Commentary Magazine


Bill Kristol is Worse Than a Poisonous Mushroom

A reader of Connecting the Dots by the name of “Soccer Dad” has made a noteworthy point about the opposition of Clark Hoyt, the Times‘s ombudsman, to the appointment of Bill Kristol as a columnist.

It’s interesting that Hoyt greeted Kristol with such a lack of enthusiasm. When it came to giving the representative of a terrorist organization op-ed space, he endorsed the idea wholeheartedly.

Soccer Dad is referring to a column Hoyt wrote after the Times invited Ahmed Yousef, a spokesman for Hamas, to grace the newspaper’s op-ed page. Hoyt wondered aloud back then if there are some groups or causes so odious they should be ruled off the page?” Hoyt’s answer:

Op-ed pages should be open especially to controversial ideas, because that’s the way a free society decides what’s right and what’s wrong for itself. Good ideas prosper in the sunshine of healthy debate, and the bad ones wither. Left hidden out of sight and unchallenged, the bad ones can grow like poisonous mushrooms.

What logical inferences can be drawn from Hoyt’s opposition to Kristol and his welcome to Ahmed Yousef?

Are Kristol’s ideas perceived by Hoyt as more odious than those of a terrorist, more lethal even than a poisonous mushroom, so potent that they won’t even wither in the sunshine? Connecting the Dots would like to know.