Thursday, 24 January 2008

How Bill Kristol Landed that 'Times' Gig

The New Republic
The Fifth Columnist by Gabriel Sherman
How Bill Kristol Landed that 'Times' Gig
Date Thursday January 24, 2008

This fall, New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. launched a search for a new conservative columnist. It had been nearly three years since William Safire had retired from his weekly column in 2005, and Sulzberger's initial replacement, libertarian John Tierney, lasted just 20 months before abandoning his column. David Brooks remained as the lone conservative voice on the page, and, say people familiar with the younger Sulzberger's thinking, he wanted to hire a lightning-rod conservative, much like his father, Arthur "Punch" Sulzberger, had done in appointing Safire in 1973....

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but if you're working to deadline, some quotes:

"In general, he's mediocre. He doesn't seem like the best choice, and the first column was crap."

"My personal opinion is it's an appalling choice," a former veteran Times staffer said of Kristol's appointment. "Not because he's been wrong about so much, but because he called for prosecuting the Times for treason. You're entitled to your opinion, but, in all due respect, go fuck yourself."

"Arthur is scared to death of The Wall Street Journal," the former veteran Times staffer said. "That's what's behind the Kristol appointment."

Ultimately, Sulzberger's selection of Kristol has left many at the Times uninspired by his leadership. "Right now, in terms of the economic anxieties of the newspaper business in general, and the Times in particular, there's a concern that we should be doing things that are exciting and thinking about tomorrow's readers," one senior Times staffer said. "Kristol is a long, long, long established voice. There's no surprise or resourcefulness of enterprise in the choice."

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