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Anchors Aweigh



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This morning, I’ve had a couple of WFB memories. (Typical morning, I realize.) Reading Conrad Black’s piece on Walter Cronkite — an excellent and true piece — I recalled what WFB said about the late anchor: “Nice guy, very liberal.” Now, Bill did not say “very liberal,” or even “very liberal,” very often. In fact, I can think of no other instance. But he said it about America’s “Uncle Walter” (his fellow sailor, as well as his fellow celebrity).

I’ve always said that I’m grateful to Cronkite and Barbara Walters for one thing: Each admitted that the media are liberal — and a good and right thing too, according to them. Walters, I believe, said that journalists must care about “the human condition,” and we all know that liberals care about this condition, while conservatives don’t give a rat’s behind about it. You’ve heard that, haven’t you? You went to college? Have seen a movie?

My own piece on NRO today is a “Great Lakes journal” — a journal I’ll do in two parts. Last week, some of us took a cruise on those fair lakes, and most of the ship was populated by right-wingers: writers with NR and The American Spectator, and readers and supporters of those magazines. There were some “unaffiliated” folks aboard.

In my journal, I write,

A colleague tells me that he met a passenger who reads neither magazine . . . In fact, she’s not a conservative at all. But she has noticed the list of speakers. “Is that Jay Nordlinger the same one who writes music criticism?” she asked. She was disappointed to learn that the music critic was, in another area of life, a right-winger.

When I enter a concert hall or opera house, I retract my horns and tail. Back at NR, I can let them safely hang out . . .

WFB liked to tell a story about the Paris Peace Conference. The French premier, Clemenceau, is introduced to the Polish premier, Paderewski. Clemenceau says to him, “Any relation to the pianist?” Paderewski says, “But I am the pianist, monsieur.” Clemenceau pauses, then says, “And now you’re in politics?” “Oui, monsieur,” says Paderewski. Clemenceau sighs, “What a comedown.”

By the way, I made a few remarks at the end of our cruise. I said I wanted to especially thank those passengers who were not readers or fans of NR and The American Spectator. “Thanks for putting up with us,” I said. “I’ve been in a minority, in most places, all of my life. I know how it feels . . .”



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