The Public Interest

The underdeveloped profession

Irving Kristol

Winter 1967

It is becoming high fashion, in some circles, to sling an occasional shot at the New York Times. The temptation is both powerful and understandable. The Times is such a big, smug, solid target that any individual is bound to add a journalistic cubit to his stature by taking it on. Victory, moreover, is cheap: the writer demonstrates– usually quite convincingly– either (a) that he knows more about a particular comer of the world than the Times’ correspondent there, or (b) that he writes far better than the average Timesman. The net effect of these incidents is to inflict a superficial wound upon the Times’ self-esteem. Predictably enough, recovery is swift and complete.

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