Frum protests too much

Two days and five hours after K-Lo issued her costive “congrats” to J-Pod in which she didn’t even say what she was congratulating him for, no one else at the Corner has congratulated him. No one at the Corner has even mentioned the fact that their colleague has been appointed editor of Commentary. The silence—which, objectively, is shockingly rude—speaks for itself. The only person at NRO to have discussed the matter is David Frum, and he has gone over the top in defending J-Pod’s promotion from Andrew Sullivan’s entirely reasonable suggestion that there is nepotism going on in this establishment. Below is Andrew Sullivan’s very brief comment, followed by Frum’s reply describing Sullivan’s remarks as “malignant” and “poison,” followed by an e-mail I sent to Frum about it.

Andrew Sullivan wrote:

JPod, son of NPod, to edit Commentary. Bill, son of Irving, edits The Weekly Standard. Jonah, son of Lucianne, got to edit NRO. Thank God we left the country-club Republicans behind.

Frum wrote:

I know it’s a silly waste of time to respond to Andrew Sullivan in one of his malignant moods. (It’s a waste of time to correct him on his many factual errors too, but that at least is fun.)

Still, this bit of poison is likely to spread, and since my friend John Podhoretz is too high-minded to answer it [John Podhoretz, the most insulting person in the conservative universe and one of the most vulgar, is too highminded to answer!], I think I had better. Andrew insinuates in a post today that John’s Podhoretz as editor of Commentary is somehow “nepotistic” since his father was the last editor of the magazine but one.

A couple of relevant facts: Norman Podhoretz does not own Commentary. Norman retired from the magazine 12 years ago. He has no power to hire or fire editors. The hiring of John was proposed by the current editor, Neal Kozodoy, who is no relation to John.

A reality-based writer might have noticed similar facts about Jonah Goldberg and Bill Kristol. Jonah Goldberg was not hired at NRO; he created NRO. And it was not for Irving Kristol’s sake that Rupert Murdoch selected Bill Kristol to head the team that created the Weekly Standard: Kristol at that point had served as chief of staff of the vice president of the United States—and had done as much as any individual to mobilize the opposition to the Hillary Clinton healthcare plan.

John will do enough in his own right to irritate Andrew. There’s no need to use falsehoods and misrepresentations.

I wrote to David Frum:

Your attack on the nepotism charge as “poison,” as something with no possible basis in reality, falls painfully flat. Your examples of other second generation neocons who have been promoted without nepotism to editorial positions are not pertinent here. William Kristol was prominent because of the role he played in the Bush the elder admnistration and especially in the two years after that when he became a major mover in conservative circles and among other things rallied conservatives against the Clinton health plan. So William Kristol had become a figure in his own right.

By contrast, while J-Pod is well known, and can write an interesting column, he is stunningly lacking the qualities and abilities for the post of editor of Commentary. He is so inappropriate for the job that your denial of even the possibility that nepotism might have played a role in his selection is laughable on its face.

Let me ask you this, just for the record:

Do you honestly believe that he is qualified for this position?

And here’s another question for you:

Do you not think that YOU are substantially more qualified for the job than J-Pod?

You’ve actually written articles for Commentary, which J-Pod has not done. You’ve actually written substantive intellectual books, which J-Pod has not done. You’re not a low-brow whose main cultural reference points are tv shows. You’re not known for grossly insulting readers who write to you with criticisms. My point is not to recommend you for the job, but to show that Podhoretz is obviously less qualified than others who might have been chosen.

So do you really think that Kozodoy considered the entire universe of possible candidates, and the best person he found just happened, by pure chance, to be the son of his predecessor and god?

Are you seriously going to contend that it’s ABSURD and UNREASONABLE for people even to think that nepotism had something to do with this choice?

- end of initial entry -

Bruce B. writes:

I reckon I was born an old man but…..

“K-Lo” and “J-Pod?”

Why don’t these people use their grown-up names? Sounds like the name of rappers featured in a BET music video!

LA replies:

Well, that—if the reason was not pure nepotism, a possibility I do not dismiss—is evidently why he was picked. Commentary feels it needs to appeal to the youth demographic. J-Pod is Commentary’s idea of a hep cat.

LA writes:

Another thing on Frum’s denial of nepotism. He says that Kozodoy is not a relative of J-Pod’s, as though that dispenses with the problem. But Kozodoy, who worked for Norman Podhoretz for his entire working life (30 years) until he replaced him in 1995, and who, as I’ve pointed out, has spoken of Podhoretz almost as though he were more than human, is certainly the spiritual son of Norman Podhoretz. For Podhoretz’s spiritual son to pick Podhoretz’s natural son for the job is nepotism.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 18, 2007 01:42 PM | Send

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