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Murdoch gives the NY Times a Trojan Horse for Christmas: Bill Kristol’s new weekly column 12/30/07

Posted by Steve Boriss in Murdoch, NYTimes.

Rupert Murdoch is too savvy, shrewd, engaged, and competitive for me to take this Politico article at face value. For one year, the editor of Murdoch’s Weekly Standard magazine, conservative Bill Kristol, will be writing a weekly column for the New York Times — at the same time Murdoch’s newly-acquired Wall Street Journal (WSJ) will be trying to sink the Times in head-to-head competition. NY Times editorial page editor Andy Rosenthal sounds sincere when he hails Bill Kristol as a man he respects intellectually and personally, and whose election season column will provide opposing views that Times readers will appreciate. But if Kristol’s column will be so good for the Times, why would Murdoch allow it? Here are two possible reasons.

First, Murdoch knows that the sound of Kristol’s name is like fingernails against a chalkboard to those with positions to the left of the center-left Times, and might alienate those Times readers. They will resent that a platform has been given to the genial, charming, and sensible face at ground zero of the “neo-conservatism” movement that they vilify. Many already suspect that the Times is actually right-wing, having accepted the government’s WMD rationale for the Iraq war. Kristol’s appointment may put them over the top, as it did The Nation’s Katha Pollitt, who pleaded “just shoot me.”

Second, Murdoch may understand Times readers better than the Times does, recognizing it is contrary to human nature for audiences to enjoy columns written by those with whom they disagree. When Murdoch pairs conservative Sean Hannity with liberal Alan Colmes on the same Fox News Channel show, he knows he is merely entertaining conservatives by giving them an opportunity to watch the mainstream media’s center-left views, which they find irritating and unavoidable, get smacked-down by their own worldviews. But for Times readers who can easily avoid daily exposure to conservative views, Bill Kristol will not only seem wrong, but also selfish, mean-spirited, and morally deficient. This Christmas, Murdoch gave the NY Times a gift worse than a lump of coal — he gave them a Trojan Horse.


1. Megatron - 12/30/07

Impressive logic. He’s a spy! And that Prius you drive is secretly a decepticon! Drive it into the Pacific!

You aren’t paranoid at all, by the way.

2. Mike Collins - 12/30/07

“…contrary to human nature for audiences to enjoy columns written by those with whom they disagree…”

Yes,….if you are a child. What a silly statement! But typical of today’s liberal, for whom honest debate, and the opportunity to share diverse opinion, and possible evolve one’s position is verboten. The author, I believe might have felt physical pain reading the transcripts of the Lincoln-Douglass debates.

Only a closed mind, be it Liberal or Conservative, is threatened by diverse opinion. Only a fascist is concerned about opposing points of view being heard by others. When one is confident that their position is correct, it is not threatened by opposition.

Make no mistake, most Conservatives do loathe Liberals. The difference, is that we do not fear you, or your rhetoric. Bring it on!

3. Ken - 12/30/07

“Only a fascist is concerned about opposing points of view being heard by others”

Have you seen the comments on many lefty websites regarding the NYT and Kristol? Ay carumba, their world is coming to an end due to this.

4. ForNow - 12/30/07

For a while the NYT op-ed had both Brooks and Tierney. Now they have Brooks and, just once a week, Kristol. So now conservatives are down to 1.5 berths on the op-ed page.

Actually, some conservatives are a bit miffed at this neocon lock on the conservative berths in the NYT oped page and wish that a conservative like Sowell or Steyn had been asked. But all this demonization, — relax and remember that it’s from Alinsky’s playbook, unless that’s your speed. I mean, Katha Pollit went so overboard as to ask for Noam Chomsky (who defended the Khmer Rouge for years) to get a regular column there.

5. Bill Sluis - 12/30/07

My New Year’s resolution is to read everything, learn everything and then to read the New York Times and shudder at the navel-gazing inherant in ‘Pinch’ Sulzberger’s Folly.

6. Patrick Carroll - 12/30/07

You ask why Murdoch would allow it. I ask why Rosenthal would invite it. Maybe because Bill Kristol is a man he respects intellectually and personally, and whose election season column will provide opposing views that Times readers will appreciate.

Sometimes a carrot is just a cigar, Dr. Freud.

7. ElanMagen - 12/30/07

Simpler than all that really. Kristol gets Safire’s old Israel job.

8. Ahmadi - 12/30/07

The left is self-imploding.

After the left supported the murder of 600,000 innocent Iraqis in the hand of their friends — death squad and suicider Islamist (“authentic sigh of the massess, with an alternate regime of truth”) pals, who they call “guerrillas” and “freedom fighters” fighting for “liberties and justice”, the left deserves much worse than this.

The left has lost the socialism ideology wars, and has now turned against democracy to continue with their project.

9. Jeffrey Smith - 12/31/07

You know, the Times may just be getting “religion.”
It is obvious that the ideological program they were engaged in could not be sustained over the long haul. The disastrous decline in stock price alone illustrates this. In a competitive environment enhanced by new competition from a revitalized (I hope) Wall Street Journal, hiring Kristol, promoting Tanenhaus and running some articles that that cut against the usual lefty pap, may be a version of “New Economic Policy” for the Times. The Sulzberger family can’t be happy that their fortunes are sinking and a quiet word may have been had.
Could this be Pinch co opting Rupert as opposed to vice versa?

10. Jacques Poirier - 1/16/08

Irritants can either generate a pearl or kill the host. I think that when NYT finds out how many subscription will be gone by the end of the month they might cut the hemorrhage and fire the cheap and dangerous little Murdock water boy.

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