Patterico's Pontifications

7/3/2014

A “Conservative” Writer Responds To Negative Comments About Him

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:16 pm

[guest post by Dana]

David Brooks, conservative columnist for the New York Times discusses the negative impact of reading comments directed at him:

“I used to read them, but it was just too psychologically damaging,” Brooks said in an interview with Yahoo News’ Katie Couric at the Aspen Ideas Festival on Tuesday. “So then I would ask my assistant to read them.”

Brooks was shocked at the volume of “punishingly negative” comments when he joined the Times in 2003.

“It was the worst six months of my life,” he said. “I had never been hated on a mass scale before.”

The conservative columnist received more than 290,000 emails during his first six months at the left-leaning paper. “The core message was, ‘Paul Krugman is great; you suck,’” Brooks recalled.

Although the negative comments are damaging, Brooks describes why he remains at the NYT:

He has unprecedented freedom and job security. Times columnists, Brooks said, are treated like “hothouse flowers.”

“I’ve never attended a meeting at the Times,” he said. “We can write about anything. I’ve been at the Times for over a decade, I’ve never had a performance review. We can go anywhere we want. And we are just left alone.”

He also addresses off-the-record meetings with the president:

In them, Brooks says he’s seen President Barack Obama become increasingly “pissed off” with Republicans, Democrats and the media during his second term as he’s become more “acutely aware with the limits of the office.”

During Obama’s first term, the vibe was decidedly different. “He’d be carried in on chariots,” Brooks joked, with then-chief of staff Rahm Emanuel “throwing rose petals.”

Not that Brooks has made many friends in the White House. The “Obama people” are respectful when they tell him, “We really like you. … It’s so sad you’re a complete and total idiot.”

I am somehow disappointed by Brooks’s soft shell regarding the negative comments. While I can understand it would be difficult to read awful stuff about oneself, day in and day out, don’t you just wish one of the very few conservative columnists from such a noted liberal paper would have more steel, and push back? To not use the amazing platform he has to its fullest, seems a shame. There are excellent conservative writers and thinkers (I’m looking at you, Patterico) that I believe would not only withstand the barbs and push back with decisive and solid conservatism thus expanding the discussion, but would thrive because of it.

–Dana

Note: I used conservative writer in the body of the post, because that is how the original article referred to him. However, note that it is consistently italicized.

I used conservative writer in the title ironically, but I should have put it in scare quotes. What can I say? I had just gotten home from a day at the beach, I was tired, it was late, the dog ate my homework… Updated now.

52 Responses to “A “Conservative” Writer Responds To Negative Comments About Him”

  1. 1st!

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  2. Mr. Brooks is a wimp… and never would have survived on Usenet, back in the day.

    get over the butthurt, you big sissy. if you’re taking flak, you’re over the target.

    now put on your big girl panties and get on with things.

    what a candya55.

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  3. I still don’t know the color of George Washington’s White horse.

    AZ Bob (34bb80)

  4. A CONSERVATIVE WRITER. HAHAHAHHHHAHHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHA!!!! Dana, you’re killing me!!!
    “His finely creased trousers, rekindled sexual feelings that I had not felt since Jr High School”
    Jeebus H Cripes, Brooks is practically TEA PARTY material with his HARD RIGHT CONSERVATIVE views!!!!!
    Next we’ll be told that Al Gore is a moderate, and Barry has thick skin. Thick BLACK skin.
    Hahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahha!!!!

    Gus (70b624)

  5. Brooks is squishier than a huge vat of Jell-O.

    Mark (cb6333)

  6. Well, 290,000 emails in 6 months … close to 1600 emails a day, every day. How do you even begin to read such a flood, let alone do anything else? Over three a minute, eight hours a day.

    htom (412a17)

  7. Oh NO Mark, Brooks is a “Conservative”. The liberals have told us!!! Imagine a single friend of yours, gleefully, turgidly, discussing Obama’s fecking pants. WTF?? Yet we all move on and allow the Commie clowns to DEFINE what a Conservative is?? Brooks is not even a wimpish pathetic establishment GOP’er. I vomit at Brooks AND at the pathetic lying, propagandist attempt to associate this pile of LOSER, with the Republican party and moreso…..CONSERVATISM. To the garden variety liberal…TODAY…….Al Franken is Barry Goldwater.

    Gus (70b624)

  8. Htom, David Brooks leaves that task to his “assistant”. WOW.

    Gus (70b624)

  9. It might help if Brooks was actually a conservative.

    Craig Mc (b890e3)

  10. Perhaps in this instance, those WH people are correct -
    He is a total idiot!

    askeptic (efcf22)

  11. he cops to being treated like a hot house flower but

    not to being one

    he’s not a very self-aware man, this david brooks

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  12. David Brooks, conservative columnist for the New York Times…

    That’s a relative term. Brooks is certainly not A conservative.

