- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 23, 2002

'Pretend thinking man'
"[I]t was a curiously retro decision on the part of the troubled, faltering MSNBC cable news channel to sign up Phil Donahue for a new talk show.
"Appearing on television recently to announce his new MSNBC contract, he was still working the same act. Phil always looked pained, like he's thinking really hard about a question before answering it. And when he answers it, he gets a squinched-up this-is-hard-for-me-to-say look, right before delivering the answer you knew all along he would, one that mentions 'alternative sources of energy' or 'corporate ownership of our government' or 'the so-called Christian Right.' He's playing a version of the disillusioned Boy Scout, the former altar boy, the reformed middle-class conservative who has suddenly loosened up a bit and learned to accept lesbian couples raising test-tube babies. He's the pretend thinking man's pretend thinking man."Rob Long, writing on "The Return of Phil," in the May 6 issue of National Review

Media bias 101
"Earlier this year, William McGowan published an important book on how the media covers race in America. 'Coloring the News' received a surprising number of favorable reviews.
"[A]n e-mail I received last week demonstrates that there are still people who could learn from McGowan's study. It came from a journalism e-mail list to which I subscribe.
"Here is the e-mail in its entirety:
"'Hi everyone! I hope someone out there can help me. I'm looking for a young black entrepreneur under 40, tech savvy, who has started his own dot-com or company to profile for CNN NewsNight. Since this will be part of a series about race in America, the ideal candidate is someone who struggled or encountered discrimination while looking for jobs or working in the tech sector (also could be someone who became frustrated by the predominantly white male culture) and subsequently decided to strike out on his/her own. Or something along those lines. Could be anywhere in the U.S. If anyone knows of such a person or knows someone who does, please get in touch. Many thanks!'"
Stephen F. Hayes, writing on "Coloring the News at CNN," Friday in the Weekly Standard Online at www.weeklystandard.com

Public nuisance
"Cornel West, one of the most persistent popularizers of the term 'public intellectual,' fled his post at Harvard's W.E.B. DuBois Institute for Princeton. The reason: comments made by Harvard President Lawrence Summers several months ago that West said 'disrespected' him.
"West describes his intellectual project in a manner both self-deprecating and grandiose: 'My work is a feeble attempt to understand and respond to the guttural cry that erupts from the depths of the soul of each of us. The existential quest for meaning and the political struggle for freedom sit at the center of my thought.' West floods the library with vague assertions damning the American 'homespun brand of authoritarian democracy' or asserting that 'Marxist thought becomes even more relevant after the collapse of communism' but rarely bothers to present evidence or construct arguments that might support them.
"The fragile discipline of African American Studies badly needs high standards and serious scholarship. Instead, one of its preeminent practitioners offers tossed-off books, rap CDs, and shallow public disputes over the respect due to him. Congratulations, Princeton. You have your public intellectual."
from "The Pragmatist," an editorial in the April 29 issue of the New Republic

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