Sunday, February 12, 2006

Shafer on Kristof on O'Reilly

In a piece on Friday, Jack Shafer at Slate echoes my criticism here and here of Nicholas Kristof's attack on Bill O'Reilly. Here is a taste:

Don't get me wrong. Bill O'Reilly deserves it in the shins—or even higher—at least two times a week. His bullying, grandstanding, and modern know-nothingism make him a plump target. But Kristof doesn't want to engage or debate O'Reilly, he wants to embarrass him by playing dada games. Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make a newspaper columnist. Most columnists start off with a bag full of ideas and endless energy. But the job begins to weigh on even the most talented journalist. He starts writing columns about columns he's written, about his kids, or about the deaths of relatives. He composes columns as open letters to world leaders—or writes from inside their heads. He quotes cab drivers. His columns become more assertion than argument. Finally, he starts picking silly, protracted fights with other media machers. Kristof, a Times columnist since November 2001, can do better than this. If he's run out of gas, why doesn't he re-enlist as a reporter?

Ouch.