    Moron is more like it.

    Blacque Jacques Shellacque (51809b)

  13. Can you imagine if they had an actual conservative? Say Krauthammer or Jonah Goldberg. Even the not-so-conservative Peggy Noonan would give them the vapors.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  14. The editors of the NY TImes view anyone to the right of Gerald Ford as a right-wing wackjob. To them the political center is somewhere around Nancy Pelosi.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  15. #12: that’s an insult to morons everywhere

    i doubt he’s ever even heard of AoSHQ, let alone read anything there.

    redc1c4, moron in good standing (abd49e)

  16. Putrid paper
    pathetic person
    I bet he blows ole lackluster

    mg (31009b)

  17. A continuous flow of criticism grinds you down. Believe me, it really does.

    Steven Den Beste (99cfa1)

  18. 17. A continuous flow of criticism grinds you down. Believe me, it really does.

    Steven Den Beste (99cfa1) — 7/4/2014 @ 4:24 am

    I bet the 6 figure salary for selling his soul makes up for a bit of that grind, though.

    Steve57 (c4c6a6)

  19. You know the nice thing about South East Asian sex workers? They don’t tart things up by giving themselves titles like “conservative columnist for the New York Times”

    Brooks was shocked at the volume of “punishingly negative” comments when he joined the Times in 2003.

    They also don’t whine about any negative reactions when they change whorehouses.

    Steve57 (c4c6a6)

  20. Brooks shows just how far left the NY Times readership is with those remarks. They deserve deBlasio. No doubt his squishiness is related to the strong wind blowing from the left. Compared to most New Yorkers, he’s conservative.

    Mike K (b5c01a)

  21. Brooks is also insufferable.

    OT: 61 F for a high July 1, well south of the northwoods. It feels like the end of August around here. 20+ inches of rain over the last 60 days. Water still rising in IA.

    http://joannenova.com.au/2014/06/big-news-viii-new-solar-model-predicts-imminent-global-cooling/

    What a great instant to spend 20 times dirty coal on biofuels.

    gary gulrud (46ca75)

  22. And he’s a regular on PBS.

    AZ Bob (34bb80)

  23. There was a time when a newsman… a columnist… would revel in hearing those words from the white House or other halls of power. It meant that person was doing his/her job, and doing it well.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  24. Not that it would apply to this sissy.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  25. David Brooks shows us
    some folks need not perform well
    to keep high paid job

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  26. Compared to most New Yorkers, he’s conservative.

    Speaking of cities, I often cite Detroit, Michigan, as a case of liberalism run amok, in that I don’t believe that even New York City is as staunchly, monolithically pro-Democrat-Party, pro-leftwing as Detroit is. Voters in Motown routinely give something like 90-percent of their vote to Democrats/liberals.

    I can’t think of one case of a community or city anywhere (at least in the US) that is as pathetic as Detroit is, but where over 90-percent of voters support Republicans/conservatives instead of Democrats/liberals.

    Moreover, if one believes liberalism is a reflection of humaneness, niceness, kindness and goodness, then, yep, those qualities are very much on display on a typical day in places like Detroit. [Snerk] (if inserting that qualifier is even necessary).

    Mark (cb6333)

  27. David Brooks is a kept woman.

    ropelight (a2a900)

  28. Mark (cb6333) — 7/4/2014 @ 8:20 am

    Speaking of cities, I often cite Detroit, Michigan, as a case of liberalism run amok, in that I don’t believe that even New York City is as staunchly, monolithically pro-Democrat-Party, pro-leftwing as Detroit is.

    About Detroit today:

    Op-ed piece in the New York Times today:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/04/opinion/going-without-water-in-detroit.html?_r=0

    It seems like Detroit has undertaken a campaign of attempting to collect water bills from residential customers. (Businesses or government, not so much.)

    It affects any bill over 60 days late or where they owe at least $150 (which is about two monthly bills).

    It’s the houses that owe the bills, by the way, not any persons. If you buy a house, you have to pay the water bill. The bills are also approximately double that of most other places. In many cases people did not pay the bills for a long time.

    They are turning off water.

    This person argues this is also a health problem, although she doesn’t elaborate, and it is probably not really true, because people use the neighbor’s water for bathing and fill jugs of water at the homes of friends or at fire hydrants, and she thinks it is counterproductive.

    Theoretically, there is assistance for some people, but they didn’t get this started or worked out right.

    Sammy Finkelman (cd2969)

  29. I can’t think of one case of a community or city anywhere (at least in the US) that is as pathetic as Detroit is, but where over 90-percent of voters support Republicans/conservatives instead of Democrats/liberals.

