Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

Postscripts on Clark Hoyt’s Shilling on the Greenhouse Conflict


A few follow-ups on New York Times’s public editor Clark Hoyt’s strange act of baselessly attacking me at the same time that he validated the heart of my complaint about Linda Greenhouse’s conflict of interest in reporting—without any disclosure of her husband’s role—on important Supreme Court national-security cases in which her husband, an ardent opponent of Bush administration policies, participated:


1.  Last Wednesday, I sent this letter to the editor of the New York Times.  I wrote it to fit within the Times’s 150-word limit for letters.  I also asked that it appear in Sunday’s (yesterday’s) paper so that it would be accessible to the same set of folks that read Hoyt’s column on the matter:

Even as he validated the heart of my complaint about Linda Greenhouse’s conflict of interest, public editor Clark Hoyt attacked me for my allegedly “increasingly intemperate and personal attacks [that] feel more like bullying” and for my “partisan” assault on Greenhouse.   The trusting reader might imagine that I’ve been spewing expletives and rage.  In fact, my carefully documented criticisms of Greenhouse have all related to her performance in her capacity as a journalist and have not been ad hominem, and they’re more temperate than many Times editorials.  Hoyt’s charge that I’m “partisan” evidently means nothing more than that I’m conservative.  It’s Hoyt, the supposed “readers’ representative,” who is using the pages of your paper to bully me.   

I invite readers to review my full responses to Hoyt on National Review Online’s Bench Memos blog on Jan. 21 and 22.  

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? 

As you might guess, the Times somehow did not see fit to publish my letter.


2.  Last Sunday, on the same day that Hoyt’s column appeared, I sent Hoyt this e-mail:

Dear Mr. Hoyt:

I was rather surprised to see that you chose to go out of your way to attach pejorative labels to me, without citing any supportive evidence, at the same time that you endorsed the merits of my basic criticism of Greenhouse’s conflict of interest.  Just a few quick requests:

1.  Please identify your best example of an “intemperate” attack I have made on Greenhouse.

2.  Please identify your best example of a “personal” attack I have made on Greenhouse. 

3.  Beyond any evidence you can try to offer of “intemperate” and “personal” attacks by me on Greenhouse, please cite any evidence that supports your assertion that I have been ”increasingly intemperate and personal”.  Specifically, please explain your initial baseline for the intensity of my “intemperate and personal” attacks, and please tell me your evidence of an increase in intensity.

4.  What do you mean by the word “partisan”?  Is that just a pejorative for someone who doesn’t share your political views?  Or is there some sense in which you believe you can show that I am inconsistent in the principles that I advocate (e.g., that I favor party over principle)?

Given that you have already seen fit to attack me in writing with these labels, I expect you to be able to provide prompt responses.

As you might guess, Hoyt has not provided me the courtesy of a response.  (My own refutation of Hoyt on these points is in Part 3 of my 4-part response to his column.)


3.  Last Wednesday, I sent Hoyt this brief e-mail:


In case it’s of interest to you, I copy below my 4-part response to your column.  If you’d see fit to link to them, or post them, on your web page, I’d be grateful.


As you might guess, Hoyt has not linked to, or posted, my response on his web page.


Meanwhile, I see from the good folks at Power Line that Hoyt’s shilling continues.

Tags: Whelan


Subscribe to National Review