Bill Kristol’s New York Times column debuted today. It included a factual error, attributing a Michael Medved quote to Michelle Malkin.
That was an appropriate beginning, as Kristol will surely have the Times corrections desk working overtime. Kristol regularly twists facts as he strains to back up conservative talking points.
In 2003, he defended the prospects for the invasion of Iraq, wrongly asserting:
There’s been a certain amount of pop sociology in America that the Shia can’t get along with the Sunni and the Shia in Iraq want to establish some kind of Islamic fundamentalist regime. There’s been almost no evidence of that at all. Iraq’s always been very secular.
He pretended he was not being “partisan” when he attacked Speaker Nancy Pelosi for meeting with Syrian leaders, yet he did not criticize the Republican congresspeople who did the same.
He falsely characterized Iraq war boosters Michael O’Hanlon and Ken Pollack, as “skeptics,” in an attempt to give their optimistic assessments greater credibility.
And he ridiculously claimed that the acts charged to Scooter Libby and Tom DeLay are not crimes.
The Times defended the hiring of Kristol, attributing criticism to “this weird fear of opposing views,” calling critics “intolerant,” while praising Kristol as “a serious, respected conservative intellectual.”
Debate between opposing views on America’s op-ed pages is great, when opposing views are rooted in facts.
Kristol is not a respected conservative intellectual with reverence for facts. He is a conservative hack who will say anything to make his point.
Critics are intolerant. Not of opposing views, but of misinformation.
The Times is not promoting honest, informed debate by hiring Kristol. His little error today is a harbinger of more egregious hackery to come.
The lone upside to letting Kristol fail upwards? It will only serve to remind us all how much of the Beltway conservative movement is based on misinformation, and how empty their arguments have become.