May 29, 2014

JAMES TARANTO: Watch It, Kinsley: A liberal writer gets a stern warning from the Thought Police.

Sullivan grudgingly acknowledges that “thanks to the principles of the First Amendment–Mr. Kinsley is certainly entitled to freely air his views.” But she scathes Kinsley’s editor at the Times, Pamela Paul, for allowing him to do so in that newspaper.

“There’s a lot about this piece that is unworthy of the Book Review’s high standards, the sneering tone about Mr. Greenwald, for example; he is called a ‘go-between’ instead of a journalist and is described as a ‘self-righteous sourpuss.’ . . . Surely editing ought to point out gaping holes in an argument, remove ad hominem language and question unfair characterizations; that didn’t happen here.”

By “here,” Sullivan means in the editing of Kinsley’s review. But she herself characterizes the review unfairly. . . . Here is where Kinsley runs afoul of Times doctrine. As this column has noted repeatedly, the paper’s editorial page has championed harsh restrictions on political expression while also claiming that the rights of “media companies” such as the New York Times Co. are absolute or nearly so.

Kinsley’s offense is to question the authority of the press, not its freedom; Paul’s is to allow such dissent to appear in the pages of the New York Times. Sullivan’s title is “public editor,” but what public interest is served when she acts as the Thought Police?

Hey, the gleichschaltung must proceed.