In case you missed it, the New York Times Book Review finally got around to slamming Unfit for Command.
Two quick comments–one about the reviewer and one about the book review section:
1) The reviewer is Susannah Meadows, who is covering the Kerry campaign for Newsweek. In the second paragraph of her screed against the Swift Boat vets, she writes:
The problem is that John O’Neill, who is the driving force and public face of the book, is so curdled with hatred for Kerry that, as though he were an unreliable narrator in a Nabokov novel, you can’t trust what he says.
Now, I have never met John O’Neill. But I’ve seen him speak on TV numerous times, mostly in hostile situations. The singular thing that has struck me about John O’Neill is his ramrod integrity. Only the most unreconstructed Kerry apologist can view O’Neill as “curdled with hatred.” Unlike most of the combative TV hosts who have verbally abused him on TV, O’Neill never raises his voice. Never spits invective. He is calm, collected, and consumed not by hatred, but by dedication to the honor of his fellow soldiers.
Honor is a concept that Meadows fails to grasp. Which is why she is able to treat O’Neill and the Swift Boat Vets’ book with such blind contempt. It is appalling that someone who is such an abysmal judge of character can be entrusted to deliver “objective” political coverage.
2) Even more appalling, of course, is that anyone would assign Meadows to write such an embarrassing hit piece. And yet NY Times book reviewer Sam Tanenhaus did just that. No one ever expected a rave review of Unfit for Command to see the light of day at the Times, but many observers had high hopes that Tanenhaus, who wrote an acclaimed biography of Whittaker Chambers, would give conservatives a fair shake. It is not to be.
Winfield Myers has more on disappointment with Tanenhaus’ editorial judgment here. Powerline reprints a letter to the editor about the review from two Swift Boat vets. And Beldar has a terrific takedown of Meadows’ superficiality here.
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