Kristol: The New York Times ‘Should Be Prosecuted,’ ‘It Isn’t A First-Rate Newspaper’

kristol2.jpgFor years, Bill Kristol has been at the forefront of a vitriolic right-wing crusade against the New York Times. Sadly, the Times has chosen to reward him for it.

After the New York Times in 2006 disclosed a secret Bush administration program to monitor international banking transactions, right-wing pundit Bill Kristol said this:

I think it is an open question whether the Times itself should be prosecuted for this totally gratuitous revealing of an ongoing secret classified program that is part of the war on terror.” [Fox News, 7/2/06]

“I think the Justice Department has an obligation to consider prosecution.” [Fox News, 6/25/06]

Beyond calling for the criminal prosecution of his future employer, Kristol has also pilloried the newspaper as the voice of the radical fringe in America:

“It’s no accident that The New York Times has to have a special reporter assigned to the conservative beat. They cover it sort of like a foreign country, to explain to the editors and the readers of The New York Times what’s going on in that strange world of conservative America, which is two-fifths of the country.” [Fox News, 5/30/04]

“I’m not sure, if you’re against a war in Iraq, that you want The New York Times carrying your cause,” Mr. Kristol said. “Because it’s like, ‘Oh, great! The Upper West Side doesn’t want a war!'” [NY Observer, 9/15/02]

“Colin Powell is not a New York Times liberal, you know. Colin Powell is for a strong, assertive American foreign policy.” [Fox News, 7/28/02]

In one of Kristol’s most candid assessments about the New York Times, he wrote this in a 2003 Weekly Standard piece:

Still, the simple truth is that a great democracy like ours deserves a first-rate newspaper of record. And the New York Times isn’t it. […]

Fundamental regime change at the New York Times is not in the cards. Inspections and sanctions won’t work. Even the French can’t help. The Times is irredeemable. The question is whether a new newspaper of record will replace it.

Kristol seems to understate his abilities to bring about regime changes.