Pull up a chair, pop up the corn. If you're in the mood for an entertaining account of some liberal-on-liberal infighting at The New York Times, this piece in the New York Observer is the place to go. Editorial editor Andrew Rosenthal is accused of "tyranny and pettiness" (never a pretty combination, especially in a boss), while columnists like Tom Friedman and Maureen Dowd are colorfully disparaged.
Frankly, most of the criticism is dead-on. Dowd has been writing the same column for years now, and Friedman's is like a travelogue of ponderous platitudes (although Ross Douthat's work is, in my view, consistently thought-provoking whether or not I always agree with him). And, after all, when is the last time anyone bothered to take a Times editorial seriously? Most of the time, they are predictably lefty, windy, self-important little statements of liberal dogma (unburdened by any impulse toward consistency).
Of course, it is not easy to defend liberalism when its dire effects are so screamingly evident in the fifth year of the Obama presidency. But there are writers at the Atlantic and elsewhere who do it with far more interesting language, more independence of thought, and even better writing than a lot of the self-satisfied, predictable junk that now occupies the prime journalistic real estate of the Times' editorial page.