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The problem with David Brooks.

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rusty charly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-18-04 09:33 AM
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The problem with David Brooks.

But there is also Brooks the Hack. Brooks the Hack spent his formative years at The Wall Street Journal's famously kooky and fact-challenged editorial page, for which he wrote "editorial features," the Journal's term for axe-grinding reportage that sidesteps the paper's famously demanding news pages and, indeed, frequently contradicts what is published there. (Though Brooks's dispatches, to be sure, ground much less than those of his colleagues.) Later, he helped launch The Weekly Standard, which played house organ to the Gingrich revolution in the days before it played house organ to the Bush administration hawks. (In between these periods, the Standard was perhaps the most trenchant and interesting political magazine in the country.) While Brooks the Journalist is honest and self-critical, Brooks the Hack is willing to carry water for his political allies. He opines that the Bush administration is "drunk on truth serum" and "exceptionally forthright" about its policies. He unsheathes the marvelous sophistry that "our government couldn't even come up with a plan for postwar Iraq--thank goodness, too, because any 'plan' hatched by technocrats in Washington would have been unfit for Iraqi reality." (Actually, technocrats at Departments of Defense and State did hatch a pretty good plan. Alas, Brooks's fellow-travelers among the Pentagon's civilian appointees ignored it.) He insists that pro-war neoconservatives "travel in widely different circles and don't actually have much contact with one another," when in fact a game of "Two Degrees of Richard Perle" would get you just about every member of this alleged neocon diaspora.

Similarly, Brooks the Hack indulges in predictable--and frequently dishonest--caricatures of Democrats. He once wrote that "upscale areas everywhere" voted for Al Gore, even though a cursory check of census data reveals that seven of the 10 richest counties in America voted for George W. Bush in 2000. When it began to look like John Kerry would carry the Democratic banner in 2004, Brooks argued that the Democrats "won't nominate a guy unless his family had an upper-deck berth on the Mayflower"--this of a party whose last five nominees included a Georgia peanut farmer, a guy raised by a working-class single mom in Arkansas, and another born to Greek immigrants. Yet Brooks the Hack seems to revel in cheap shots, such as implying that the term "neocon" was anti-Semitic-- "con is short for 'conservative' and neo is short for 'Jewish'," he recently wrote in the Times.

More broadly, whereas Brooks the Journalist unfurls grand abstractions that illuminate essential truths about American life, Brooks the Hack peddles unreliable generalizations that describe the world as he and his friends wish it to be. Every pundit makes bad calls during election season, but only Brooks was of the opinion that "he closest thing to a Dean resistance movement is emerging inside the Lieberman campaign," as he wrote in December 2003, when the steadfastly pro-war senator was parked in a race for fifth. When Brooks set out to describe the differences between red and blue America--by driving a whopping 65 miles from Bethesda, Md., to Franklin County, Pa.--he produced an article replete with seemingly knowing observations that turned out to be factually wrong. Brooks says few blue staters "could name even five NASCAR drivers"; but as reporter Sasha Issenberg noted in Philadelphia magazine, three of the five top markets for the Winston Cup are in blue states. Brooks says that Red America is home-shopping country, but it turns out that QVC's audiences skew towards affluent, suburban blue staters. Brooks says you can't spend more than $20 at a restaurant in Franklin County, when in fact it's possible to blow $50 on veal medallions and wild-rice pilaf at a bed-and-breakfast where Brooks himself had spent the night.
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Tosca Donating Member (540 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-18-04 09:46 AM
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1. neocon

/Yet Brooks the Hack seems to revel in cheap shots, such as
/implying that the term "neocon" was anti-Semitic-- "con is
/short for 'conservative' and neo is short for 'Jewish',"
/he recently wrote in the Times.

That had to be the weirdest, most loony comment he's ever made. And during his backpedaling, he came up with the lamest excuse for writing it...that he was "new" to the NYT editorial game.

Yeah right, Dave, try again.
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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-18-04 09:53 AM
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2. (WSJ's) fact-challenged editorial page -LOL,
I exchanged some email with them re errors in the editorial page and was told they did not care!

The WSJ editorial page makes up for the lack of an official WSJ comics page!
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