    Try most of Mississippi, if not most of the South. You really need to get out more, Mark. Could you even locate those places you talk about on a map?

    nk (dbc370)

  30. Sammy, if a city cannot provide water to its residents, whether they can pay for it or not, it has no reason to exist.

    nk (dbc370)

  31. Try most of Mississippi, if not most of the South

    Okay, nk, although I know you’ve previously been bothered by the reality of cheap compassion (or compassion for compassion’s sake), I’d still quite seriously like to know the details of communities where over 90 percent of residents are staunch conservatives, overwhelmingly vote for (again, up to levels of 90 percent) Republicans/conservatives, and, at the same time, reflect a city that is as appalling, broken down and dysfunctional as Detroit is.

    I imagine there may be so-called “trailer park” environments where a rightwing counterpart to Detroit is on display (and, if so, is crime as out-of-control in such locations too?), but I’m interested in areas that encompass not hundreds of people, but tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of people.

    Mark (cb6333)

  32. 23. Colonel Haiku (2601c0) — 7/4/2014 @ 7:56 am

    There was a time when a newsman… a columnist… would revel in hearing those words from the white House or other halls of power.

    It’s ordinary people saying nasty things that he can’t stand.

    I think he means the comments to his columns on the New York Times website.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/18/opinion/brooks-thurston-howell-romney.html

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/11/opinion/brooks-the-solitary-leaker.html

    I don’t see any particularly bad ones here. Of course, maybe he edited them out.

    Here’s the way one a critical one starts:

    Mr. Brooks, this is one of your more bizarre commentaries

    Of course, he could disable them, like Thomas L. Friedman.

    As a matter of fact, I think David Brookls did this by now.

    There are no comments here,in his latest column:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/04/opinion/david-brooks-social-science-palooza-iv.html

    Sammy Finkelman (cd2969)

  33. Note update on post!

    Dana (4dbf62)

  34. “don’t you just wish one of the very few conservative columnists from such a noted liberal paper would have more steel, and push back?”

    My guess is that the NYT’s has exactly the type of “conservative” they want in David Brooks. It’s called gaming the system, something progressives do very well.

    Ipso Fatso (10964d)

  35. 30. nk (dbc370) — 7/4/2014 @ 8:43 am

    Sammy, if a city cannot provide water to its residents, whether they can pay for it or not, it has no reason to exist.

    Oh, the city can provide water to everyone. It just no longer wants to. They decided to get tough, so they could slow down the rate that the bills of the customers who do pay were rising.

    The department reports that 60 percent of its customers pay in full or begin a payment plan within 24 hours of a shut-off, and water service is reinstated. Mr. [Darryl] Latimer [deputy director of the water department] said that this proved that many could afford their bills, and simply weren’t paying them.

    It’s the Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency that can no longer help people who call in saying their water has been cut off.

    You notice that statistic means that 40% of the people whose water has been shut off do not get it restarted immediately. The lose the service, like some people can lose telephone service.

    There’s a $30 reconnection fee and there’s a 30% down payment to get a payment plan and some people houses owe thousands of dollars.

    Sammy Finkelman (cd2969)

  36. It does say emails, so maybe taht was emails more than comments on the New York Times webpage.

    But that might be inexact.

    Sammy Finkelman (cd2969)

  37. 17. A continuous flow of criticism grinds you down. Believe me, it really does.
    Steven Den Beste (99cfa1) — 7/4/2014 @ 4:24 am

    Should more of your blog readers posted comments praising you? I confess that I rarely posted unless I had some matter of substance to add, fearing that a boatload of low-content comments would clog up the comment thread and make it less enjoyable to read. Was I wrong?

    pst314 (ae6bd1)

  38. Making people pay for water as an incentive to conserve is fine for a place like Southern California which is both drought-stricken and populated by self-centered hedonists without a shred of social responsibility, but Detroit sits on three lakes, two of them Great Lakes. It has water to burn.

    nk (dbc370)

  39. No, water should not be a revenue-raising scheme. We might as well privatize all government services then.

    nk (dbc370)

  40. No one is being denied access to water. It’s the convenience of having it piped into the home and available on demand 24 hours a day that requires payment.

    ropelight (a2a900)

  41. 40. It’s probably not legal in Detroit, although it is also probably not enforced very much, for people to take water from fire hydrants.

    They also get water from other people who may pay.

    nk is right. The Detroit water department is (suddenly) acting like a private company.

    Except that a private company would probably be more afraid of politicians in the state
    capital and of lawyers.

    Sammy Finkelman (cd2969)

  42. He may not attend any meetings and maybe no one tells him what to write but you can guarantee he knows what the limits are.

    They don’t give them direction because they DON’T CARE what they write because they know they know those limits and they know that Mr. Brooks and his ilk won’t cross any lines.

    He’s a COWARD. He gets upset by the comments because he knows they’re true but he knows he won’t every betray the hand that feeds him.

    There are plenty like him in the world and some have reached a certain infamy for being so.

