When envy met Kathy

Brian Lambert is the former entertainment columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Even when he was writing about show biz it was apprarent that Lambert is a liberal. He now makes a living as a freelance writer. About three months ago he called me and asked if I would meet with him to talk about an article he was writing about my friend Katherine Kersten, the Star Tribune’s heterodox metro columnist of the past 20 months. The thesis of Lambert’s article was to be that the Star Tribune’s experiment with intellectual diversity is somehow not working out, as reflected in newsroom backbiting by mostly anonymous staffers.
I think Brian is the kind of liberal who tries to be fair. He’s smart, he doesn’t have a chip on his shoulder and he’s got a sense of humor. I liked him. He interviewed me for about 75 minutes after he had already spoken to the Star Tribune newsroom staffers who provided the grist for his article. The result is now on display in his article on Kathy for the local Twin Cities monthly The Rake. Kathy briefly notes a few of the article’s lowlights here at her Star Tribune blog Think Again.
When I spoke with Lambert, he asked for my comment on the conspiracy theories of the unnamed Star Tribune newsroom staffers whose envy and spite he faithfully channels in the article. Lambert’s nod toward fairness comes (and largely goes) early, when he acknowledges that Kathy is “a bona fide member of the intellectual elite.” He suggests, however, that as such she may not be “serving the optimal conservative constituency.” The “optimal conservative constituency” envisioned by Lambert and his newsroom sources runs more along the lines of, well, lumberjacks and Cro Magnon men — the self-regarding liberal stereotype of red America.
Nick Coleman is a long-time friend of Lambert, a Star Tribune columnist and one of Kathy’s few in-house critics willing to let Lambert quote him by name. Lambert doesn’t mention that Coleman was outraged by Kathy’s hiring and weirdly venting his anger about it on outsiders before Kathy had written her first column for the paper. He is not exactly a credible witness. Even Lambert distances himself from Coleman’s delusional take:

Some see Kersten


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