking in order to better refute their propaganda. But I doubt that’s the case this time.
I wouldn’t have minded so much if they’d found a conservative with a conscience and a certain degree of humility. Someone interested in creating a dialogue on both sides of the political aisle. Kristol is about as interested in doing that as I’m interested in becoming a Catholic. And I’m just about as interested in reading his crap in the Times’ pages.