    We all know who they are. We all know what they’re worth. And we know we’d hate to be thought of in the same sentence.

    Mr. Brooks is at least consistent.

    jakee308 (f1b953)

  43. Although the negative comments are damaging, Brooks describes why he remains at the NYT:
    He has unprecedented freedom and job security. Times columnists, Brooks said, are treated like “hothouse flowers.”

    “I’ve never attended a meeting at the Times,” he said. “We can write about anything. I’ve been at the Times for over a decade, I’ve never had a performance review. We can go anywhere we want. And we are just left alone.”

    Nice work, if you can get it, right, Dave?

    J.P. (bd0246)

  44. The insult that stung David Brooks the most was when, after he gushingly praised Obama’s “perfectly creased pant” people started quoting ZZ Top: “they come a running just as fast as they can. ‘Cause girls always go for a sharp dressed man.”

    pst314 (ae6bd1)

  45. No, water should not be a revenue-raising scheme. We might as well privatize all government services then.

    Well, yes. Of course. And you think that would be a bad thing?!

    Milhouse (b95258)

  46. No, water should not be a revenue-raising scheme.

    So I guess people who manage a city’s water-delivery system should work on a purely volunteer basis and rely solely on contributions from the public, perhaps from philanthropists who otherwise donate dollars mainly to universities and cultural institutions. How nice.

    Well, nk, at least you’re not a big softie about cruddy liberals like Franklin D Roosevelt or become resentful when the corrosive nature of cheap compassion and ideology is pointed out.

    Mark (cb6333)

  47. Somebody doesn’t know too much about Mississippi.

    Donald (cd4249)

  48. Mississippi is the poorest state in the union — 50th in median income.
    Mississippi is highest ranking in food stamp recipients.
    Mississippi has only one Democrat holding statewide office, and that includes U.S. Senators.
    Mississippi has only one Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives, the black guy.

    It is possible that in Mississippi the Republicans are all limousine liberals and that the Democrats are the conservatives. It is also possible that Mark knows more than five stock phrases that he obsessively parrots but hides the rest that he knows. It is possible that he does not constantly occupy himself with weird fantasies of other people’s sex lives, but only pretends to. It is even possible that he has had sex with a living human being at least once in his life. Anything is possible in an infinite universe.

    the capitalist revisionist nk (dbc370)

  49. Okay, capitalist-revisionist-squish-squish nk, your citing specific aspects of Mississippi did make me want to look more closely at the demographics of that state. The interesting dichotomy is that it has the largest percentage of black people of any of the 50 states in the US, meaning that, on one hand, that needs to be factored into its effect on Mississippi’s overall economics and social mobility, while, on the other hand, that large voting bloc hasn’t tilted the state as far left as what occurs in a city like Detroit.

    So the question remains: Are the sections of Mississippi (or elsewhere) that are staunchly Republican/conservative as socio-economically dysfunctional as sections — there or elsewhere — that are staunchly Democrat/liberal? Moreover, are there large municipalities in Mississippi that are overwhelming of the right and that are also socio-economically analogous to (and as dysfunctional as) places like Detroit or their counterparts in the South?

    mississippiconservativedaily.com: In Mississippi, voting is more racially segregated than almost anywhere else. In 2008, for example, 88 percent of white voters cast their ballots for Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), while 98 percent of blacks voted for President Obama.

    quickfacts.census.gov:

    % Mississippi 2012….[% U.S.] 2012

    White alone, not Hispanic or Latino: 57.6% [63.0%]
    Black or African American alone: 37.4% [13.1%]
    Hispanic or Latino alone: 2.9% [16.9%]
    American Indian and Alaska Native alone: 0.6% [1.2%]
    Asian alone: 0.9% [5.1%]
    Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone: 0.1% [0.2%]
    _______________________________

    % New York and California 2012

    White alone, not Hispanic or Latino: 57.6% [NY]…..39.4% [CA]
    Hispanic or Latino: 18.2%…..38.2%
    Black or African American alone: 17.5%…..6.6%
    American Indian and Alaska Native alone: 1.0%…..1.7%
    Asian alone: 8.0%…..13.9%
    Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone: 0.1%…..0.5%

    Mark (cb6333)

  50. There is nothing and no place analogous to Detroit.

    elissa (7bd3b5)

  51. I don’t understand why people have problems with Brooks as a conservative. The NYT spans the entire spectrum of political opinion from Black Bloc Anarchists to reformed Fabians, someone like Brooks is needed to reflect the views held by the fringe 85% to the right of that spectrum. From the point of view of everyone else who writes for the NYT Brooks is an arch-conservative.

    max (4fdf98)

  52. well it’s false advertising, anyone who claimed a ‘crease in someone’s slacks’ as a selling point, for one candidate, and regarded another as a ‘cancer on the party’ well those are litmus tests,

    narciso (24b824)


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