There are various interesting tidbits in Gabriel Sherman’s article on Bill Kristol’s appointment as a New York Times columnist, but as a professional the most interesting part is the revelation that Kristol “was paid roughly five dollars a word” for his Time column. I think that’s about three bajillion times more than I’ve ever gotten.
You also need to wonder about the economics of it. You’re thinking of paying Kristol about $4,000 per column to be a columnist. How much revenue is Kristol really supposed to bring in relative to the best neoconnish writer you could have snagged for $2k per column? My sense is that we pundits are actually pretty interchangeable. What’s the marginal value of Kristol over Max Boot? If Tom Friedman and Sebastian Mallaby switched newspapers, would the Times’ circulation really drop?