A reader sends the following regarding my bagging on K-Lo (below):
You should *never* judge someone’s intellect or writing ability by how his or her prose looks once it’s been through the meat-grinder that is the American Enterprise’s editorial process. I’m no K-Lo fan, but you may want to cut her D’Souza review some slack.
I am duly chastened, gentle readers. After looking through the book reviews printed in various back issues of that magazine, I’m forced to conclude that the editors at TAE either have an extremely low opinion of their audience’s intelligence or a books editor who’s seriously overdosed on Hemingway. So mea culpa: K-Lo is probably marginally brighter than I’d thought.
As long as I’m revising that post… I had assumed that the whole Arnett business was a case of a reporter in a jackbooted regime feeding his “hosts” an ingratiating line of crap in order to boost, or at least preserve, his access. I mean, a reporter praising Iraqi censors? It had to be a wink-and-nudge kind of thing—ethically questionable, obviously, but not in earnest. That may still be the case, given his comments in The Mirror, his new employer, on how it was “only professional courtesy” to give Iraqi television “an impromptu interview…after four months of interviewing hundreds of them.” The strong implication is that he’d like to continue being able to interview them—something at least arguably to the benefit of western audiences. Still, looking over some of his other works, it’s at least possible that he wasn’t feeding them a line. If that’s true, I’ll grant that it’s somewhat disturbing, though even then the amount of ink and venom spilled over this seem a little silly.