Just in time for election year, the New York Times announced on December 29 that it had hired William Kristol as an op-ed page columnist, with the first column scheduled to appear on January 7, 2008. The Times’ editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal, responding to early critics of the move, said that the Times “is giving voice to a guy who is a serious, respected conservative intellectual—and somehow that’s a bad thing. How intolerant is that?” Since Kristol already has his own magazine (Weekly Standard) and a regular seat among the talking heads on TV (Fox News), it’s hard to identify any public interest served by “giving voice” to him in the Times, and thus rehabilitate a serial advocate of lawless global conduct by the
Again responding to critics, Rosenthal noted that he fails to understand “this weird fear of opposing views.” This defense also makes little sense, since it implies that Kristol’s views depart fundamentally from others represented in the Times. But they don’t. Take the March 2003 invasion of
In addition, William Safire, still a Times’ op-ed columnist by March 2003, eagerly supported the
Veteran Times reporters Judith Miller and Michael Gordon also appeared to support an invasion by functioning as Bush administration mouthpieces in the months leading to March 2003. Michael Ignatieff, Harvard human rights professor at the time, piously supported the
Paul Krugman, Bob Herbert, Maureen Dowd, and Frank Rich didn’t support the
This means that a majority of commentators at the Times, like Kristol, supported a
Given this context, if Andrew Rosenthal were in fact motivated by hiring an unrepresented point of view at the Times, he could have hired someone who opposed the invasion of
So what is the difference between the Times and William Kristol, who still supports the
Howard Friel is coauthor (with Richard Falk) of The Record of the Paper: How The New York Times Misreports US Foreign Policy (Verso, 2004), and (with Falk) of Israel-Palestine on Record: How The New York Times Misreports Conflict in the Middle East (Verso, 2007).
 “Kristol Mess? It’s Official –‘NYT’ Explains Hiring New ‘Op-Ed’ Wag,” Editor & Publisher, December 29, 2007.
 In “Going After Hillary,” published in the November 12, 2007 issue of The New Yorker, Hendrik Hertzberg wrote: “Millions of rank-and-file Democrats were snookered into supporting this war, or at least the threat of it. Like