More on Kristol: Out for Lousy Fact-Checking?


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Blurring edges is not necessarily an exclusively neoconservative trait, but Scott Horton reports it is something that began to really irk New York Times editors about seemingly hurried columns that Bill Kristol rushed to them.
Horton reports that Kristol’s ideology and pro-Iraq, pro-Palin, pro-more wars stance was a net positive for the paper’s op-ed page, but lousy fact-checking was what did him in.
And then there was this, as reported in Horton’s interesting Daily Beast column today:

Tough as this was for Kristol’s promoters, he might still have survived as a columnist had it not been for an attitude of casual and reflexive disloyalty he publicly displayed towards The Times itself. A good example came in an appearance with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show on October 30. Here’s the way Editor and Publisher described it:

“Appearing once again on The Daily Show, Bill Kristol, Jon Stewart’s favorite whipping boy (‘Bill Kristol, aren’t you ever right?’), on Thursday night defended the McCain-Palin ticket, at one point informing the show’s host that he was getting his news from suspect sources. ‘You’re reading The New York Times too much,’ he declared. ‘Bill, you WORK for The New York Times!’ Stewart pointed out.”

That, apparently, was the last straw for the Gray Lady.
Despite the pink slip, all the news for Kristol is not so grim. The Washington Post has just announced that it will publish Kristol on a monthly basis. Has the Post made itself into the remainder bin for neocons?

Why are any of the majors publishing Kristol on a continuous basis when he has his perch at the Weekly Standard?
— Steve Clemons


11 comments on “More on Kristol: Out for Lousy Fact-Checking?

  1. Bil says:

    EXACTLY Kathleen.
    Krystol has been the wrongest of a wrong wrong wrong Neocon


  2. Kathleen G says:

    Bill Kristol and Juan Williams go at it over the Libby pardon
    Has Kristol ever been right?


  3. Kathleen G says:

    Kristol is one of the leading thugs to lead our nation into an unnecessary war based on a “pack of lies”
    Some of Bill’s statement’s
    “We’ve won the war,” Mr. Kristol said.
    Bill Kristol out of touch and out of his mind…
    Kristol was one of the invade Iraq thug leaders. He should be behind bars. He did not kill anyone with his bare hands, shoot a AK47 but he sure has been a huge part of killing innocent people.


  4. Zathras says:

    The Washington Post has too many regular columnists now.
    You have to wonder how much of the blogosphere’s growth in the last ten years or so had to do with how hard it is for non-“name” writers to get published on the Op-Ed pages of the Post and the other major papers. I did it once several years ago; the process took weeks, largely because the Post runs so many scheduled columns that space for other opinion pieces is severely limited. Why wouldn’t someone who able to do reporting, analysis and commentary more than occasionally rather do it on a blog?
    Even the print media are better than television, which trots out old warhorses like Sam Donaldson, Cokie Roberts and Donna Brazile even with the subject under discussion is well outside their knowledge or experience.


  5. Sandy says:

    “The Washington Post has just announced that it will publish
    Kristol on a monthly basis. Has the Post made itself into the
    remainder bin for neocons?”
    WHAT? How could you or anyone take the Washington Post
    editorial people the least bit seriously after the debacle
    reporting of the Scooter Libby Outing of CIA Agent Valerie
    Plame, trial, witnesses, etc.? What an outright, unblinking
    hachet job they did on her! Neocon bias proudly on display.
    Blatant effort to influence the outcome of the trial — right there
    — openly — in their columns. Disgraceful! Some standards of
    “ethics” (not).
    That and Bob Woodward! OMG! He lost all credibility long
    ago….for himself AND the W.Post. And, he continues to show
    how out of it and oblivious he is — completely UN-self-aware!
    Washington Post editorials — smelly!


