Thursday, October 25, 2007

Irony and the NY Times

Do the editors read what their columnists write at the NY Times?

Seriously. Here's an excerpt of a NYT profile of John Podhoretz reprinted on's Best of the Web Today feature (Best of the Web comment in bold):

To some within the neoconservative movement, [the appointment of Podhoretz fils] is the best of all possible choices. It is a model of what Adam Bellow (son of the Nobel-winning novelist Saul) called the "new nepotism," combining the "privileges of birth with the iron rule of merit."

But to others the decision reeks of the "old nepotism," in which the only credential that matters is the identity of your father--in Mr. Bellow's cosmology, less like the Roosevelts than like Tori Spelling getting an acting job because her father was Aaron Spelling. . . .

Ultimately, what may be the biggest challenge facing Commentary has nothing to do with the genealogy or scholarship of its editor, but the threat of a dwindling readership, now about 34,000. Once a source of ideas and personnel for the Reagan and current Bush administrations, Commentary, said [writer Jacob] Heilbrunn and a number of conservatives, has become less of a must-read in recent years.

Some have argued that the New York Times has become less of a must-read in recent years, since Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger Jr. succeeded Arthur "Punch" Sulzberger Sr. as publisher in 1992. Did Pinch comply with the iron rule of merit, or is he the Tori Spelling of newspapers?

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