A day after the Huffington Post first reported it (see below), The New York Times has announced that it has indeed hired conservative pundit, and Fox News analyst, Bill Kristol, as a new regular op-ed columnist. Liberal bloggers had been up in arms over the move. Kristol said, in an interview with Politico.com, that it gave him some pleasure to watch their "heads explode." Kristol was perhaps the most influential pundit of all in promoting the U.S. invasion of Iraq and has strongly defended the move ever since.
Times' editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal defended the move. Rosenthal told Politico shortly after the official announcement Saturday that he fails to understand “this weird fear of opposing views....The idea that The New York Times is giving voice to a guy who is a serious, respected conservative intellectual — and somehow that’s a bad thing,” Rosenthal added. “How intolerant is that?” Of course, some would argue that Kristol is not "serious, respected," broadly speaking. Unlike the Times’ other regulars, Kristol will write only once a week, with his first column set for Jan. 7, and he has just a one-year contract.
In the July 14, 2006 issue of The Weekly Standard, which he edits, Kristol called for a "military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. Why wait? Does anyone think a nuclear Iran can be contained? That the current regime will negotiate in good faith? It would be easier to act sooner rather than later. Yes, there would be repercussions--and they would be healthy ones, showing a strong America that has rejected further appeasement."
But opponents may take heart from this precedent: Kristol's predecessor in one of the "right" spots at the Times, John Tierney, was laughed off the page in short order.