Friday, December 28, 2007

Mistaken Journalist Of 2007 Is Andrew Rosenthal

Andrew Rosenthal, son of the late great New York Times Executive Editor A.M. Rosenthal, and editorial pages editor of the New York Times since Jan. 8, 2007 "wins," if that is the word for it, my choice as "Mistaken Journalist of the Year" for his shrill editorials calling for the immediate beginning of an American withdrawal from Iraq.

Rosenthal's father was an unapologetic hawk in foreign affairs. Andrew Rosenthal is a craven dove who would abdicate America's position in the world, and, I believe, plunge the planet into a new dark age in which Islamic Fascists and other wackos could well become dominant.

There is certainly nothing wrong in and of itself in sons following a different path than their fathers. I've known many such generational changes, and, by and large, I tend to favor them. It is vitally important for the sons to pursue their own beliefs and careers, standing apart from their fathers, developing their own careers.

But in Andrew Rosenthal's case, he has gone too far, and made the New York Times editorials on many occasions sound as if they were extremist and not solicitous of American national interests. As such, he has damaged the credibility of the newspaper. Rosenthal wrote sensitively after his father's death about his feelings of wanting to be separate from him. Those feelings are understandable, but I still feel he has lost any sense of proportion about it.

The L.A. Times too has called for a withdrawal from Iraq, but not quite in the shrill and often-repeated call of Rosenthal's editorial page. Sonni Efron, writer of the L.A. Times foreign affairs editorials, and Jim Newton, the LAT editorial page editor, have lightened up by at least complimenting U.S. armed forces for the success of their "surge" against rebellious forces in Iraq, and wished them well, even while opting for a phased withdrawal. This is a better, more understandable position than that taken by the New York Times.

Rosenthal appears so consumed with his hatred of President George W. Bush that he has lost perspective and usually, willy-nilly, assails the President, without any regard for the consequences should the Bush policies fail.

Also, in seeming to stand on principle, the New York Times editorial pages frequently lose sight of the forest for the trees. They, in my view, actually endanger America by calling for unrealistic changes in the American position.

We see that again just today with an editorial on the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. It is an unabashed appeal for the U.S. to cast out the baby with the bathwater and give blind support to democracy in Pakistan, no matter what happens to the government of Pervez Musharaff.

The sad truth is that Pakistan, throughout its sad history, has seldom if ever been a truly democratic country, and democracy in the present instance might bring the Taliban and Al-Qaeda to power, giving them possession of the country's nuclear weapons.

American self-interest, and the peace of the world, require a less doctrinaire position. Once again, Rosenthal's dovishness has trumped all other interests.

My "Mistaken Journalist of the Year" last year was Michael Duffy of Time magazine, who had been totally erroneous in his prediction, in a cover story no less, that Mr. Bush would change course in Iraq and bug-out.

This year, Duffy has written more carefully, and it's my hope that in 2008 Andrew Rosenthal will do the same. He's sure to remain New York Times editorial pages editor, but he conceivably might learn from experience and be a more careful and responsible one.

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The New York Times on today's Web site is presenting an audio by photographer John Moore, and pictures he took of the last moments of the life of Benazir Bhutto, before foul assassins shot her and blew up her car.

In the remarkable audio, Moore tells of Bhutto's last emotional speech, decrying terrorism and the Islamic fanatics who are behaving so barbarically. Then, there's the last picture of Bhutto rising out of the sun roof of her vehicle, like John F. Kennedy exposing himself to the assassin. Then, finally, there is an explosion, blurred photographs of the fireball. Bhutto has disappeared, falling into the vehicle, and the mob is fleeing the scene. It is altogether a dramatic presentation.

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