Sound the trumpets. The New York Times announced on March 18 that it is bringing in 20 new online-focused writers as contributors for its op-ed and Sunday Review sections. In an interview, Times editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal claimed “We were looking for a broad range of viewpoints and subjects and backgrounds and geographical locations and every kind of form of diversity that you can think of.”
Lower the trumpets. Bring in the fact-checker. It seems the viewpoint-diverse Times can’t seem to locate a conservative acceptable to executives prowling the halls in the snooty Times offices in midtown Manhattan.
Some names on the list are easily identified as radical-left. Start with Michael Eric Dyson, MSNBC contributor known for comparing Obama to God and suggesting Rush Limbaugh “is trying to foment a universe of bigotocracy.” .
Roxane Gay is a leftist darling of the NPR set and the author of a book called Bad Feminist. She told Mother Jones “The older I get, and the more I learn, the more I try to create a space within feminism for women of color, for working-class women, for queer women, for transgender women.”
Some tout hard liberal political activist resumes. David Kirp is a professor at Berkeley who served on Obama’s transition team. Novelist Lydia Millet used to work for the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Others are long-time liberal journalists. Judith Shulevitz spent years on the staffs of Slate and The New Republic, and married the dean of the Columbia Journalism School. Mimi Swartz is an executive editor of the Texas Monthly and worked in the 1990s for Tina Brown at Talk magazine, and then at The New Yorker.
Then there are the liberal fools. Molly Worthen began a Times book review last June by claiming “Jimmy Carter may be the most pious man ever to have occupied the White House.” She even compared him to Jesus, that he could not retire “while child brides are raped and mothers break their backs hauling buckets of polluted drinking water. In high office, this kind of fellow-feeling may have been a political liability, a distraction from sober grand strategy. But it has been the Passion of Jimmy Carter.”
Just as the Times believes David Brooks is a true conservative, so too does it believe it has recruited conservatives in the Gang of 20. Why, look at William Baude. He was a legal clerk to John Roberts, chief justice of the Supreme Court. Yes -- but a conservative? Not even close. On Tuesday, he argued in the Times that if Obama loses in the King v. Burwell decision at the Supreme Court, he should ignore its orders on Obamacare completely except for the actual plaintiffs in the suit.
Peter Wehner is another Brooks clone, happily wearing the conservative moniker while savaging the right. He worked in George W. Bush’s White House, advancing one cause after another antithetical to conservative orthodoxy. Now he just wages rhetorical war on Reaganites. Last November, in a written attack on Mark Levin and the “Jacobin right,” he asserted “By their own logic, Reagan would have to have been deemed a RINO (Republican In Name Only).” He tried to embrace Reagan as “extremely impressive. Yet he could not even approach the standards of purity embraced by today’s radicals on the right.”
The New York Times is nowhere closer to viewpoint diversity. The ideological range is still radical-left to country-club liberal Republican.