  6. WigWag says:

    Thanks for the link to the Scott Horton article at the Daily Beast. I have to admit, I couldn’t stop laughing at the sophistry so obviously on display.
    Horton says,
    “The source makes clear that the decision not to renew Kristol’s contract is not related to his neoconservative ideology—Kristol’s proximity to key Washington players ranging from Bush and Cheney to John McCain (whom he supported in 2000) was considered a distinct plus. His leading advocacy of the Iraq War also added to his appeal. Kristol was viewed as a mover and shaker whose ideas had ready impact on the political firmament in Washington.
    The problems that emerged were more fundamental. Kristol’s writing wasn’t compelling or even very careful. He either lacked a talent for solid opinion journalism or wasn’t putting his heart into it. A give-away came in the form of four corrections the newspaper was forced to run over factual mistakes in the columns, creating an impression that they were rushed out without due diligence or attention to factual claims. A senior writer at Time magazine recounted to me a similar experience with Kristol following his stint in 2006-07. “His conservative ideas were cutting edge and influential,” I was told. “But his sloppy writing and failure to fact check what he wrote made us queasy.””
    While I am happy to see Kristol go (although apparently he is only going as far as the Washington Post), the idea that the Times fired him for being sloppy or failing to adequately fact check is ludicrous. How long exactly, did it take the Times to fire Jayson Blair? (Answer: 4 years)
    If the Times is worried about sloppiness or a failure to write compelling prose how do they defend Dowd or Herbert or Rich or Collins? All four are as obnoxious, petty, ill-informed and disrespectful of their readers as Kristol is. And the great hero of liberal America, Nicholas Kristof is only slightly better
    The “liberals in sheep’s clothing” employed as columnists by the New York Times have done as much or more than neoconservatives such as Kristol, Krauthammer and Hannity to lower the national IQ.
    I can’t help but wonder whether I am the only one who notices the resemblance between the fawning treatment Obama is getting from the New York Times with the fawning treatment that Bush got when he was first elected.
    How did that work out?
    And anyway, an allergy to fact checking doesn’t seem to hurt anyone else’s career in the main stream media, why should it hurt Kristol’s? A perfect example is Andrew Sullivan. While he was cavorting with Marty Peretz, Sullivan single handedly ruined the reputation of the New Republic by turning the magazine into a scandal sheet and by ignoring all the basic requirements of fact checking.
    Eric Alterman ran an interesting piece on Sullivan’s negligence in the June 18, 2007 edition of The American Prospect. This is what Alterman had to say about Sullivan:
    “The way Peretz describes it, “Andrew Sullivan brought a big dose of cultural originality to the journal.” Unfortunately for the magazine during this period, TNR became better known for the scandals it created rather than those upon which it reported. There was young Ruth Shalit’s serial plagiarism problem. Upon discovering her transgressions, Sullivan compounded that problem by placing a young man named Stephen Glass — later to be unmasked as a compulsive fabulist — in charge of fact-checking. Ideologically Sullivan tossed aside what remained of the magazine’s commitment to liberalism — its domestic policy. Most egregiously, he invited Charles Murray to offer his mixture of racist fear-mongering and pseudoscience in a cover story of more than 10,000 words that argued that blacks were just plain dumber than whites. Sullivan’s signature writer turned out to be Camille Paglia, who termed the then-First Lady, “Hillary the man-woman and bitch goddess.” And in what would turn out to be the single most influential article published in the magazine during the entire Clinton presidency, Sullivan published a dishonest, misinformed takedown of the president’s proposed health care plan by a formerly obscure right-wing think-tank denizen named Elizabeth McCaughey.”
    So Andrew Sullivan gave us Stephen Glass but remains one of the “hippest” pundits in America but we’re supposed to believe that the New York Times fired Bill Kristol because he wasn’t good enough at fact checking.
    Give me a break.


  7. TonyForesta says:

    Sorry, but I meant to say; (Foriegn reportage and the blogsphere forced facts and truths into the socalled MSM after fierce debates and overcoming wild claims of conspiratorialism, but the socalled MSM was criminally negligent and morally bankrupt for most of the reign under the dragons wing of the bushgov, and woefully failed in any attempt at fact checking, or fact finding.)


  8. TonyForesta says:

    The refusal of the socalled MSM to factcheck is the bedrock of neoconservatism.
    By bruting and relentless spew of halftruths, outright distortions, rank deception, scurrilous unsubstantiated slime, unvetted hype, single sourced, cherry picked, dodgey exaggerations and patent naked lies – and framing these blandishments as fact or truth, – the vulcans or neocons were able to promote and mass market their duplicitous madness of crony capitalism sold as capitalism, predatory imperialism and tyranny sold as liberation and democratization, the ruthless robbing and pillaging of poor and middle class to feed the predator class, sold as privatization and tax cuts for the superrich, and the woefull countermining and disregard for science sold as creationism.
    The complicit parrots in the socalled MSM obediently regurgitated every false duplicitious exaggeration and naked lie and rarely if ever bothered to factcheck anything or any statement. Foriegn reportage and the blogsphere forced facts and truths into the socalled MSM after fierce debates and overcoming wild claims of conspiratorialism, but the socalled MSM was criminally negligent and morally bankrupt for most of the reign under the dragos wing of the bush and woefully in any attempt at fact checking, or fact finding.
    Had the MSM performed it’s duty, and worked in the peoples best interests, and honored their journalistic oaths and principle – many of the horrors and crisis confronting America would have been countered and set aside years ago. But the MSM are parrots and in my opinion message-force multipliers on the payroll of the bushgov and the predator class who benefitted for the bushgov policies and machinations.
    Why would any sane human being believe or take serious anything bruted by Kristol. He is a propagandists and disinformation warrior, and no more of a journalist than Hannity, or Ghoering for that matter.


  9. hey norm says:

    according to this guy horton kristols ideology and pro-iraq, pro-palin stances were a net-plus. but his fact checking did him in. however, if you check facts you could never truly believe his ideology nor be pro-iraq nor pro-palin. therefor by horton’s logic he was fired for the same reason he was hired. this is a conundrum wrapped in an enigma.


  10. Bil says:

    I think the Heritage Foundation is the Neocon Wastebin?


  11. ... says:

    it’s really quite simple steve… the washington post like many other media outlets have lost any respect and dignity they might have had in the past 8 years being gofers for this past admin… i would be very careful what i believed coming from a washington post article..


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