Sunday, November 11, 2007

About six months ago, I posted about a NewsHour debate moderated watched by Judy Woodruff, noting [savagely!] that "you can take the girl out of CNN, but you can't take the CNN out of the girl."

Well apparently she somehow missed that post, because a couple of weeks ago, Norman Podhoretz and Fareed Zakaria got together, and it was just as bad.

Dear Judy: you are the moderator. You are there to "moderate." Allowing one of your guests to say pretty much whatever he'd like is not moderating. It is watching. And it leads to conversations that would be far more at home on CNN or Fox than on the NewsHour:

NORMAN PODHORETZ: Well, I'll tell you why. First, I want to say that I think the attitude expressed by Fareed Zakaria represents an irresponsible complacency that I think is comparable to the denial in the early '30s of the intentions of Hitler that led to what Churchill called an unnecessary war involving millions and millions of deaths that might have been averted if the West had acted early enough.

FAREED ZAKARIA: Norman, perhaps instead of calling me names, you could just explain why the arguments are right or wrong. That would be just fine.

NORMAN PODHORETZ: Why can't the...

JUDY WOODRUFF: Let's let Mr. Podhoretz finish his point.

NORMAN PODHORETZ: Yes, I would appreciate being allowed to finish my point.
Because we wouldn't want to deprive the world of a pearl of wisdom like that.

(Relatedly, Josh Marshall had a similar reaction to Podhoretz, but didn't mention Woodruff. And that same day, Paul Krugman went up with a great Podhoretz takedown ("Do I have to point out that none of this makes a bit of sense?").)

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