There is a column in today’s New York Times by David Brooks on the demise of The Weekly Standard
that demands a response. The neo-conservative magazine closed for
several reasons, among them being the decision by its editor in chief,
Stephen Hayes, to increase the staff by a third at a time of declining
sales (the magazine lost 7,000 subscriptions, or a decline of 10
percent, in the last two years). Hayes took this risk with the blessings
of the magazine’s primary benefactor, Philip Anschutz.
For Brooks, Anschutz is the problem, not his friends at the magazine who ran the shop. Whether he is right or not is not my concern. My concern is how Brooks frames his argument.
Brooks calls Anschutz “a professing Christian [who] decided to close the magazine at the height of the Christmas season, and so cause maximum pain to his former employees and their families.”
Brooks’ ability to read the heart and mind of Anschutz is quite
something, but it is not nearly as astounding as his Christian-baiting
remark. He could have simply slammed Anschutz for making a crass
decision, but no, that was not good enough: He had to call him out for
being “a professing Christian” who stuck it to employees and their
families at “the height of the Christmas season.”
Brooks writes for a newspaper that smells anti-Semitism whenever George Soros is criticized.
On October 30, a front-page news story said that “The baseless claims that George Soros is financing the migrants as they trek north, which carry a strong whiff of anti-Semitism, have been one of the most consistent themes of commentary on the caravan from the right.”
On November 1, a front-page news story said that those who call Soros a “globalist” and a “left-wing radical” are guilty of employing “barely coded anti-Semitism.”
If the New York Times were as sensitive to Christian-baiting as it is anti-Semitism, it would have edited Brooks’ column. Is Brooks a bigot? No. But he crossed the line in this instance.