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Diversity, Hiatt-Style

By Matthew Yglesias

"Diversity, Hiatt-Style"

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Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt, shining star of your liberal media, says:

Post Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt called Kristol “very smart and very plugged in,” saying Kristol would be an influential voice in the coming debate over redefining the Republican Party. “It seems to me there were a lot of Times readers who felt the Times shouldn’t hire someone who supported the Iraq war,” said Hiatt, adding that he wants “a diverse range of opinions” on his page.

Even absent Kristol, the Times will have among its op-ed columnists Iraq War supporter David Brooks. And it will also have Iraq War supporter Thomas Friedman as its dedicated foreign affairs columnist. So it’s hardly as if Iraq War supporters have been purged from the NYT. Meanwhile, what kind of diversity has Hiatt really brought to the Post‘s opinion section? His masthead editorials backed the war, as did all of his conservative columnists and most of the “liberal” columnists. A believer in diversity would be trying to get some company for poor E.J. Dionne and Harold Meyerson among the liberals.

The fascinating thing about this, though, is that Hiatt combines contempt for newspaper readers with contempt for the craft of journalism. He clearly thinks it was bad of the Times to cater to the desires of its readers. And he doesn’t say Kristol’s column is good! Doesn’t call it insightful, doesn’t call it informative, doesn’t call it well-written. He just says that Kristol is “plugged-in” and influential. Which no doubt he is. But as a consumer of media, I prefer to take in well-written informative commentary that’s entertaining or enlightening. Being deliberately misled by influence-peddlers or wannabe influence-peddlers doesn’t rank high on my priority list. But to Hiatt it’s the very model of a modern major political pundit.

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