The Spectacle Blog

Are Men Necessary?

By on 11.14.05 | 1:09PM

Perhaps not, at least at the New York Times. Editor and Publisher has a fascinating report from which emanates the strong odor of a coming coup at the Times.

The report, which appears to be based on both research and leaks from the Times editors, says that Judith Miller wasn't the only person at the Times tied too closely to the Bush administration. Times Executive Editor Bill Keller is painted as too close to the Times' ultimate boogey man, former Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. Here's the money quote:

How deeply was Bill Keller in the sway of Wolfowitz & Co.? Read this small piece of Keller's 8,139-word profile of the assistant defense secretary from Sept. 22, 2002, called -- believe it or not -- "The Sunshine Warrior" (via Nexis):

"In Washington, some people go straight to caricature, without getting much chance to be interesting or complicated. Paul Wolfowitz, who is interesting and complicated, has been cast since Sept. 11 in the role of zealot... . The shorthand version of Paul Wolfowitz, however, is inadequate in important ways. It completely misses his style, which relies on patient logic and respectful, soft-spoken engagement rather than on fire-breathing conviction."

Keller described three "important" things that Wolfowitz "brings to the table," including "something of a reputation as a man who sees trouble coming before others do, his long anxiety about Iraq being one example." Another "striking thing" about Wolfowitz: "an optimism about America's ability to build a better world. He has an almost missionary sense of America's role. In the current case, that means a vision of an Iraq not merely purged of cataclysmic weaponry, not merely a threat disarmed, but an Iraq that becomes a democratic cornerstone of an altogether new Middle East."

Even after no weapons of mass destruction turned up in Iraq after the invasion, Keller wrote a June 14, 2003 column that was called "The Boys Who Cried Wolfowitz" and gives a very benign defense of the neo-cons and their feud with the CIA over pre-war intell on Iraq. He called the CIA "Team A" and the Wolfowitz-Cheney-Libby boys "Team B."

"The B Team comes in with fresh eyes, and fresh assumptions," Keller wrote. "One assumption, another Wolfowitz mantra, is that more weight should be given to the character of the regime -- in Saddam's case, his transcendent evil and megalomania. While the C.I.A. may say that we have insufficient evidence to conclude that Saddam has reconstituted his nuclear program, Team B starts from the premise that it is just the kind of thing Saddam would do, and it is dangerous to assume he didn't."

Want to hear a great irony? Keller's was printed just two days after the Washington Post published a front-page article reporting that the C.I.A. had sent a retired American diplomat to Niger in February 2002 to investigate claims that Iraq had been seeking to buy uranium there.

That same date, June 12, 2003, also happens to be the day when Dick Cheney spoke with Lewis "Scooter" Libby and told him where that diplomat's wife worked.
The coup could be organizing to replace Keller with hyperlib Managing Editor Jill Abrahmson, a longtime pal of Mo Dowd. Are men necessary at the Times? Not if Keller goes and Abrahmson takes over. Stay tuned. This could be as much fun as the Jayson Blair scandal and many more such to come.
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