“Neocon” Takes Over Week in Review?

by Jonah Goldberg

Radar magazine has the scoop that Sam Tanenhaus will be taking over the NYT’s Week in Review. That’s interesting for Times-watchers, to be sure, and good news for the Week in Review. But I think the rumors that Sam Tanenhaus is a “noted neocon” as Radar says  are wildly exaggerated. Radar hangs this characterization on a feverish rant from Jim Sleeper at TPM. I think Sleeper’s argument that Tanenhaus is a neocon rests on his angry reaction to the fact that Tanenhaus has made the NYT Book Review more interesting and relevant by including interesting conservative writers from time to time. I don’t know Tanenhaus beyond, perhaps, to say hello to him. And even then I’d have to reintroduce myself. But from what I’ve heard for years from people who know him, I feel pretty confidant that his love for neocons is, shall we say, very debatable. Moreover, Sleeper’s citation of Tanenhaus’ own writing undermines Sleeper’s argument. As does a good deal of anti- or at least non-neocon stuff Tanenhaus has written. It seems Sleeper’s real objection is that the New York Times Book Review isn’t a house organ for people who think exactly like him. Oh and I say this with near absolute certainty that the Times will assign someone who doesn’t like my book when, or if, they review it.

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