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An email from a friend, on the matter of Kenneth Lynn:

Just saw your post at the Corner (actually someone sent it to me, because of the KSL interest), about the RR obit, and there’s one other thing you might find interesting. The Times interviewed Kenneth for that obit in the early 1990s. Now it’s possible they followed up later, but I doubt it. I remember having lunch with Kenneth at our usual spot, the Chesapeake Bagel Bakery just down the block from the NR offices on Pennsylvania Avenue, and Kenneth wondering why the Times would have come to him, since he was primarily a literary historian, or more generally an intellectual historian, and although amazingly savvy about presidential politics, not a scholar of them. My view was that the Times felt obliged to find a conservative historian, and Kenneth (who occasionally wrote for the NYTBR) was the only one that anyone could think of. I guess that the fact that Forrest McDonald had published books on the subject, and given the Jefferson Lecture in the previous decade, did not register on their screens. And he was, after all, at a state university west of the Alleghenies and south of Alexandria. But the laziness and perfunctoriness of it all speaks volumes, about at least a dozen different things….

John J. Miller is the national correspondent for National Review and the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. His new book is Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists, and Ideas.

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