“The editors” of the New Republic have been careful to speak with one voice in their ongoing quest to determine the veracity of their Baghdad fabulist. In the current issue, however, editor Jonathan Chait steps forward to speak in his own name. Chait is of course the TNR editor who proudly proclaimed his hatred of President Bush in a September 2003 article. In his honor I dubbed the phenomenon Chaitred.
Chait now addresses the affair of the Baghdad fabulist, but a bit indirectly, in a column devoted to the purported intellectual thuggery of Bill Kristol:
Legitimate questions have been raised about this essay’s veracity. (We’ve been publishing updates on our continuing efforts to get answers to them at tnr.com.) But Kristol rushed past these questions, immediately declaring the piece a “fiction.”
Well, thanks. Kristol appears to have touched ground in this matter well before “the editors,” who are still deep in thought on their investigation. How is it that Kristol got it right while “the editors” have disgraced themselves and their magazine?
We won’t find our from Chait. He turns his guns on Kristol, with the venom and crudity that distinguishes his polemical writing. It is Kristol, after all, who had the bad taste to see — “immediately” — the fabulations of TNR’s Baghdad Diarist for what they were. In Chait’s eyes, this is a manifestation of Kristol’s thuggery. Chait condemns Kristol for a lack of interest in the truth. It is Kristol whom Chait finds guilty of “agitprop.” On the ostensible subject of Chait’s column, however, Kristol got it right while Chait and his colleagues peddled a fraud. In his column Chait presents with a classic case of what the psychiatrists call “projection.”