MSNBC's Rachel Maddow has a new book out, Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power. I don't know if it is a good and important book because I haven't read it yet. If her publisher sends it to me, I will read it and will have her on the show to discuss it in detail. Maddow has a big platform, and there is a chance that her book is good and important. I don't think that chance is particularly high, but I won't dismiss it without reading it.
Many left-of-center authors produce very good books. The most important book of the past decade, The Looming Tower, was written by Lawrence Wright and he is most definitely a left-of-center journalist. My radio pals Jonathan Alter and E.J. Dionne have both authored important and good books in the past few years --Alter two of them-- books with which I disagree but which from which I gained a great deal of important information. The willingness to read the other side's arguments, histories and even polemics matters a great deal to the direction of American politics.
I won't waste time on obvious screeds by people with no claim to seriousness or for whom there is no previous evidence of learning or any kind of judgment. Thus I won't pick up a silly book by Bill Maher or many other of the usual suspects of the nutty left. Maher simply has no credentials, but he does have a vast record of ignorant and vulgar displays of childish ranting. He doesn't deserve a hearing. Maddow does. Alter and Dionne do. Lawrence Wright quite obviously does.
Which brings me to my interview with Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic, the transcript of which is here.
The back story to this interview is straightforward.
I follow Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic on Twitter via @Conor64. I also subscribe to his "Best of Journalism" service. He is a fine young writer of ambiguous politics but very excellent talent when it comes to pushing nouns against verbs.
Conor does not care for my friend Mark Levin, which is fine. Many people don't care for Levin or me, Rush or Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Bill Bennet, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager or Michael Medved. We are controversialists, and controversialists provoke strong reactions.