“I don’t know that I’ve ever read a book quite as eye-opening as Michael Oren’s Ally, the bestselling historian’s stunning new memoir of his four years as Israel’s ambassador to the United States,” John Podhoretz writes at Commentary. “For what Oren has written is an account of serving as a diplomat during a Cold War — the Cold War the Obama administration launched against Israel upon coming into office.” And then there are Mr. Obama’s operatives with bylines:
[Oren] called the New York Times editorial-page editor, Andrew Rosenthal, after the paper published an op-ed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in which Abbas startlingly claimed the Arabs had accepted the UN Partition Plan of 1947. The conversation went thus:
“When I write for the Times, fact checkers examine every word I write,” I began. “Did anybody check that Abbas has his facts exactly backward?”
“That’s your opinion,” Rosenthal replied.
“I’m an historian, Andy, and there are opinions and there are facts. That the Arabs rejected partition and the Jews accepted it is an irrefutable fact.”
“In your view.”
“Tell me, on June 6, 1944, did Allied forces land or did they not land on Normandy Beach?”
Rosenthal…replied, “Some might say so.”
As the kids say on Twitter, “SMH,” short for shaking my head.
So just to place the above moment into context, speaking of clueless teenagers with computer keyboards: The Times is owned by a man who in his 2os wanted to see American soldiers shot in Vietnam. Its editorial columnists include a former Enron advisor obsessed with alien invasions. (Of the little green man variety, needless to say. Illegal aliens coming over the border into Texas don’t concern Krugman the slightest.) A woman who flew into Denver and ate an entire marijuana-laced candy bar for her big investigative piece on Colorado’s new pot laws and had William S. Burroughs-level drug hallucinations as a result. A man who advised Mitt Romney in 2012 to “Stick that in your magic underwear.” A 60 year old former editor who immediately after being fired last year posed for a New York Daily News cover standing next to a punching bag while wearing boxing gloves, a ironic trucker’s cap, a visible tattoo and a Les Misérables tank top. Her successor, current editor “Dean Baquet called an associate professor at the USC Annenberg School an ‘asshole’ on Facebook [in January] after the professor took a shot at Baquet for not running Charlie Hebdo’s Muhammed cartoons.” And an alleged conservative who told Mr. Obama that one day he’d be president because of his awesome trouser creases.
As Matthew Continetti wrote last year in the Washington Free Beacon in response to Jill Abramson’s posed photo as the distaff Rocky Balboa, the Times is a daily Saved By the Bell rerun, a high school bereft of grownup supervision. But even at this late date, with all of the paper’s Star Wars-cantina level characters who fancy themselves as being Masters of the Journalistic Universe, it’s still astonishing to read just how far round the bend this one great newspaper has gone.