Ladies and Gentlemen, meet the fifth most influential “liberal” journalist (according to the daily beast):
5. Fred Hiatt
Editorial Page Editor, The Washington Post
Although many on the left would question Hiatt’s presence on this list—his near-neocon position on foreign policy enrages the left-wing blogosphere—there is no doubt at all that he is a traditional liberal in all matters domestic. The steward of a sober and constructive editorial column, he is paid great heed by the administration. He is much less dogmatic, as an editorial page editor, than his counterpart at the Times.
Fred Hiatt’s (based on his columns and his hires) three biggest issues are the neocon dream of empire and permanent war, completely dismantling the social safety net, and climate denialism. How anyone could confuse Hiatt with liberalism simply escapes me- he is a liberal in much the same way that I am a libertarian transhumanist- he isn’t at all.
I do a lot of reading of Hiatt and the WaPo (although not as much as Doug), and what I have come to the conclusion is that Hiatt’s key characteristic is that he is just not very bright. He falls for false equivalencies almost every time he is given an opportunity, he is easily seduced by those he finds impressive and by those in a position of power, and he just isn’t much if an idea person so much as someone who prides himself in serving as the vanguard for the conventional wisdom. Read his writing- the Daily Beast confuses sobriety with caving in to Beltway groupthink. He isn’t particularly clever, his language is dull and pedestrian and permanently without any charm or wit, and I have never once seen what could be considered an original thought. That is the real untold story about Fred Hiatt- he just isn’t very smart.
Which means he is exactly where he belongs in our current joke of a meritocracy.
*** Update ***
It is worth examining what the “liberal” Fred Hiatt has done to the Washington Post:
Speaking of Fred Hiatt’s absurd claim that people who don’t like George Will spreading global warming misinformation should “debate” him, rather than expect the Post to run a correction …
Yesterday’s Washington Post featured op-eds by Henry Kissinger, David Broder, Bill Kristol, David Ignatius, and George Will. Today’s brings op-eds from George Will, Michael Gerson, Charles Krauthammer, Michael Kinsley, and Eugene Robinson.
That’s ten columns total. One is by a liberal (Robinson), one by a contrarian who may lean left (Kinsley), two by centrist Villagers (Broder and Ignatius – and remember, Village centrists are typically to the right of the actual center.) And six are by staunch conservatives – Will (twice), Krauthammer, former Nixon aide Kissinger, former Bush I aide Kristol, and former Bush II aide Gerson.
This was before Hiatt hired torture apologist and Bush’s other speechwriter, Marc Thiessen.
The only upside to this list of 25 influential liberals is that Marty Peretz is not on it.